I think we’ve reached the point that the season doesn’t officially begin until David Ortiz has cracked one out of the park. Seeing that swing, the ball leap from the bat, the moment of hesitation as he pulls back and admires the trajectory — it’s like an official broadcast telling us all that baseball is back, and it’s time to start paying attention. Doesn’t matter if there’s ice on my window, one look at Papi going through the home run trot and I’m lying in my driveway, hooked up to a Michelob I.V. on a sweaty August afternoon.

After watching Tavarez unravel on Saturday night, I started wondering aloud about a life with Jonny Paps as fifth starter. Then he comes into last night’s game, a game that could have been an ugly smear on a short-but-already-pregnant-with-concern season. A game that, had it slipped through our fingers, would have required Joel Pineiro to show up for Tuesday’s Fenway Opening Day festivities in kevlar. And with a game hanging in the balance, he shuts out the world and gets down to business. And he goes through the purest beef in the Texas line-up like a goddam hot knife through vanilla ice cream. And suddenly I realize that’s why the PapelBot is here. To make sure these games don’t melt away. To lock them up soundly and ensure that no good deed in the early innings goes unrecognized.

I’m man enough to admit that, based purely on these early returns, I may have been wrong to denounce the J.D. Drew pick-up. He’s looked feisty and confident and is already hitting up a storm before he’s even touched down on Fenway green. So I fully expect him to pull a hammy next week.

I know we’re only one week in. And God knows I want the guy to do well. But, man, does Coco Crisp look… done. Considering his name came up in trade talks last season, I can’t imagine that there isn’t some sort of contingency plan to fill the gap between now and Jacoby Ellsbury if Covelli continues to flounder.

I’m as excited about Matsuzaka (AKA, he who will not be called Dice-K by me) as the next guy, but that first game was against Kansas City. Granted, not a bad line-up there, but I wanna see how he does in his first start at Yankee Stadium, with half a million extras from The Warriors screaming for his blood. Remember how Vintage Pedro used to walk into the Stadium, stone-faced and 150 pounds soaking wet, and make everyone his biyatch, from Chuck Knoblauch to the guy who sells hot dogs behind section 42? Is Matsuzaka gonna be bringing us this magic all summer long? Personally, I think there’s a better chance of Jessica Biel using my face as her personal barcalounger. But that won’t stop me from praying to God and sonny Jesus for both of these things to happen.

This summer at Mass General, there will be at least 213 incidents in which the cause of injury is listed as simply “Joel Pineiro.”

The folks at NESN who were responsible for that montage of Tavarez highlights accompanied by “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” that played before Saturday night’s game? Genuises.

In other news, Denton & I have been doin’ some stuff over at AOL Fanhouse. Do check it out when you have a chance. Also, we invite any more Biel photos you might have.