How many times can you truly beat the devil (and by devil, of course, I mean John Stamos)? In 2004, we proved that anything can happen. But can anything happen again? Only the Gods of Baseball and the mob of Sox fans who are hopefully headed to Coco Crisp’s room to tie and gag him and leave him in the closet in a burlap sack know for sure.

Tonight, we have Josh Beckett. And if I’m gonna throw all my money on anyone on this team — anyone — it’s gonna be Josh Beckett. In fact, were I working security at the Jake tonight, I’d be sure to give Commander Kick Ass an extra pat down to make sure he’s not packin’ a shiv or flamethrower or Gatling gun. Because if the Indians do happen to get to him, I can see Beckett launching the first-ever nuclear strike on Cleveland.

Next up, we’ll have Schilling. But we really can’t look beyond tonight. We’re in fight-for-your-right-to-party mode. One misstep, and we’re packing up the bats and uniforms and what’s left of J.D. Drew’s pride and putting it in winter storage. We’re taking down the Fenway bunting, giving the mens’ rooms their annual cleaning, wiping the ALCS logo off the grass, and laying out the tarp ’til 2008. The next time we see a new Sox game on TV, it’ll be our fifth-stringers taking on the South Florida Bridge Club Rollers in Fort Myers.

That’s the worst part about elimination. Yes, the chance for glory and parades and a free pancake breakfast with Mayor Menino all evaporate in the blink of an eye. But it also means that Red Sox baseball is officially on ice ’til next year. And I’m just not ready to say goodbye.

So we’ll need some timely hits. We’ll need some production from the bottom half of the order. We’ll need Josh Beckett at his wild-eyed, blood-curdling, cowboy-hat-wearing best. And we’ll need to send a message early on, to let the crowd know that we’re not dead yet (and perhaps inspire them to put down their rally towels and pick up a psalm book). And, most importantly, that we didn’t get here by accident.

It’s time for mayhem, street justice and general ass-kickery. Please don’t let me down, lads.