Tonight, the Red Sox begin the single most important stretch of the season. Angels and Rangers at home. And it’s on. The kid gloves are off, deposited in a lead lined case, not to be disturbed until we make the playoffs or crash back to Earth in a heaping pile of molten ash. Schilling is on the hill. And he’s the man. And we are four and a half games behind the Yankees. And have a good chance to put some distance between ourselves and Anaheim & Texas in the wild card race.

Simply put, it’s “mice or men” time, and here’s hoping that at this very moment, Schill-Dog is deep beneath Fenway’s catacombs (where they keep the K-15B prototype Yaz Android), knitting up little ears and tails for Vlad and crew.

That said, I just can’t ramble on and on about the Sox. Not today. For today is the day I announce my unrequited love for Kit Hoover. The brunette in the photo above? That’s her. As if you didn’t know.

Kit Hoover is one of the hosts of ESPN 2’s Cold Pizza. Which, as it is on ESPN 2, I assume to be about sports. But it could be about deli meats and barber poles for all I know, as I can’t get past the majesty that is Kit Hoover.

Kit Hoover is perfection. Kit Hoover is unbridled sexuality in a neatly pressed pants suit. She is all hips and lips and cheekbones and nuclear perkiness that you don’t normally get on morning television. She is equal parts president of the high school science team and booze-swilling cheerleader who doesn’t think twice about wearing a thong under her skirt, because she’s damn proud of her ass and wouldn’t you be if you were Kit Hoover and you got to bring that ass around town? Damn right you would be, Cecily!

She doesn’t even know I exist. But this is temporary. My plans for world domination include having Kit Hoover at my side, riding shotgun in the chariot as my army of giant robots decimates the countryside.

Also, her name is extremely fun to say. And while it begs a vaccuum reference, you won’t get one of those from me. I’m just not that kind of guy.

In other news, ESPN reports that Curt Leskanic apparently has a shameful ointment problem:

RHP Curtis Leskanic overdosed on ointment Aug. 29. Prior to entering the ninth inning of a 6-1 victory over Detroit, Leskanic rubbed down his right shoulder with a mixture of ointments designed to warm and loosen the muscles. But when he took the mound, his shoulder was burning furiously. “I had too much stuff on (my shoulder). It was unbelievably hot,” said Leskanic, who struck out two in a scoreless ninth. “It was like I stuck my arm next to a fireplace.”

Like we’ve always told the kids, once you start mixing ointments, shit goes bad.

Lastly, ladies and gentlemen, here’s your Tenth Player for 2004:

Er, actually, it’s this one:

Sorry. We always get those two guys confused.