Heaven help me. I think I’m starting to crack.

I’m usually stronger than this. A lifetime of Sox worship has conditioned my body and feeble mind to understand the basic rules: There will be highs. There will be lows. One day, you’re basking in the warmth of good vibes; the next day, someone’s kicking your balls into your chin. It’s just the way it has to be. My father told me this. My grandfather told me this. I should understand it by now.

But watching last night’s game, still high off the fumes of a brilliant Tuesday night victory, I found myself clenching my fists, grinding my teeth, and shouting far too many obscenities.

On Tuesday, everything clicked. Thirteen hits. Home runs. Grand slams. Insane, Spider-Man like plays in the outfield. This was it, I thought. The beginning of the much-dreamed-about winning streak. The one that would position us to be perched atop the AL East by the All-Star break.

Instead, all I got was a fistful of buzzkill. Thirteen men left on base. No timely hits. Plenty of grounding into double plays. And Pokey leaves the game with a severly sprained left thumb.

This was the baseball equivalent of a stocking full of turkey gravy on Christmas morning. Or waiting fifteen years for “The Phantom Menace.” Or discovering that the hottest chick in homeroom has a hairier back than you.

Pure, unadulterated buzzkill.

In situations like this, I like to look for victims. People who can bear the full burden of my wrath. I wanted to lay it on Derek Lowe, but the man didn’t pitch that badly. Then I thought about Manny, but he’s just too goddam good to not be allowed an O-fer every once in a while. Then I thought about the Wayans Brothers, whose upcoming film, “White Chicks,” looks to be one of the most cringe-inducing things ever committed to celluloid. Very tempting, but it just didn’t make any sense.

So, again, it’s Kevin Millar. I’m at the point now where I get ill simply watching him lumber to the plate. I just don’t understand why he was even allowed to hit in the ninth, representing what could have been the winning run. Why not take a chance on McCarty off the bench? Or Kapler? Or Mirabelli? Sending Millar up is simply giving up an out, end of story. When you’re leading 7-0, Millar’s your guy. That’s when he’ll come up big, turning a win into a rout by padding an extra 5 or 6 runs onto that lopsided score. But in a clutch situation, when you absolutely, positively need some kind of bat-meets-ball contact, I’d rather see the guy who played Al on “Happy Days” standing in the box.

And all this on a night when Baltimore actually defied all expectations and beat the Yankees? Only makes it hurt that much more.

Pass the bottle. And I’ll see you at 1:00pm.


In other news, the Beltran watch continues. GAMMONS! reports on a potential three-way with the Dodgers, A’s and Royals that fell through:

A’s general manager Billy Beane tried to put together a three-way deal that would have sent Carlos Beltran to the Dodgers and Guillermo Mota to the A’s, but Paul DePodesta, his former assistant and now counterpart with L.A., did not want to trade Mota.

So does that mean the Sox are next in line? A coupla rumors have Youkilis, Shoppach and Williamson on the table. Could this be? Was Curt Leskanic picked up to fill a void if Williamson is moved? After the A-Rod debacle, I gotta believe that Theo & Co. would have learned the art of discretion… and deception. Maybe they’re planning to deke out the Yanks and other suitors by making it look like they’re in Beltranville, when in reality, they’re trying to work something out for Freddy Garcia.

All I know is this: If the Yanks land Beltran, things could get really ugly, really fast.