Back when I was a wee lad, Red Sox playoff berths were like UFO sightings–very rare, and when they did happen, they usually ended with you waking up naked in the desert, downing whiskey by the gallon to wash away the memory of a painful anal probing.

These days, playoff appearances are, thankfully, much more common. In fact, since we started this blog in 2004, we’ve been fortunate to witness four postseason entries. Sometimes they end with a parade. Sometimes they end with Tony Graffanino wandering aimlessly around the infield. But I relish every moment, because it’s bonus baseball. A park full of fans and our heroes grinding it out while most every other team has gone into hibernation. I will never take it for granted, because the lean years have taught me that it all changes in the blink of an eye. Or a pop fly that suddenly leaves the ballpark. Or an easy out that glances right under a glove. Or a knuckleball that gets smacked into the Hudson River.

And now, once again, we find ourselves punching a ticket to baseball in October, with the Sox clinching the AL Wild Card (let’s forget all that crazy division talk now, after the Rays swept the Os away in a double header). Are we on the cusp of another 2004 or 2007 miracle? Or a 2005-ish first-round knockout? Honestly, as much as I want to win it all every time, I’m just happy that our baseball season will last for at least another week. As I said just a few days ago, I take it one step, one day at a time. 2004 taught me this.

I will say this much for the 2008 team. I seriously want to party with these guys.

And for those of you without NESN, here’s a look at some of the post-game celebratory high-jinks, with commentary from Jim Rice and Tom Caron:

Good stuff. And Timmeh approves.

Congrats to the 2008 Red Sox. And thanks again, dudes.