Watching the replay of Game 7 of the ALCS last night, I’m reminded of just how goddam zombified I was — we all were — during that two week October blur. There was no sleep, no square meals, very little attention to personal hygiene. Just baseball, baseball, baseball, in the car, in the store, at the casino. I’d find myself cutting meat in the shape of Jerry Remy, chanting “Who’s Your Dealer” in board meetings, and asking hookers how much they’d charge to dress up as Dave Roberts and reenact “the steal.”

Seriously, did you ever feel so useless, yet so fueled by adrenaline and glee? I remember days spent shuffling through the corridors of my office building like an extra from The Omega Man, vocal chords swollen, face puffed out, last vestiges of the previous night’s Jaegermeister quart slowly simmering in my veins. But in the evening, as game time approached, it was all outofmywaymutherf–ker because there were playoffs to watch and signs to paint and fingernails to chew and bottles to smash and babies to frighten. It was all so surreal and yet it made perfect sense.

And when it finally happened? That final ground ball to Pokey who throws it to Minty and instantly kicks the world off its axis? Even watching it last night, when I’ve already burned each frame of the transaction to memory, I find the arms raising involuntarily, the heart racing, the immense weight of the 2003 ALCS lifted off my shoulders. The World Series was spectacular, but at that very moment when the Yankees were vanquished and the AL title was ours… man, I couldn’t have been happier if I’d been magically transformed into Mena Suvari’s barstool.

After soaking it all in for the second time, I have to say that one of the most satisfying things has been the looks on the faces of the Yankees fans and players as it all just liquifies and slips through their fingers. Cashman with his hands in his pockets, staring blankly at the Red Sox pigpile. Billy Crystal slumped over in his private suite, being comforted by his wife in a manner not seen since the reviews for Mr. Saturday Night came in. Yanks fans lumbering out of the Stadium as the Sox fans moved in closer for the kill. The only thing missing was Kevin Millar giving pressed hams on the Jumbotron with “Thanks, NY” scrawled across his ass.

Add that to next October’s “to do” list.