Mentally drained. Slightly drunk (again). Hoarse, pale and gaunt. Only two meals today–Red Bull and a Pop Tart for breakfast, pork chop and half-case of Bud Light for dinner. Lip bloodied. Carpet worn down and soiled.

It can only mean one thing: The Sox have made it to the next round.

So we’ve beaten the Angels in the ALDS for the third time in five seasons. But this one tastes particularly sweet. And here’s why:

Shutting up The TBS Tools: In my earlier post, I tried to tone it down. No predictions, no “Man, we’re gonna hand ‘em their asses tonight.” Then I watched the game and saw the ridiculous anti-Boston bias among the announcers. The way they said, “Siddown!” after one of our batters struck out. The way they noted, “No one’s chanting his name now!” after Torii Hunter slapped in the tying runs, despite the Fenway Faithful’s efforts to “Tor-ii, Tor-ii” him into submission. The way they went on and on about how crafty a hitter Teixeira is and how nails Lackey is and how Sciosia’s a good guy who’s never even so much as looked at another woman’s ass during his long, joy-packed marriage to Mrs. Sciosia. Everyone in that f@#king booth wanted to see us land with our feet up our own asses, and it made it even sweeter when the Sox levied the final blow–the death knell for Anaheim that you somehow knew was coming the moment Drew launched that home run in Game Two. Why didn’t anyone point out how quiet it got in the visitor’s dugout when Jason Bay threw his body across home plate, diving headlong into a playoff world he’d only read about before coming to Boston. Because it did get pretty f@#king quiet in there. Hey, at least Vlad’s got the Black Eyed Peas to keep him busy in the offseason. What’s John Lackey gonna do this long, cold winter? Here’s the thing: The Angels were the team that was supposed to win. We kicked and scratched and took it from them (in fact, only sweet Amalie called it among the Globe scribes). And it felt pretty damn good in the end.

Jason being Jason: I want this team to win it all for Jason Bay. There it is. I’ve said it. I love the fact that three months ago he was playing to half-filled houses in Pittsburgh, then finds himself dropped into this madhouse of a park, where the fans quaff expensive beer and scream bloody murder, shake their asses to Neil Diamond and build motherf@#king PUPPETS of their favorite players. This is the time of year he’s usually looking into ice-fishing boat rentals. Instead, he’s got his mug all over ESPN and FOX, getting champagne poured on his head by Jason Varitek. For someone who had the thankless job of effectively replacing the best goddam hitter in the game, he’s given us more than we could have ever dreamed, and delivered it with the “aw, shucks” grace of a guy who just helped you change your oil filter or loaned you a fiver for a sandwich.

It Takes a Village: Scenic Lowell’s got a bum hip requiring Youk to take over at third? Well, here’s Mark Kotsay who can play first place like madman, making a crazy over-the-shoulder catch and barely missing a chance to drive in the winning run before Lowrie’s heroics. Beckett just a shadow of his bad-ass 2007 self? No problem; here’s Jon Lester to shut down the vaunted Angels offense not once but twice in the ALDS. The Elf not pulling his weight at the plate? You wouldn’t know it from the fans at the Fens, who cheered the li’l sunuvabitch until he finally came through with an off-the-wall, run-producing double. You see, this is a team, Jackson, and we–the royal we, mind you; fans included–pick each other up when we’re down. As a wise man trapped on a creepy island once said, we live together or die alone. And together, we shall barrel forth into Tampa Bay.

Just a great night all around. An exciting series. And a whole new batch of heroes every time. The ALCS starts Friday night. Hold onto your nuts, Carl Crawford. And Joe Maddon, better put an extra chain on those stylish hipster glasses. We’re coming for you.

As Bay himself says, “I can’t imagine that it’ll get more intense than this, but it will.”

Amen to that. Oh, and f@#k Giambi.