There’s something inherently horrifying about watching David Ortiz running the bases. Not because I’m concerned for anyone who gets in his way, but because when he’s motoring around the bases, breaking ass like an escaped convict on a Corn Pops and Red Bull bender, he’s invariably going to slide. And when he commits to a slide, my entire world freezes like a goddam Slush machine. My mind floods with images of a leg twisting off or a wrist getting smothered or his arse muscles tearing in a bazillion different directions. Every time Ortiz slides, he’s taking lives (his, mine, the catcher’s, etc.) and the season in his hands and I can only sit there, dumbstruck, waiting for the dust to clear so I can assess the damage.

But even I have to admit: that slide he pulled off in the third inning of yesterday’s 4-2 victory in San Diego was a thing of beauty. So seamless and expertly executed, I have to say, I am actually able to enjoy repeat viewings without my legs going limp or my heart hurtling itself out of my chest (and, through the magic of YouTube, you can relive it as well, at the bottom of this post). Look at the way he comes barrel-assing around third, giving us all the feeling that something absolutely horrible is going to happen. But then he somehow shifts that oversized body into a well-choreographed descent, smoothly swiping his hand across the corner of the plate, and taking Julio Lugo in his arms in celebration.

It was just another highlight in a spectacular game — one of the most thrilling of the season’s first half by far. Josh Beckett is officially Commander Kick Ass of the Fu-k Yeah brigade, and The Papel-Bot is a most worthy first officer.

As much as I hate to kick a man when he’s down — I like to transmit the positive vibes whenever possible — I am curious to know just how low Lugo’s average is going to dip. Personally, I think it will touch .164 before he’s able to turn himself around and become the hero of August and September. So you heard it here first: .164 and lots of booing and self-examination, then a miraculous turn-around and a critical role in the late season clinching of the East. Write it down.