The minute that ball left Delcarmen’s hand, I calmly placed my beer on the floor, headed into the kitchen, found a corkscrew, and briefly considered removing my own spleen. But then I realized that we’ve got a long way to go — it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as Captain Kirk said in that episode of Star Trek where the crew fought Rod Carew’s testicles. There’s lots more baseball to be played and a ring ceremony on home turf tomorrow and the goddam Yankees coming into town for the weekend, so there’ll be plenty of time to shake off the globetrotting residue and get down to business.

Also, it wasn’t as if a sweep in Toronto was that much of a surprise. For one thing, Geddy Lee of Rush was in the house (In fact, spotting Geddy in the rich people seats right behind home plate is one of the best things about watching a televised game at the Rogers Centre). With the guy who wrote “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” rooting against us, there was little we could hope to accomplish.

For another, there was that bizarre introduction of the Sox during Friday night’s game, which we’re presenting here in handy video clip format. Check the flood lights they’ve got trained on the Sox players and how no one seems to know which way to be facing during roll call. It looked like something out of Escape From New York, and was a bad omen if ever one existed. (Although check the bit with Youk and Ortiz at 1:05… clearly the highlight of the weekend.)

And though I make excuses for the lads, they themselves will have none of it. As always, the Elf sets it straight:

“I’m tired of hearing that (expletive),” Dustin Pedroia said. “Yeah, we had to go to Japan and yeah, we had a 19-day road trip, but that’s the schedule, we have to accept it, no excuses. We played like (expletive) for three games and got our (butt) kicked,how’s that?”

Tomorrow, they’re back at Fenway. And it will seem like the season is really beginning, all over again.