Yeah, the bullpen took what could have been Justin Masterson’s first big-league win and promptly flushed it down the Beemis. But that doesn’t mean we have to talk about it. In fact, I’ve got five topics I’d rather wrap my brain around this morning:

1. Until Leeann Tweeden takes up baseball, there is no one I enjoy watching more than Manny Ramirez. Sure, there’s the talent, the ability to change a game and send pitchers into fits of tears with the flick of a wrist. But there’s also the personality — waving goofily to fans in his left field corner, ducking behind the Green Monster scoreboard for a quick whiz or to chat up the guys working there, shilling grills and cars, appointing himself a “bad man,” and matter-of-factly declaring that, yeah, of course the Sox are going to pick up his option next year. And, again, there’s the talent. In the past, the Sox were famous for star players who delivered the goods on the field, but were, for lack of a better term, something of a horse’s ass when it came to public relations (see Yaz, Ted, Boggs, Jim Ed). Or, on the flip side, dudes who knew how to work a mike but just couldn’t post equally engaging numbers (see Kevin Millar, Kevin Millar, Kevin Millar). In Manny, we’ve got the best of both worlds and I, too, can’t imagine the Sox not extending the Manny era for another couple years. We’re gonna miss him when he’s gone.

2. I think at times I may take Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo for granted. May God smite me for such behavior. After pouring through dozens of other MLB broadcasts on Comcast’s Extra Innings packages, I’m convinced that nobody brings the noise like RemDawg and DO. And nothing drove that point home stronger than Ken Macha’s fill-in for an ailing Dawg earlier this week. You wanna live in a Remy-free world? Me neither, brother. While Remy and Sean McDonough made a formidable team back in the day, Remy has truly found his perfect batterymate in Orsillo. Together, they are the Batman and Robin of sports broadcasting, flaunting metric tons of charisma and deadpan wit that can keep me glued to even the most painful of 15-2 blowouts. Perhaps more importantly, in this era of insufferable tools like McCarver and Morgan and ESPN talking heads who somehow think they’re above the game, Remy and DO are like a couple guys from the corner pub, always respectful of the audience and fully aware — as Remy has said himself in countless interviews — that they’ve got the best gig in the world (second, perhaps, only to whoever gets to do Jessica Alba’s laundry). We’re spoiled, people. And I’m loving every minute of it.

3. Very quietly — right under our noses, in fact — the best album of 2008 has been released. It’s “Boo!” by Was (Not Was) and its sheer brilliance cannot be measured by means currently available to human beings. You may know Was (Not Was) from their ’80s novelty hit “Walk the Dinosaur.” Or you may remember Don Was as the megaproducer of Grammy-winning discs by Bonnie Raitt, the B-52s and The Stones. But if that’s your only exposure, it’s time to school yo’self. Imagine Wilson Pickett, Frank Zappa and Parliament Funkadelic teaming up to record lyrics by Martin Scorsese and you’re halfway there. This is hard drinkin’, ass movin’ music, motherf@#kers. The kind of stuff you put on at your party when you’re ready to say, “F@#k this, bring on the cops and the tanks and the anti-aircraft guns. We’re tearing this sucker down.” If you take any piece of advice from me and/or this blog, let it be this: get your ass to iTunes and download “Semi-Interesting Week,” a song chemically engineered to get your body moving. Or “It’s a Miracle,” which sounds like vintage Motown, if vintage Motown had lyrics like, “Uncle Kenny is yelling at his wife, he screams/”Who broke the f@#kin’ TV”). Or “Mr. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” which the band co-wrote with Bob Dylan. Folks, the very fact that there’s a song called “Mr. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” should really be selling point enough, shouldn’t it? Anyway, here are some videos. Tune in, turn on, get Was.

“Mr. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”:

“Semi-Interesting Week” (as performed live on Later with Jools Holland in the UK earlier this week):

“Crazy Water”:

4. Eric Gagne: Four blown saves and counting!

Thanks to Cara and Brian for the photo.