July 23rd, 1979 my buddy Dayton hit a ground ball that bounced off a root in my back yard and hit me square in the marbles.
I bring this up only because it's the closest thing to how I feel after tonight's game I could think of. After watching Beckett gack it up on Saturday night I was hoping for Lester to resemble Sammy "The Bull" Gravano and dispatch of the Rays as such.
Sadly, this didn't happen, and after watching Carlos Pena's 9th inning Home Run hit some Volvo on the Mass Pike I turned my weary eyes to tomorrow.
Forget that 9-1 waxing we took tonight; tomorrow we look to a 42 year old knuckleball pitcher with a beer belly and premature balding issues. A guy who began his career as a corner infielder who somehow, through the grace of God, the magic of Fenway Park, and a voodoo shop on Berkline Avenue is now the longest tenured member of the team.
He's got a career 19-5 record vs Tampa, has dealt with Aaron Freaking Boone in 2003, and cried standing on the pitching mound after the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in 2004.
Plus he's got a set of gibleys big enough to go hunting with Mike Timlin and live to tell about it.
For all those reasons, plus the fact he looks like he'd like to gut Joe Maddon like some random deer I've got a good feeling heading into tomorrow nights game. ALCS games for the Red Sox are like Kryptonite to Superman; it makes us weak, weary, and ready to move on.
But just like being down 0-3 to the MFY's in 2004 and 1-3 to the Indians in 2007, I'm not sweating the small stuff. Something inside me knows that Wake will make 'em look silly tomorrow, Dice-K will be Dice-K, and Beckett will suddenly remember he's the Commander of the FYYO Brigade and we'll all be Riverdancing down to Philly or out to Cali sometime next week.
At least that's what I keep telling myself. Lowell hurt, Ellsbury 0 for 20 something, and Papi not being Papi is in the back of my mind. But I'm Keeping the Fair and holding on.
'Cause just like Red said in Shawshank.
It's a good thing.