That was my first impression watching the Sox get taken out behind the woodshed by, in no particular order, the entire Rays batting order, Joe Maddon, the TBS announcers, two beer vendors, a small log and some chickens.

If being embarrassed in front of the home town team, if hearing the crowd rain boos down on the likes of the Captain himself, is what it takes to wake these guys up, to remind them that they’re the defending World Series champions until someone can wrestle the trophy out of their hands, then I’m fine with it.

Because I know we’ve been here before. I’ve seen the boys in deeper holes, staring at 3-0 deficits, watching the likes of A-Rod and Jeets playing slap-ass on our turf. And we were able to turn things around. Can we do it again? I don’t see why not.

It ain’t gonna be easy. Not so long as Ellsbury and Tek keep hitting a robust .000 for the series. Or The Large Father remains possessed by the evil spirit of Lee Tinsley. And whenever your hopes rest on Timmy Wakefield’s shoulders, it’s safe to assume that you’ll be watching the game from the corner of Heart Attack and Vine.

And then, of course, there’s our opponent. The tenacious Rays, who, today’s Tampa Bay tribune informs us, ain’t scared of no Red Sox:

We can dispense with all the fear baloney, which is the fertilizer Boston’s David Ortiz tried to spread after Boston won Game 1. The Rays belong right where they are – two games from securing a berth in the World Series. Think about that.

Look, I’m not gonna lie; winning is f@#king awesome. But watching last night’s game, I felt that sick gnawing in my stomach–the same feeling I got watching game three of the 2004 ALCS, and seeing Eric Gagne, the embedded Canadian, get rocked and rolled over in the 2007 ALCS. It was a good reality check because it assured me that my mind hadn’t become accustomed to winning. That nothing was assumed to be a slam-dunk. That the fear of utter and complete collapse still looms behind every corner.

And it felt pretty good.

If the Sox got a taste of it as well, then perhaps they’ll turn it on tonight. And if you’re lucky enough to be holding tickets, take a message to the corporate types hogging up the good seats: Make some f@#king noise. Jesus Christ, our boys were subjected to non-stop cowbell and fake mowhawks down at the Trop. Now they come to our house and we’re sitting around like a crowd at a David Sedaris book signing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). This is baseball in October at Fenway Park, motherf@#kers! Have we become so fat and happy with our team that these things no longer stoke the fires and inspire in every man and woman the urge to lose the pants, jump onto the field and run madly toward the Monster? I want carnage, off-the-charts imbibing, and a call for the head of BJ Upton.

If for no other reason than to shut up those TBS announcers.