Last one out, turn off the lights.
Proof that the world may be ending: Kevin Millar has just been named Co-American League Player of the Week.
Proof that the world may just be beginning: the Sox stomped all over the Orioles last night, restoring the rightful order of the universe.
It's far too early to pronounce the team on the road to success, and they've been playing far too well of late to pronounce them dead, either. We're in limbo.
Last night a hard rain fell on Camden Yards in the mid-sixth, and by the seventh the infield was a sloshing track of mud. The pitcher's mound grew soggy as well, making Pedro fuss, stamping and kicking his cleats against the rubber after almost every pitch in the late going.
Leaving him out there made me nervous. He was up 12-2, there were just seven outs left to get, and sure, the bullpen was tired, but you don't leave your prized vintage Corvette out in the rain, and you don't do that to your $17.5 million starter, either.
Sure enough, our delicate little Dominican soon pulled up lame. Someone once remarked of Pedro, "Other pitchers are horses. Pedro is a pony." I don't see the comment as derogatory--it's absolutely true.
Why we have yet to employ a manager who understands that, I thought as I watched Pedro wince and squat and wiggle after feeling a pinch in his hip, is beyond me.
He'll give you seven beautiful innings on a silver platter in Game 7 of the ALCS. Not eight. And when the mound becomes a slippery slope, you remove him and his skittish body from the situation if he's up by ten runs. Hopefully we'll stop having to learn these things the hard way before his career is over.
But enough hand-wringing over Pedro. The Sox still brought the proverbial carousel to the diamond last night, and the contest matched more closely what most of us have envisioned in the matchup: a sound drubbing of a bad ballclub by a very, very good one.
So where do we go from here?
There are encouraging signs everywhere, if you're into coincidences. From things in my personal life I won't bore you with to the fact that Edward and The Soxaholix have returned from hiatus to the fact that the Sox have kept winning after Saturday's revelation against the Yankees--many things seem to have reached a point of renewal, rejuvenation, a sense of coming out the other side.
But my Red Sox heart is not given to be optimistic. Lately, though, my pessimism seems to have been a good luck charm for my team--as you can see in my earlier entries for the Yankees series, envisioning every bad outcome in a given situation seemed to stave them off. So I tell myself that my continued nervousness is for the good of the team.
Of course, it's more about self-preservation than anything. I've said it all along this season--the Sox would never pass up the chance to break our hearts in October by tanking mid-summer. I feel good about the rest of the season, but I feel that October heartbreak coming down the line. I can see us reverting to the bumbling, fumbling, error machine we started the season with at the worst possible time, in the worst possible place.
So we wait to see where this journey will lead us. And I know I'm just fooling myself thinking pessimism--or anything, really--could save me in the end. Downtrodden or optimistic, joyful or grieving, we belong to the Red Sox, and they will do with us as they wish.