Yes, it is hard to believe, but the paparazzi/sportswriters who cover the Boston Red Sox have been unable to drum up decent controversy this spring.

The story lines are now falling into the “pathetic” category. Once again, a bunch of seasonal hacks raise the issue of Jonathan Papelbon being washed-up, or worse, wanting to escape the Red Sox.

A few have gone the route of trying to show that Hideki Okajima is riding a bubble ready to burst.

They beat the dead horse again with this tired bit: Where can we play the perennial All-Star Jed Lowrie?

Food Network may prepare a special on Dustin Pedroia’s favorite game-time snack.

A few diehards continue to worry about how Kevin Youkilis will handle switching back to third base this season, or why he always shaves his head, but not his chin.

Speculation is rampant about which of J.D. Drew’s fingers will draw the first hangnail of the spring, potentially putting him on the shelf for two weeks.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel, stories abound. For instance, we have learned that Adrian Gonzalez’s agent is a third cousin removed of Wade Boggs.

A couple of stories revealed that David Ortiz has cursed out those media-folks who wonder if his career will go into the hopper this season.

A few desperate, writing souls have clung like dogs to a bone to the head-bop that Josh Beckett experienced weeks ago, hinting that it may still be affecting his role in the rotation.

When a legitimate controversy entered the spring—namely the barbs passing between Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Jenks—Terry Francona put the matter to rest with a few choice words to both parties, and the only fun story of spring training withered on the vine.

The fact is that this is the most pedestrian group of Red Sox in modern history. Ah, for the days when 25 Red Sox used 25 different cabs to get to a ballpark on the road.

Theo Epstein and Francona have put together the most sober-minded players ever in the history of the Red Sox. Nowadays, they only play baseball, not silly games, in Boston.

You won’t see Manny Ramirez slugging a teammate, or hear that Babe Ruth has tossed a grand piano into the river, or that “Spaceman” Bill Lee thinks his manager is a gerbil.

We won’t hear that a couple of players have jumped the team and were seen heading to Israel.

We won’t have the star giving fans in the left-field stands a gesture of contempt. We won’t have a player refusing to fly on jets.

We certainly won’t see a disturbed Red Sox player climbing the net behind home plate.

Yes, fans, the good old days are gone.

It really leaves us nostalgic for the cellar-dwelling Red Sox, when Fenway Park had empty box seats and tabloid headlines made us giggle about “Dr. Strangeglove.”

Oh, well. Let’s play ball.

We will simply have to be happy with a World Series-caliber team.

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