I said something very similar to this before the 2004 playoffs. For mojo’s sake, I felt it needed to be said again.

Baseball in October means everything.

It means wearing gloves to the games and finding warmth in a flask of Jameson’s and the communal vibe of the bleachers. It means pacing and punching walls and rubbing my temples and shouting at the television. It means hearing the inevitable cries of “Didya see the game?” whenever I walk into my office building [Of course I saw the game, muthafu@#er. What, would I watch all year and suddenly lose interest during these critical, life-affirming tournaments?] It means wearing the Schilling jersey every day, because you have to rep your set. It means calling friends, family and total, random strangers after every inning to compare notes. It means high-fiving strangers in the street and seeing Red Sox T-shirt vendors on every corner and letting out that guttural wail when the last out is recorded and the boys get one game closer. It means entire evenings in front of the TV, because after the Sox we’ve got to see the Yanks, not to mention Roger pitching in yet another playoff series. It means intensified intensity; the culmination of a citywide love affair that typically begins right after Thanksgiving, when the hot stove is lit and all thoughts are on green grass and Florida skies. It means treating everyone to repeated viewings of the entire DVD set of the 2004 Playoffs, Clockwork Orange-style. It means drink after drink and the torment of losses and I’ll-never-let-those-pricks-do-it-to-me-again-I’ve-had-it-this-time-I’m-gone-and-I’m-not-coming-back but you know you will, so you sigh, take your medicine, and start planning for opening day. It means knowing and accepting that it can end at any time, that any given game can be the season finale, the last time you’ll see Manny swat a home run or The Papel-Bot pull his signature fist-pump or Schilling bark at the mound. It means Peter Gammons on the field at Fenway Park, ESPN trucks cluttering up Yawkey Way, and the horror of a possible McCarver sighting. It means knowing that, like any good love affair, the heart you’ve opened up and given away so willingly may end up speared, torn into two throbbing pieces and left on the frozen ground. It means the umpire is blind, the “fan” reaching for the in-play ball is SPED, and the commentators are an unsavory, anti-Boston bunch, deserving of the bad vibes I’m zapping them with through the flatscreen. It means losing focus in meetings, letting your relationships slide, leaving that big project for another day, cutting out of work early, and driving through Kenmore and the Fens, even though you know you’ll be stuck in miles of traffic, just to soak in that crisp, sausage-tainted air. It means lying in bed but never quite finding sleep, your stomach knotting as it replays a particularly horrific inning or contemplates the next day’s match-up. It means that the Red Sox will either win the World Series or leave us crying in the middle of the road.

And we can’t wait.

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The Wakefield-free ALDS roster was announced yesterday. This ain’t the first time Wake has been asked to watch a playoff series from the bench, and, ever the gentleman, I’m sure he smiled wide when Tito informed him, offered the coaching staff a piece of whatever sandwich he happened to be munching at the time, and said, “Well, this gives me more time to root on the guys and think up new ways to cure athlete’s foot in developmentally challenged polar bears” or something similarly Wake-ish. Because that’s what stand-up guys do. Anyway, this gives him more time, we’re told, to rest his ailing back and strengthen up for the ALCS.

The best reaction to being left of the roster, of course, comes from Our Man Jools: “That’s OK. As long as we get the ring and the big check.”

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If it’s any consolation, even the Angels’ beat writers are choosing the Sox:

Fenway is where Angels seasons died in ’86 and ’04. In the first case, the Angels staggered into town having blown Game 5 of the ALCS at home, and Kirk McCaskill and John Candelaria turned into vapor. In ’04, the Red Sox began their championship drive by sweeping the Angels. Boston has won 18 of its past 28 Fenway games against the Angels, who did emerge with a 2-2 split in August. Why do the Halos flick aside the Yankees and turn into cream pies in Boston? Their guess is as good as yours.

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I pray god the Papel-Bot just cleans up during this post-season. Because if he gets shelled, I can envision all sorts of video clips interspersing a lousy performance with that Riverdance-on-acid jig he performed after the division clinch. But, come on. We know he’ll be nails.

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Back in October 2005, Denton and I were invited to appear on the NECN Morning Show, where we talked about our blog, plugged our book, and I famously announced that I was glad the Sox were playing the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS, as I was convinced we’d mop the floor with them. That shows you just how good I am with predictions. But I will say this about the 2007 ALDS: no game in this series is bigger than tonight’s. If they beat us at home with our ace on the mound, it not only puts us behind the 8-ball in a short series, it places added pressure on Matsuzaka’s shoulders. Not that Daisuke can’t handle it, but I’d prefer to see him take the hill with a one-game advantage in his pocket. Also, you read it here first: JD Drew will be the hero of the ALDS.

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Anyway, as we dive headlong into the 2007 postseason, here’s some long-lost Dana Carvey mojo from the 1986 Sox-Mets World Series.

Dana Carvey: still alive, folks.