Somewhere around the 1999 ALDS, as the Sox were putting the finishing touches on the Cleveland Indians, I became “the guy you don’t want to watch the game with.”

I’ve always been your typical “vocal fan,” yelling at the TV screen ’till I was hoarse, screaming obscenities, and waving a pistol (unloaded, of course) at the neighbors, just to show those muthafrickers that I was a Sox fan, godammit, and I meant business.

But during that fateful series with the Indians, I kicked it up a notch. Suddenly, the nervous energy was too much, and every game became a piece of dinner theatre for those silly enough to watch it with me. First of all, no sitting. I’d stand for the full nine innings, pacing back and forth, alternately shaking my fist and kicking at imaginary objects like Marcel Marceau on angel dust. The insanity came to a hilt during game five when, after Troy O’Leary belted his second home run, I inexplicably dropped trou and pressed my bare ass to the TV screen.

As the room cleared out in disgust, I heard my inner voice ask me: “why?” A thinly-veiled “eff you” to Jim Thome and crew? Perhaps. But truth was, I didn’t know. And three hours later, as I sat listening to the “wick, wick, wick” of my wife working over the TV screen with coat after coat of Windex, I still didn’t know.

But I knew this: Unless I was handing out Cuban cigars and hookers at the door, no one was ever coming back to my house to watch a game.

So as a big weekend series with the Yanks and another trip to the playoffs rolls around, I know I’ll be going it alone. But I’m fine with it. More snacks and beer for me, plus lots of room for cartwheels and smashing bottles.

Not that I didn’t do my share of bloodletting throughout the Baltimore series. You know you’re living in curious times when The Yankees are coming to town and it almost feels anti-climactic.

The four game series, which ended last night with the Os giving us the royal brown-eye on their way outta town, was like a mini-playoff series in its own right. And the last three games were veritable heart stoppers, right down to an improbable, utterly fantastic comeback bid, as Ortiz came up short of a possible three run home-run which would have won the game and simultaneously triggered the apocalypse.

Looking back, the Os have been one of our most tenacious foes all season, and they seem to relish putting our balls in the waffle iron. Especially Tejada. Is there anyone who enjoys sticking it to the Red Sox more than Miguel Tejada? I think not. Dude lives to torment us, and with his bizarre muppet-hinged mouth, I can’t ever tell if he’s yelling or smiling or shreiking after every home run or put-out. In retrospect, I guess if Derek Lowe knocked my team out of the ALDS and then gestured that we could all bite his tweeter, I’d be pretty upset, too.

Speaking of getting knocked out, how do we intepret Tito’s use of Byung-Hyun Kim in the ninth inning last night? Is that his way of embracing the Wild Card? For those who were curious, Kim still sucks, and he promptly surrendered the two runs that turned out to be the difference makers.

It would have been a nice game to win, with the Yanks coming to town and all. But the thing that keeps me rolling is that there’ll be baseball in October. Right here. In Fenway Park. So keep your pants on and represent.