It’s sometimes creepy to think that if the Sox had landed Mike Mussina back in the day, we might have never signed Manny Ramirez. So we’d be in our eighth year of hearing post-game comments like, “Did you know I went to Stanford?” and “If Mike Lowell had gotten down on that ball, I would have had a no-hitter,” and, “Sure, I know the square root of 74,653,986,294, but I’m not telling your withered ass,” instead of witnessing the unstoppable awesomeness that is Manny taking bat in hand to emasculate whoever happens to be unfortunate enough to be on the mound. Last night, when that ball left Joe Borowski’s hand, the only question I had in my mind was whether his teammates would wait until after the game to administer his post-game wedgie, or just pile drive him right there on the field.

There’s just something incredibly beautiful about watching Manny stand at the plate, and that new thing he does where he kinda holds the bat out straight before assuming his stance — without words, practically telling the pitcher that, “You are the one they will hold responsible for the carnage I am about to create” — just adds to the overall mystique. When he steps to the plate, all good things are suddenly possible. The steepest of deficits can be overcome. The hot chick from accounting will return your call. Your letter writing campaign to get “Herman’s Head” back on the air finally pays off. All thanks to Manny. (And in addition to checking the replays of the home run on NESN, you owe it to yourself to review the comments from yesterday’s game thread where shyte went nuts when Manny went yard.)

But last night’s game is oddly owed to Our Man Jools. His last appearance against Detroit turned into a dinner theater production of My First Night In Prison, starring Julian as the newbie and the Tigers as his fellow inmates. But last night, he walked into a bases-loaded, one-out situation and reminded us all that when he’s not punching phones or talking to pancakes or using mind control to force sorority buses to break down in front of his shack, he can throw a pretty mean baseball.

All this plus The Large Father breaking out with a couple hits? It’s enough to make you wish we could hang in Cleveland for the whole week.

Also, props to the art guys at NESN for creating this gem of a graphic to mark Manny’s countdown to 500 home runs. Seriously, this thing couldn’t be any cooler if it was that photo of him with the eBay grill.

So when will he get his 500th? My money’s on next Thursday’s game at home against the Angels. Yours?