Understand this: The ALCS will not be easy listening. It is not prime time, family fare designed to inspire dinner table conversation. It is blood and stale beer and grinding teeth and at least one punch-out. In my house, anyway.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m the guy no one wants to watch the game with. Because I jump. Because I shout. Because I let fly the language that makes mothers cry and young girls squeal. Because, particularly during the playoffs, I become a violent, cantankerous bastard who wants all the pretzels and will drink all the booze, thanks very much, because liquor is the fuel that propels my rage. And my neighbors understand that a Red Sox/Yankees playoff game is the equivalent of an urgent message form the Emergency Broadcast System. It is “get in the shelter because it’s all shit mad fury and frozen waffles” time. I don’t even know what that means, but my neighbors do. And they pop their iodine tablets and scurry into the darkness at the first sound of McCarver’s voice.

It is going to hurt, because these games always do. You will lose your breath. You will stammer. You will experience every flavor of euphoria, then take a metal cleat to the shins.

You will laugh. You will cry. You will jump off the sofa in exhileration. You will curl up in the corner of the room, withered and helpless and stinking of Jaegermeister. You will have the Schilling and the Manny jerseys at the ready, slipping from one into the other during key moments, as if it actually means something.

You will pray for Nixon’s balls (the ones he hits, not, like, his testicles) to find their way over the wall, not simply slap against it. You will pray that Air Panama shuts down, locking Mariano in country. You will pray that there will be a World Series game in Boston, because you just sunk $4,325 for a ticket on Ebay.

And you take comfort in the fact that you will not be alone.

Also, some of you have already done this, but we invite your predictions in today’s comments thread. Don’t be afraid. Take a chance, white boy.

…and we’ll reconvene tomorrow.