First… a quick bit of shamelessness. Last week, with the World Series in full “schwing,” we received a substantial increase in readership volume, and plenty of nice e-mails from the Nation [and to "Helga" from North Attleboro... your marraige proposal is being given all serious consideration]. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write us. With the national spotlight on the Sox, we also got some nice media coverage… which, for once, didn’t include the line “last seen crossing the state lines in a beat-up Reliant Wagon and brandishing two shotguns.” Thanks to the folks at Boston Magazine for mentioning Surviving Grady in their November 2004 “Sox Files” column. Thanks also to Ian Donnis of The Boston Phoenix for quoting our man Denton in his The Sporting Life column in this week’s issue. And “merci” to Cynthia Simison of The Republican for the site name-dropping. Now on to today’s regularly scheduled post.

The Nation’s love affair with the 2004 Sox reached climax this morning, with over 3 million people turning out for the victory parade, or “Rolling Rally” as Hizzoner Menino dubbed it. Now all that’s left is to sweep up the confetti, mop up the vomit, and start counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Only… I’m not sure I can make it.

Last night, I commemorated the one week anniversary of Game One of the 2004 World Series by… watching a videotape of Game One of the 2004 World Series. The whole bloody thing. Commercials and all. And let me tell you, Tim McCarver is even more annoying the second time around.

Fox announcers notwithstanding, it still gave me chills. This was the only game that truly seemed a game… one that saw the Cards battle back at every turn, promising us a run for our money that, alas, never truly materialized. Of course, the Sox were so locked in that even some shoddy defense wasn’t going to derail the train. After their Lazarus act in the ALCS, the Sox could taste the chum, and they wanted this. We all wanted this. Badly.

And now, after sucking us in for the single wildest baseball season in Boston Red Sox history, they’re gone.

Poof. Just like that.

Flipping through the channels the past couple nights, I sought the soothing intonements of Remy and Orsillo to no avail. The store’s closed up. Not to open for another six months. Leaving me with only a head full of memories and a stack of carefully labelled videotapes.

But I’m a weak man. A junkie, scrambling for a fix. I want a 24-hour web cam giving me video access to David Ortiz’ kitchen. I want “Red Sox: The Sitcom” with Mark Bellhorn, Bronson Arroyo and Gabe Kapler as roomies and Curtis Leskanic as the wacky neighbor. I want dramatic reenactments of classic games by Tim Wakefield at my local library [with or without puppets; I'm not picky].

Folks, we made it through 160 games punctuated by a postseason of nail-your-balls-to-a-tree exhileration. We lived and died a million times in three packed weeks, and now it’s gone. Over. Finis.

I feel like a bum gazing wistfully at an empty bottle. Actually, I am a bum gazing wistfully at an empty bottle. And there’s nothing left.

But I can’t wait to buy the DVD.