This week, despite the snow on the ground and frigid temperatures, a thousand or so Red Sox fans will gather for the annual Boston Baseball Writers Association of America dinner. They will shift their focus from shoveling to baseball. It is the first harbinger of Spring, long before the first robin emerges. This year the head table promises to be star-studded. Scheduled to appear are our old pal Kevin Youkilis, recently acquired John Lackey, Colorado manager Jim Tracy, Jeremy Hermida, Casey Kelly, Terry Francona, John Farrell, Dave Magadan and recently promoted first base coach Ron Johnson. Never seen RJ in a tux. I’ll be nice. It is usually a very nice affair. My problem with it in the past is that the guys you want to hear from make incredibly short speeches. The guys you least want to hear (the writers) drone on and on. The bbwaa dinner is the first of a string of events that will tempt and tease baseball fans. At McCoy the following week, the local media will get its’ first look at new PawSox manager Torey Lovullo on Wednesday. Two days later the media willl gather with some top prospects in Pawtucket as a prelude to the PawSox’ annual Hot Stove event. Scheduled to appear at the thirty third annual Hot Stove are Lovullo, Casey Kelly, Junichi Tazawa, Jeff Natale, Felix Doubront, Kyle Weiland, Randor Bierd and Ryan Kalish. It’s your chance to meet the guys, ask some questions, get autographs and photos. The PawSox will open the ticket office and the team store. Refreshments will be served. Opening Day at McCoy is April 8th and tickets will be available. Don’t forget. Saturday January 23d from 11:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. It is always a fun time and I look forward to seeing you there.