Back in August of 2006–on my goddam birthday of all days–the Sox opened a critical 5 game series at home against the Yankees. When New York arrived, the Sox were a mere one and a half games behind them in the standings. When they left, having taken all five games, we were six and a half games gone. And we never got closer than five and half games again for the rest of the season.

It was a dumbfounding, jaw-dropping, push-yer-nuts-through-the-meat-grinder kind of series, each loss more stupendously painful than the last. It was the nail in the coffin, assuring us in every way except mathematically, that the Sox were destined to spend October on the sidelines. Even though we’d just embarrassed the Yanks in the 2004 ALCS a couple years earlier, this utter f@#k-up of a series hurt. Bad.

So I must say, I’m quite happy to see the Sox returning the favor in 2008, deftly chloroforming any playoff aspirations Joe Girardi’s Stormtroopers might have harbored. It was the two new guys — Byrd and Bay — and the Elf Himself delivering the crushing blows, and even Manny Delcarmen sacked up when it was still a 4-2 game, striking out two in a perfect seventh inning, before all hell broke loose in the eighth.

I still can’t count them out. My mind just won’t let me do it. But if the Sox can shut ’em down again this afternoon, as Jon Lester takes on Chandler Bing, then I might start looking into venues for the Yankees Elimination Party.

Y’know. Just to be safe.