After following the Sox religiously for most of my 74 years on this earth (give or take a few), I thought I may have met my match with the 2012 team. One month in, there didn’t seem a lot to like. No real entertainment value to offer, not a lot of spark, and the new manager kept sticking his goddam hands in his pants just adding to the overall unsettling picture.

But somehow, slowly but surely, they’ve gotten into my head. My heart. My beer cans.

Last night’s line-up featured Nava, Middlebrooks, Byrd, Punto and Sweeney–not exactly the names I was drooling over last winter (“It’s like a team of Bellhorns,” I mentioned in a drunkedn stupor at some point last night). Yet this motley collection of players has gelled into a team, helping out where needed, plugging away as best they can, and never, ever causing anyone to stop and ask, “Say, when is Carl Crawford coming back, anyway?”

At the top of the chain, of course, is the Large Father. The lone remnant (along with Youk, natch) of the 2004 team still casts a wide shadow across this team, and his performance at the plate has been pretty friggin’ remarkable — .323 with 12 homers and he’ll likely get his 400th career dinger by July 4.

They’re still in last place. They’ve still got a way to go. But, God help me, I’m beginning to feel my fears of a lost summer dissipating in the pollen-filled air.

And now, without warning: Daryl Hall and Cee-Lo: