Imagine if it were 2001 and Wally the Green Monster came up to with with an offer you couldn’t refuse.  AP photo

Summer 2001. You’re still young, the Twin Towers are still standing and Tom Brady is a third-string quarterback.

The Boston Red Sox — who have not won a World Series since 1918, as sports media and Yankees fans like to remind you every day — are a very flawed team with three elite talents (Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez), a clubhouse cancer who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs (Carl Everett) and a bunch of Mike Lansing-David Cone-Dante Bichette veterans who are just kinda there.

And the team is up for sale.

So there you are on a hot Saturday night sipping a few beers and watching Frank Castillo get knocked around again on your not-yet-HD, not-yet-smart TV.

Suddenly the image of Castillo fades and Wally the Green Monster appears on your screen. This isn’t the cute-n-cuddly Wally that Jerry Remy made famous, though. This green guy is all business.

“Hey you! Yeah, you with the cheap suds!” Wally says.


For some reason, you don’t think it’s odd that a mascot on TV is talking to you.

“What do you want? And hey, money is tight this week!” you reply.

“I’ve gotta deal for you,” Wally says. “Here’s the good part: New owners are going to come in by year’s end and clean house. Not just the front office, but also clean up this dump they call a ballpark I’ve been living in since 1912. You know how hard it is to sleep in a cramped concourse, surrounded by all these random puddles that smell like stale beer?

“Anyway, back to you. These new owners — get this — are going to bring the World Series title to Boston in a few years. And it will be in the most mind-boggling manner imaginable. People will talk about it long after you or I are gone.

“And here’s the best part: They’re going win it again … and again … and AGAIN … !”

The highs: Jason Varitek leaps into Keith Foulke’s arms after the Red Sox ended 86 years of frustration by winning the World Series in 2004. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

You look into your beer can. Did someone put something heavy duty in that light beer?


“No,” Wally says as if he can read your mind. “This is no drunk hallucination or fever dream or anything like that. This is the real deal, buster. Not one, but FOUR Red Sox World Series wins! In fact, I guarantee you they’ll happen in the next 20 years, while you’re still young! Well, you might be middle-aged for the last couple, but no biggie.

“No more talk of curses or Bucky Dent or Bill Buckner or any of that hooey. Sound good?”

Somehow, Wally has your rapt attention. Not just is a mascot talking to you, he’s talking about making your wildest non-romantic wishes come true. Next thing you know, you’re nodding your head and you hear yourself quoting one of the 21st century’s great philosophers — The Rock.

“Just bring it!” you shout.

(Your neighbors, by the way, are wondering why you’re blaring that as the Blue Jays knock Frank Castillo around for seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.)

Wally nods. “Great! I knew you’d like it.”


Then his expression changes and he gives a bit of a creepy hide-the-daughter grin.

“Oh wait, there’s something else I didn’t mention,” he says.

“Sure thing. But hurry up, the bathroom’s calling.”

The lows: The Red Sox sent franchise icon Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in a salary dump, almost 100 years to the day after dealing Babe Ruth to the Yankees. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

“Well … the new owners, they aren’t always warm ’n fuzzy like me. They can alienate people, just like Duquette’s done with Mo and Rocket Man. They’re going to clean up this dump, but they’re going to charge you an arm, two legs and a second mortgage for tickets. They’re going to add talented players, but they’re going to drive them away, too.

“And someday, they’re going to add one of the most complete players since that Ruth guy was at Fenway … but they’re going to dump him, much like the Sox dumped the Babe, right around the 100th anniversary of that deal, too, just to rub it in. Remember Mookie Wilson in ’86? This guy will have the same first name, so file that away.

“And you know what I said about those four World Series wins? Well, for every Series win, they’re gonna finish dead last. Actually, they’ll finish last a fifth time because the baseball gods have a sick sense of humor, as you well know.


“It’s not perfect, but think about the FUN! The highs are going to be so high you’ll think you can leap over the left-field wall! As for the lows, well … don’t you know pain comes with pleasure?

“So whaddya think? Deal? And don’t you want to beat those Yankees? You HATE those Yankees. ls there anything in the world you hate as much as those Yankees?”

Wally suddenly breaks out in his more familiar, happy-go-lucky smile.

“And you wouldn’t say no to sweet little ol’ me, would ya?”

You look at Wally, then into your beer, then back at Wally. Was this your second or third beer? Fourth? And it’s only the second inning? Your mind is fuzzy from the brew and the summer heat and talk of the Sox winning it all.

And you do hate those Yankees …

“Deal,” you say.

And with that, you go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, grab another beer and watch the Sox lose 9-6.

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