OK, I’m back. After the Sox lost Friday night, I needed to take a little break, go on a vision quest before I could move forward with things. I watched Fever Pitch. I moped around the house, didn’t shave, ate cold Fenway Franks by the dozen. You know how it is. Now that reality has taken hold of me again, I take solace in a few things baseball-related.

First, the Braves are done. What is it, fourteen straight division championships? And one World Series to show for it? Why doesn’t some genius writer make up a Braves curse? Maybe we could send CHB down to Atlanta to get that going. I mean they’ve been there fourteen times, with different names and faces. What does that leave? The curse of Bobby Cox, which is only real in October?

Second, and more satisfying, the Yankees are gone. I never thought they’d make it past the Angels, then I heard Colon went down… But it is over for the pinstripes. Thank you, baseball gods. Even more inspiring than them simply losing, was A-Fraud’s performance. Two for fifteen with zero RBI. I’m not real good at math, but that doesn’t add up to MVP from where I’m sitting. I know voting ends before the post-season, but his lack of production with runners in scoring position and general suckiness in clutch play is nothing new.

Where do we go from here? No doubt we’ll be saying goodbye to some familiar faces. Millar, Mueller, Damon…all unlikely to be in a Red Sox uni come spring training. Foulke? Healthy or not, Boston would be a tough place for Mr. Attitude to come back to. Manny? For the love of baseball, please keep him on this team. Word is he wants to meet with Sox brass next month in what is being called a “give and take” session. I haven’t a clue what that means.

The days are growing shorter, the nights colder, and soon it will be Hot Stove season. This should be an interesting winter. Do we keep all the prospects? Trade for veterans? Who will play center field? Perhaps only Theo knows. But will he even be here next year? All I know is that the 2004 team is long gone, except in our memories.