Dear Mr. Roberts:

Just heard that you’ve been traded to the San Diego Padres. It’s disappointing for sure, because the image of you skimming your righteously speedy ass across the Fenway plate in Game Four of the ALCS has been indelibly burned into my mind, like the first time I saw a rainbow or Jimmy LaRussa’s mother without her shirt on.

It’s a good memory. Perhaps one of the best I’ve ever experienced as a Red Sox fan.

You were only here for a short while, but you left me something that I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. The steal. That’s right, the single most important f–king steal ever.

Sure, there were a lot of factors that contributed to the Sox winning the World Series: otherworldy pitching from Schilling, Foulke and that Martinez feller; Tony LaRussa replacing the heart of the Cards’ order with the band REO Speedwagon; and the Jeff Suppan “moonwalk” to name a few.

But everyone in Red Sox Nation knows one thing this morning: You don’t steal second base in Game Four and the Yankees are going to the World Series. Worse yet, they’re celebrating their second ALCS-clincher on the Fenway grass in five years. You spared us the image of A-Rod and Jeter dry humping on our third base line. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

So my question is: What can I do to adequately repay you for your contributions to the betterment of my life? Dude, you’ve hooked me up beyond my wildest dreams, and I’ve got to give a little back. Some minor car repairs? Lawn work? Discount coupons for Subway? Rendezvous with my cousin Juanita? Just say the word and they’re yours.

Seriously. I don’t think you should be allowed to leave for the left coast until you’ve jogged around Boston, accepting high-fives from anyone and everyone. It’ll be like a parade, beginning at first base on the Fenway infield, and just going off from there. Like Forrest Gump, you’ll just. keep. running. Through Kenmore, around Government Center, onto the Expressway. All the way to the state line. You could totally make it. Just think: People will be stopping their cars to wave, several thousand drunken knuckleheads will try to keep pace, and the adoring Nation will hangs its collective head out of our godforesaken thirty-fifth floor office windows and scream, “Thanks, you fleet-footed bastard. Thanks for the memory.”

It would be extremely cool and I’ve already mapped out a course, so feel free to write, call or e-mail for more information.

In the meantime, as the 2005 Opening Day Flag Raisin’ Party loses a couple more participants [OC is heading to The O.C., as you surely heard, but we’ve got it on good faith that Jim Rowe and Chang-Ho Lee should be there], I tip my cap to you, Mr. Roberts and say that for a guy who was with us for about as long as Cliff Floyd, you’ve left us a hell of a lot.

And I’m serious about those Subway coupons. I know a guy, and can hook you up like that.

Best of luck in San Diego,