Friday, August 20, 2004: Today one of my best friends, Josh, some into town to pay me a visit here in the heart of Texas’ Permian Basin. Pep (his last name is Pepin) is also a diehard Sox fan and a fellow New Hampshire boy. I suspect that there will be beer involved. The Sox are the national Fox game tomorrow as well, so we’ll get to watch them.

Strange though it may seem, if we win tonight we will have the exact same record that we had at the same stage of the season last year. For all of the romance attached to the 2003 team, the fact is that for much of the year they were almost as perplexing as this year’s bunch. The expectations may not have been quite as high, but we still figured them to contend, and teams that can contend are always thinking World Series. But the reality is that the bullpen often killed them last year, a season in which they gave up many, many late inning rallies and some excruciat9ingly painful walk off home runs. In August and September, though, they started to pull it together. It is true that all games effectively count the same in the standings, but playing well now is far better than playing well in April and May when teams effectively position themselves for the heart of the season. We need to gain a little more ground by winning this series in Chicago. Schilling takes the mound tonight, and the rumors are afoot that he will be taking a shot for his bum ankle, which, if it helps is fine with me. In any case, let’s hope for some Pep Mojo for the boys in Chicago – coincidentally enough, Josh is flying down from Chicago, where he spends his workweek – he lives in Boston, Greatest City On Earth.

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