Dudes, if you’ve spent any time over the last four seasons reading this blog — and I know you haven’t — you’d understand that I pour a little bit of myself into these playoff games.

I’ve got an ulcer named after the 1986 World Series, stress-related cancer lurking somewhere in my body courtesy of the 1999 ALCS, scared knuckles and a whiskey-bruised liver thanks to one Grady Little, and I’m not sure I’ll ever catch up on the REM sleep I lost during the 2004 post-season. But it’s cool. I gladly put personal health and mental well-being on the last train to Clarksville once the playoffs come around. It’s just the kinda fella I am.

This year, however, there’s a little bit more riding on your gravy train. You see, when Jordan’s Furniture announced that they’d be giving away free stuff if you guys won the World Series, I went sh-t crazy. Tired of seeing my guests impaled by couch springs and balancing my kitchen table legs with copies of Bob Uecker’s Catcher in the Wry, I bought some new stuff. Lots of it. Stuff I had no right buying. But because Jordan’s is such a cheery place, full of bright lights and music and signs that say “take this motherf@#king sofa home now, Red, and you needn’t pay a dime until 2008″, I took the dive. I got so swept up in imagining a place full of fancy-ass furniture, and me, tugging at my lapels and adjusting my monocle as I announced to my female guests, “Why, yes, in fact, I have done quite well for myself” before administering the chloroform and roofies, that I just couldn’t pull back.

Now I find myself surrounded by awesome, ass-cradling furniture that I have no right owning. But that imported leather couch looks so sweet next to the Mike Lowell cardboard standee. And my new kitchen table… man, you can ask the countless women who have never stayed over to have breakfast at my place and they’ll agree: it can easily hold about 57 boxes of Cap’n Crunch, lined up end-to-end.

To put it simply, I love this furniture. But if you don’t win the World Series, I’m going to have to give it back.

Not willingly, mind you. I’ve got enough booze and ammo to hold off at least a couple of the Baldwin brothers. But eventually, they’ll come for it. Just like they came for my car, my TV, and my original cast recording of You’re a Good Man, Lou Piniella. If you guys get dropped like a bad habit in the ALCS, I’ll have Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton outside my door quicker than you can say “plate of shrimp.”

But does it really need to come to that? You guys have the intestinal fortitude to hold off these young Cleveland Indians; I just know it. Most of you have been there. You’re experienced. You can remain calm and collected and address the matter at hand while the rest of them stare wide-eyed at the bunting and MLB decorations and the Tony Gwynn free backrub booth. You can make your way to the World Series where we all know the National League opponent will be whipped into submission. You can send this city into another frenzy, turn us all into sleep-deprived, Red Bull-fueled zombies, and expand the parade route to include a swing around Crossroads Pub at the corner of Beacon and Mass Ave where the first round’s on me.

Best of all, you can save me from the embarrassment of having to give all this furniture back.

Think about the little man, people. I’ll be there through it all, waving a pennant, pointing the foam hand, kneeling at the altar of Lugo. And chaining myself to a couch.

Yours,

Red.