That is to say, he, too, was once a wee kid and went through an awkward stage which was forever captured for posterity in grade school yearbooks (assuming, of course, that the kid in the photo above is actually the Theo Epstein). Of course, when it comes to picking up drunk college chicks at the Cask, Theo can ask them if they want to run around the bases or check out the “Luxury Box” at Fenway Park, whereas I can only beg them to accompany me to a small, badly-lit and possibly wombat-infested apartment on the outskirts of Boston. Advantage, as always: Theo. You can click the photo above for the larger version, and thanks to Allison for the heads-up.

As for last night’s game, clearly Big Bad Coco is Sweet Covelli now, making another fantastic catch in the field and belting a three-run homer on a night when every run we could plate was precious. My personal favorite came in the top of the third when Royce Clayton seemingly got hung up between third and home on a ground ball to the pitcher, then bolted for the plate when the throw went to first.

Kevin Millar — the only guy on the Os who actually looked cool in that oversized Black Sox uni — continued to haunt us with another home-run. But if we’ve got to be haunted by any ex-Sox, he’s clearly the guy you want doing the haunting. Better El Bencho than, say, Jay Payton, y’know?

There was no bigger moment, however, than Buchholz coaxing that double play ball from Tejada with the bases loaded and nobody out. It was a moment in which a lesser kid might’ve gone tits-up, but Clay kept his composure, got the job done, and went back to the dugout to find a month’s supply of freshly-pressed Big Pants waiting for him. Personally, I can’t wait for some late-inning Clay vs. Joba magic when the Yanks come to town next week.

Hell, I was so swept up in the magic that I actually thought J.D. Drew was gonna deliver in the top of the eighth with the bases loaded. One inning ending GIDP later, I remembered that this is The Lost Season for Drew. It really has become painful watching him trudge to the plate, fudge things up remarkably, then amble back to the dugout, looking like his pride just hopped the last train to Clarksville. Maybe he really is saving it up for the post-season; it would certainly be a nice coda to an otherwise abysmal late summer.

Getting back to Clayton, when the Jays cut him loose in August and the Sox came calling, he had but one request. As I wrote on FanHouse, Royce wanted to be around for his son’s first day of school. Theo obliged, and Royce was happy.

“I appreciate [the Red Sox] accommodating that because it meant a lot to me,” said Clayton. “My son may not remember it, but I will. After that, my mind was clear and I was ready to come, get in shape and help the club.”

Party on.