Best record in baseball. Biggest lead in any division.

The soothsayers on talk TV and radio who change direction more frequently than the winds at a British Open have already conceded the American League East and the ensuing pennant to the Boston Red Sox.

I just heard two of them decrying Major League baseball’s decision to play World Series Game 5 on a Monday night and wondering aloud if the Sox and their national following would out-draw Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in that night’s NFL game.

Anybody else scared out of their mind? The Sox have bolted the starting gate on a pace for 110 wins, and it’s the way they’re doing it that creeps me out. Hitting too clutch. Pitching too dominant. Defense too tidy.

Too much, too soon.

After a lifetime of waiting for the other cleat to drop, winning it all three autumns ago has diminished the amount of oxygenated blood that should flow to our brain and give us clarity in times such as these. Even I’m giddy as Ricky Williams after posing for a cover story in “High Times.”

Then I look at the pitching staff that’s the scourge of baseball right now, and I feel like a kid that just jumped into the ocean water only eight minutes after a four-course lunch. We all know the well-founded, old wives’ tale, but we’re ready to take the plunge, anyway.

Not to be excessively cautious or superstitious in pronouncing this first month-and-a-half spurious, but our long-term hope is built upon: That mad, blogging buffoon with the bad wheel and the bulbous belly; the unbeaten Texas gunslinger who’s never won more than 16 games in a season and gave up 36 gophers a year ago; the $103 million import who has never experienced the intensity and duration of a big-league season; and the ubiquitous knuckler forever dependent upon the wind, his defense, the alignment of heavenly bodies and a heaping helping of luck to get the job done.

I’d include a fifth starter in this discussion, but there isn’t one. Julian Tavarez’ present ERA is roughly the number of the beast with a decimal after the first six. And Jon Lester’s healthy return to the parent club is being handled more delicately than white powder in a post office.

Jonathan Papelbon would be a fabulous option. Instead, he remains the lights-out closer by default. That also frightens me. In this era of the Tommy John surgery epidemic, the sight of a guy with the potential to be the ace of a franchise for the next decade flinging 96 mph BBs every night gives me heart palpitations.

Roger Clemens is a whirlwind tour of the farm system away from being a Yankee. If you think that’s the last or best move a bottomless Bronx bank account will make this summer, you’re on drugs.

Speaking of drugs, before you dredge up one comparison between these Red Sox and the 1967 Cardinals, 1975 Reds, 1986 Mets or 1998 Yankees, do me a favor. Take two valium and call me in October.


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