The embarrassment of playoff riches we’ve enjoyed for much of the past few years can’t erase the lean years. The years when ’round these parts, baseball in October invariably meant a swift kick to the groin, being left stranded at the altar, and all your letters to Santa returned in a crisp, brown envelope. So even though the Sox can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win over Cleveland, we take nothing for granted.

And there’s still plenty of drama to unfold over the last few days of the season. We’ve got the Indians in the house, who’ll probably do everything in their power to not have to witness another Sox celebration on their watch. We’ve got the Rays who, in dropping one to the Twins yesterday, are keeping the AL East race interesting. And then there’s the question of what sort of celebratory antics Jonathan Papelbon has up his sleeve, and any steps the FCC may be taking to prevent them from being broadcast to an unsuspecting public.

Unless they want to wait until the division’s locked up–and I’ve got no problem with that–we could be watching champagne flow at Fenway once again tonight. And it never gets any less exciting.