Just when you thought it was safe to start up the Christmas shopping [yeah, that's right, I said "Christmas." Come get me, ACLU]… the Red Sox and Doug Mientkiewicz are at it again, locked in mortal combat to possess “the ball.”

Now, 13 months after Mientkiewicz pocketed the ball, the team is playing hardball. Lawyers for the Red Sox filed suit yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court seeking permanent possession of the cherished symbol of suffering redeemed.

“From our perspective, it is very important that an artifact with this much history — it was 86 years in the making — be part of the club archive and be available for fans to experience,” Lucinda Treat, the team’s chief legal officer, said in an interview.”

Dudes, if you really want to give me the chance to experience a “cherished symbol of suffering redeemed,” then stick Dave Roberts in a glass case — or maybe something more cozy, like a two-bedroom unit on Marlborough Street — and let me stop by to see him once in a while. That would be experience enough for me.

As I see it, the more they bitch about it, they’re just driving the price upward. Next thing you know, Bruce Willis is crusing around Rodeo with the ball in his glove compartment.

Just let him keep the f–king thing. Really.