After witnessing something that I thought I’d never see in my lifetime twice in four years, I wondered if I’d ever lose the manic edge that defined my pre-2004 life as a Red Sox fan.

I was, after all, the guy who alienated half my friends with my propensity for pressing my pale, Irish ass to the TV screen during especially nasty Sox losses. Who spent many a morning-after spackling holes I’d cracked in walls when Pedro or Nomar or Boggs couldn’t get it done.

Last night’s game against the Rays, however, confirmed that the dirty, drunken bastard deep down inside of me is still alive. And that f@#ker still gets it up for red hot contender-on-contender action.

The Sox aren’t exactly resting on any laurels, either. They look hungry as ever, and came out swinging last night against Edwin Jackson, grabbing three runs in the first and leaving the rest to Pope Jon Lester, who, if some of us got our offseason wish, would be tossing for the Minnesota Twins right about now. Good thing my wishes never come true–as I’m sure Jessica Biel would attest.

The only guy who’s gotta be enjoying this drive more than Lester is Jason Bay. Dude got plucked from Pittsburgh–where the only thing that gets the crowds riled up these days is when the concession stands offer three types of dipping sauces for the chicken tenders instead of the traditional two–and dropped into the thick of a pennant race.

There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, including six games against uber-spoiler Toronto. But one game at a time, the Sox are taking control of their destiny, positioning themselves to snag the division. And I’ll be there, fists cocked and pants loosened, to soak it all in.