Tina? Red here.

As the restraining order you requested keeps me a good 80 blocks from you, I’ve decided to say what I need to say in a post.

And what I need to say is… I’m sorry.

When I first heard the whispers that you might be leaving us, taking your hair and your mouth and your ripped Seven jeans and heading to New York, I was dumbstruck. Leaving us? The world champions? The city that embraced you like an old, drunken uncle awkwardly embraces an eighteen year old niece? Just can’t be.

But it was true. And just like that, you were gone.

So what did I do? What any guy does when something’s slipping from his grasp and he’s powerless to stop it. I found solace in the mess of blonde and breasts that is your replacement, Heidi Watney. “Oh, I’ll be just fine,” I told myself, pulling at my lapels as you rode your bicycle out of town. “This Heidi girl will almost certainly make the pain go away.”

And I know it’s only been a little while. Less than a month since she’s been on the scene. But I have to be honest with you.

It’s not working.

The truth is, Heidi’s a great girl. With a lot of potential. And a winning smile. And that earnest, I’m gonna show you a good time if it kills me attitude. I like that attitude in a girl. But she’s not you. And it’s driving me crazy.

I hear her voice, but I see your face. I see her fumbling near the dugout after the game, trying to flag down an interview subject like a cheerleader trying to catch the star quarterback’s eye, and I know it should be you standing there, NESN mic at the ready.

And it’s not just me. The players can feel it, too, I’m certain. I watch the way they circle her, keeping their distance and staring oddly as she smiles and cocks her head and sticks microphones in their faces. It’s a strange, unspoken thing but it’s like the elephant in the laundry room. Everyone knows it’s there. Think we’ll ever catch Papelbon sizing up Heidi’s ass the way he let his eyes run all over yours? Something tells me no.

I think it became painfully apparent after the Jon Lester no-hitter. It was a Norman Rockwell moment. A shit-your-pants and cry-your-heart-out kinda thing, like the last five minutes of Field of Dreams and It’s a Wonderful Life and that last, great day you had with your dad all rolled into one. And then, abruptly, Heidi was there, asking Lester something about how important a first pitch strike is or how big this day rates in his List Of Great Days or something equally inane. That’s when I truly realized the one thing I’d been denying since you walked away: I want you back. I need you back.

It’s an exciting life, I’m sure, this one you’re leading so far away from me. But the thing is, I’m wondering if you might not miss us just as much. The thrill of interviewing Youk just to see what woodland creatures might be camping in his beard. The innuendo-laden banter and obvious sexual tension between you and Theo. That guy who kept hanging off the roof box railings, begging you to throw your underwear up to him (alright, that was me, but you see where I’m going with this). You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and I’m certain that’s true on both sides of the fence. And I finally realized just how good I had it when you were here. And I desperately want to feel it again.

You don’t need to write back. You have your own reasons for shutting me out, reasons I probably don’t want to hear anyway. Just know that my door is always open, my phone always on, my high-powered telescope always ready to fix upon the penthouse windows of whatever address you see fit to provide me with.

Also, the wacky fisherman says hi.

* * * * * * * * * *

On another note, it’s official: I’ve quoted pretty much every lyric from Tom Waits’ “Hold On” as a post title. And who can blame me? As The Man himself says, “Go ahead and call the cops. You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops.”

On to the Bryan Adams tunes!