By the time we got to game seven of the 2004 ALCS, I was driven purely by adrenaline, stale beer and Fritos. My hair was askew, my skin worse than normal, my mood perpetually itchy and the bags under my eyes like old Vaudeville trunks. The bad taste of 2003 and 1986 still hung in my throat. I was zombified and terrified of when the other shoe was going to drop. We were playing with house money. And I knew from experience that the house usually wins.

Then, in the second inning, with the Sox clinging to a two-run lead, this happened:

Needless to say, at least where I was, shit went nuts. Even though we had promises to keep and miles to go before we could sleep, it started to smell, taste and feel like we might actually pull off the greatest comeback ever.

So I’ll cheer Johnny tonight when he returns to Fenway for the first time since shedding that pinstriped laundry (he sat out with an injury during Detroit’s pass through town last year). Because I’m still thankful every day that this happened.