As we wait for tonight’s late show in Anaheim (fingers crossed, fingers crossed), we present recent conversations about the Olde Towne Team, both real and imagined.

* * * * *

Co-worker: Hey, is this the year?

Me: Hell, yeah. This is the year.

Co-worker: That’s what O’Malley said back in the day.

Me [having absolutely no idea who O’Malley is]: Right.

* * * * *

Yankee fan [reflecting on the All-Star Game]: Home field advantage didn’t do us much good last year, but it’s at least good to know we’ll have it.

Me: So, the Yanks are in as far as you’re concerned?

YF: As far as everyone’s concerned, actually. You think the Sox are gonna beat us? You wanna see Bellhorn facing Rivera in the ninth with two outs and the tying run on first? How can you do that to yourself? Have you learned nothing from last year?

Me: I learned we came this close to beating you [holds up two fingers, millimeters apart].

YF: But couldn’t close the deal. Here’s the thing. While Sox fans were watching Game 7 wondering how you were gonna blow it, Yankees fans were watching wondering how we were gonna win it. That’s the fundamental difference. We know we’re going to win. The drama’s in getting there.

Me: By the way, nice shirt.

YF [looks down at his vintage “sex instructor, first lesson free” T-shirt]: A classic, isn’t it?

* * * * *

Co-worker [and Mets fan] from New Jersey: So are the Sox gonna get the Unit?

Me: I don’t think so. I thought the Yanks were, but now I wonder if it’s all just a big game. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him stay put at this point. Plus, I’d hate to give away Nomar and Shoppach and Youkilis…

Co-worker: Youk who? I’ve never even heard of him. I think you overestimate your players, buddy. [mocking tone] Yeah, gee, I’d hate to lose those guys.

* * * * *

My daughter: Mom, I said a bad word

Wife: Uh-oh. What did you say?

My daughter: I said… I said that word daddy says when he watches the Red Sox.

Wife: Uh-oh.

* * * * *

Ghost of Butch Hobson: Wanna pass those raisins?

Me: Yikes! The ghost of Butch Hobson! The harbinger of all bad things Sox-related! Why are you here? Oh, God, don’t tell me. The Yanks get Johnson, Griffey and Bonds? Jimy Williams replaces Francona? Steinbrenner builds Robo-Babe?

Ghost: No, no. None of that. Although… er, nevermind.

Me [exasperated]: What? What?

Ghost: Let’s just say, I hope the Sox offense can carry on without Manny for, oh, all of August.

Me: Oh no. Oh God. What does that mean? What the hell does that mean?

Ghost: Sorry, I’ve got to go [takes raisins].