So I’m looking at the photo above and all that I keep hearing in my head is that theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And it totally fits here. I mean, it could totally be his theme song. Sure, you’d have to change the line “it’s you girl and you should know it” to reference “Papi” and maybe add something about how “he’s gonna stick his cleat up your ass, but good.” I’ll leave it to the lyricists to figure this one out, but I believe we’re on to something.

On another note, as we get ready for the 2007 season, I begin another age-old ritual: trying to chart the best parking places around Fenway. Sure, the best way to get there is the T (or via jetpack, natch, if you’re lucky enough to own one), but I’m one of those guys who likes to drive in, get gridlocked on Brookline Ave., then complain to anyone within earshot that “this is total bullsh-t, man” and “the car is going to overheat and we’re going to die here.”

My big thing used to be refusing to pay for parking; I’d drive around for hours trying to find a free meter on Beacon or Comm Ave or any of the surrounding side streets. But I finally gave that up after that one opening day that Dad & I drove around aimlessly until about the third inning. Sooner or later, we all just bend over and pay up to the man.

That said, free is always my first choice. Which is why my first stop in the quest for parking is the area behind Boston Latin School (Evans Way, Palace Road, etc.). That one-block stretch has plenty of metered spaces, plus I get to relive the magic of being a BLS student back in the day and getting wedgied within an inch of my life. It’s a pretty quick walk from the Park to the car — no more than fifteen minutes each way, perfect for burning off those Fenway Franks and Heinekens. More importantly, to repeat, as the meters are only in effect until 6:00pm, it’s free.

Those days when I don’t wanna f–k around in traffic, I typically just head to the Landmark Center. This place was better when it used to be the old Sears building — now you’re fighting for space with moviegoers, restaurant patrons and the “Fresh City” crowd — but it’s pretty reliable and quick to get out of. It also allows you to bypass most of the Brookline Ave/Boylston Street post-game crush, which can claim even the strongest of bladders with its painfully slow lights and throngs of fans walking blindly into traffic.

Clearly, the best deal is knowing a doctor or BU professor — anyone with a laminated pass that offers unlimited access to the many “private” lots around Fenway. I once went to a game with my man Rich, who at the time was teaching at BU, and his parking pass got us so close to the action I thought at any minute Hazel Mae would be coming by with a squeegee to give our windshield a scrubbin’. That’s not a euphimism, by the way.

Any spots we should know about? C’mon, don’t be afraid to reveal ’em. We’ll be too drunk to remember any of this come April.

Dude, who’s happier than Curt Schilling at Spring Training this year? Camera-friendly Curt shows up in Florida to find wall-to-wall media and microphones. That’s like a metalhead waking up to find Yngwie Malmsteen and Ronnie James Dio jamming in his foyer. I love the fact that he just shows up and starts stoking the fires with stuff like how we may have the best rotation in baseball and that the team is World Series-calibre. Because that’s the way it should be; get the troops into it and get the baseball-hungry fans at home clamoring for it. Either way, it’s better than, say, Jose Offerman showing up and asking where the f–k his cheese tray is.