The Weekly Pulse: Mr. Coogan's Groove Tube Update

Look at this”¦

** If you’re not a Yankee fan and haven’t seen the covers for the tabloid papers in New York City (the NY Post and the NY Daily News) from Thursday, then you should. I’ve looked at them 14 times already and I laugh every time.

** Screw Bush! Screw Kerry! I think Daffy Duck would be a better candidate!

** On the next Taboo Tuesday”¦

Tucker Carlson vs. Jon Stewart

What kind of match? Steel cage? First guy to have his suit ripped off loses? First guy who makes a valid political argument wins? I’d suggest a ladder match, but they both strike me as being afraid of heights”¦

**YAWN!!! How noble of David Letterman to actually do a show besides his own. But why does it have to be Regis and Kelly? Sigh”¦

THE OPENING CREDITS: I check over the IPTV staff’s homework”¦

** Please read my column and comment at the bottom. Thank you.

** I hope I don’t offend anybody, but I must say that Sarah from “Road Rules” writes as sexy as she looks in the InsidePulse.com file photo. If you haven’t seen this yet, you should do so immediately. (Hey Sarah — if you never need any writing tips, let me know! Hey now!)

** Nick Warnock delivers another solid, reliable analysis of the second season of “The Apprentice.” I don’t like Ivana either. And I’m pretty sure Mr. Trump won’t hire a midg”¦I mean little person”¦(Stacy) to run one of his companies.

** Helen has a lot to day about last week’s “Survivor.” Frankly, I don’t blame her.

** I need a name like Jake. Then again, I like my last name. Either way, this “Survivor” superstar has his own opinions as well.

** John Duran has quite the gig! Not only does he recap “Desperate Housewives,” but he also summarizes the latest episodes of “Lost” too. Good man”¦

** If you haven’t checked out Bob Reiss’s Confessions”¦ column yet, then you should. This fellow always gets me to think about issues in the television industry and in a way that I hadn’t thought about it before.

As for his question, “Is reality TV dying?” The answer is: “Hell no!” Consistently high ratings for shows like “Survivor” and “American Idol” have proved there is an audience for it whether we care to admit it or not. Also, these types of programs are considerably cheaper to produce than scripted shows and that isn’t going to change significantly any time soon. Besides, reality TV has been hot for more than five years now. In TV land, that might as well be 75 years. The number of shows may shrink eventually, but the format is here to stay. People will always want to participate and people will always want to watch.

** The Sarah Quigley quote of the week (in reference to Elizabeth on “The Apprentice):

Ugh. Elizabeth. I know her kind. She is the person in the all-company meeting who pesters the insurance representative with nit-picky, irrelevant questions fifteen minutes after the group was supposed to have dispersed. She is the college student hounding the professor on some moot point, completely oblivious to the rolling eyes of her classmates. Lord knows the world needs Elizabeths to work as fact checkers and diamond appraisers. Somebody has to give a rat’s ass about the fine print. I just think she’s out of her element as a businesswoman.

TV NEWS

An American icon in trouble

Who’s the American icon? It’s Miss America! She doesn’t have a network to air her many talents, beautiful skin, or blindingly white smile!

ABC, the network home of the Miss America Pageant since 1997, has decided to stop airing the competition after a mere 9.8 million viewers tuned in to the 2004 edition on Sept. 18. Those numbers are a record low and have steadily declined over the last three years.

Organizers for the pageant acknowledge the problem of not having a broadcast partner to work with, especially when ABC paid $5 million for the rights to air the event. According to Zap2it.com, Arthur McMaster, acting president and CEO of the Miss America Organization admits to being “worried” about finding a new broadcast partner, but he’s optimistic too. He states “There’s already been companies that have contacted us and expressed an interest.”

I’m sure that Miss America will be fine and will find another broadcast partner like CBS or maybe even Fox if they get desperate. Hell, the boys at Rupert Murdoc’s network could turn it into a reality series with quite the dramatic conclusion.

But how did this happen? Everyone used to look forward to the Miss America Pageant and now it’s barely an afterthought in the television world. In thinking about it, I believe it comes down to not only the advent of reality television, but also the meteoric rise of assorted award shows that often take all the fun out of announcing the winner of various top prizes.

After all, reality television wouldn’t exist without the trumped up drama and the big payoff in the form of a flame being extinguished, someone getting “fired” or “evicted,” or that big, fat, obnoxious actor letting in a cute, blonde school teacher in on the gag of the year. That combined with all these grand award shows, especially in the music industry, that do little more than to get a group of celebrities together to look nice and offer a sound bite or two while accepting an award they pretend to care about really takes the wind out the sails of a formerly huge event like the Miss America Pageant.

Since the pageant is more than 50 years old, it could be argued that this was one of the original reality television shows. The results weren’t scripted; people rooted for the young woman they liked the best (usually from their home state); and the winner was just as much a mystery as it was last night before the Red Sox/Yankees game started.

Now there are loads of shows like that and new episodes every week of these shows that bring these type of competitions to a viewing audience that appear largely hungry for it. So, when Miss America comes on, it’s almost inconsequential. The viewing audience would rather watch many of these other shows unfold every week with people they are getting to know to some degree instead of watching a group of women that they have no connection to despite their stunning beauty.

That’s why the new network needs to develop a reality series around it. People can get to know the contestants and the process and make the pageant the culminating event of a yearly series that will never go off the air. Sounds like gold to me”¦it’s just the most creative idea in the world”¦sigh”¦

A casting COUP!

It’s not every day when an accomplished, multi Oscar nominated actress joins a cable drama that less than five million people watch every week. That’s why it’s pretty big news to hear that the five-time Oscar nominated actress, Glenn Close is joining FX’s “The Shield” for the show’s entire fourth season run which is set to begin in March.

According to Zap2it.com, Close will play Capt. Monica Rawling, who takes over the Farmington precinct after David Aceveda (Benito Martinez) is elected to the City Council and Detective Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) is passed over for the job. The character has some controversial ideas about policing and puts Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) in charge of carrying them out.

Close is a woman who not only chooses her movie projects well (five Oscar nominations) but the television projects as well (NINE Emmy nominations with a win in 1995 for her performance in the NBC movie “Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story”).

Even more interestingly is that with all she’s done, this role on the acclaimed FX drama will be her first regular role in a series. She has done guest appearances in several shows including “The West Wing,” “Will & Grace,” and “The Simpsons.”

While Close may not single handedly raise the ratings of “The Shield,” she does bring a sense of legitimacy to the show that doesn’t really exist on any of its cable counterparts and definitely not on any network drama. Despite it being a cop show like a dozen other network shows, it’s well written and forces the actors to give the performances of their lives. “The Shield’s” network sister show “Nip/Tuck” also does a remarkable of writing characters that require actors to challenge themselves to fit in. See the second season performances of Famke Janssen, Rebecca Gayheart and even Joan Rivers and Alec Baldwin for proof of that.

If these shows continue to write these kind of roles, they’ll continue to get A-list talent and the casting of Glenn Close on “The Shield” proves that.

“Everybody Loves Raymond” except the guy who plays Robert

In a welcome sign proving that the television industry isn’t morphing into a collection of reality shows, cop dramas, and comedy spin-offs, Brad Garrett, one of stars of CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” is in talks with HBO to develop a new comedy for the pay network. However, as of the time that this was reported, Garrett didn’t reveal any sort of the details of the show in apparent fear that “in four months you could see it on ‘Animal Planet’ as a puppet show.” Good one.

Since the show is in such preliminary discussion stages, it is unsure whether or not the long rumored development of an “Everybody Loves Raymond” spin-off based on Garrett’s Robert Barone, an NYPD officer and older brother to Ray Romano’s title character would actually happen.

Hopefully, HBO and Garrett will form a beautiful relationship together. We don’t need another spin-off to a successful comedy. The “spin-off” trend isn’t that prevalent in television but with the demise of “Frasier” (“Cheers”) and the rise of “Joey” (“Friends”), the word is certainly on the tip of the tongues of those who analyze the industry. I think that’s plenty of talk about the concept.

After all, I look at the Robert Barone character and wonder where else they could go with him that wouldn’t sound ridiculous. He’s lived with or near his parents’ Long Island home for his entire life and there’s a possibility he would up and leave to go to another geographical area and start a new life? It makes sense for Joey to leave New York City to go to Los Angeles since he’s an actor. But where is Robert going to go? He has to move far away from his family or it will appear silly if the rest of the Barone clan doesn’t guest star every week. The whole thing just seems forced and unnecessary.

Then again, Garrett could sign this deal with HBO and the whole issue and my angry analysis could end up meaning nothing. That’s probably the ideal situation.

** Is Mark Burnett losing his touch?

Wasn’t it just earlier this year when Mark Burnett was on top of the TV world? He was the executive producer of “Survivor: All Stars” which was reeling viewers as if it were on the Professional Bass Maste’s tour; he was responsible for bringing “The Apprentice” to the air and its first season glory; Even “The Restaurant” was a hit for a period of time.

However, the second season of “The Restaurant” fizzled quickly and dramatically; the summer series “The Casino” did poorly on Fox and the last of the episodes ordered ended up getting burned off in multiple weekly airings; the ratings for “The Apprentice” are down fairly substantially from a fabulous first year.

Now, there’s news that the famed produce’s first scripted show “Commando Nanny” will be ceasing production without airing a single episode on the WB, the network that ordered it. The show, loosely based on Mark Burnett’s first year in Los Angeles taking nanny jobs after spending several years in the British Army’s elite Parachute Regiment, was set to debut in this fall as part of the Frog’s Friday sitcom lineup.

Admittedly, the show has seemed doomed for months. First, there were two major casting changes. The Burnett character had to be recast after Philip Winchester broke his foot and was replaced by Owain Yeoman. In addition, the matriarch character that hires the nanny in the show also had to be replaced. Kristin Bauer played the part originally and was replaced by Kristin Dattilo (“The Chris Isaak Show”)

Then the show’s most marketable star Gerald McRaney (“Major Dad”) had to leave production in August when a cancerous growth was discovered in his lungs. He is now in recovery.

Finally, the sitcom’s showrunner, Rachel Sweet, left altogether. From there, it was hard for those associated with the production to recover and The WB and producer Warner Bros. TV were forced to shut things down.

While these unfortunate circumstances aren’t necessarily directly related to Mark Burnett or his talents as a producer, it can’t be ignored that his status in Hollywood may have taken a bit of a hit over the last several months thanks to unsuccessful shows and franchises with sinking ratings.

Wow”¦Kevin Smith made my life flash before my eyes”¦

For me, it probably started in the 6th grade. For some strange reason the 75-100 kids or so in my class were brought together in the large classroom on our floor and we watched a show that was part drama, part disastrous after school special that took place in the Toronto area. That show: “Degrassi Junior High.” To this day, I’m not sure why I was pulled in, but they had me after watching those first few episodes in my classroom.

Then I discovered the show was on PBS on Sunday mornings and as I got older, I kept watching episodes every Sunday. Eventually, the kids grew up and graduated onto “Degrassi High” and I became even more intrigued because they were tackling more adult storylines on the show with different characters.

I don’t know exactly what happened to the show. I’m not sure what happened first, me forgetting about the show or the show being canceled. Either way, I stopped watching. Later, I found out about a “Degrassi” spin-off titled “School’s Out” but I completely missed that one.

Then I noticed probably within the last 12 months or so that the cable network “The N” or “Noggin” actually aired a new show called “Degrassi: The Next Generation” which follows a new group of high school kids going through many of the same problems the kids in the ‘80s and ‘90s went through, but with some obvious updating as well.

Much like “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” I wasn’t as interested in this show as I was the old one, but when I noticed characters from the old show like “Snake” (Archie), “Spike” (Christine), Joey Jeremiah, and Caitlin Ryan all grown up and still affiliated with the Degrassi “family,” I became intrigued again.

While I don’t watch religiously, I watch when I can (even if September baseball or a big college football game is on). I soon discovered that Snake and Spike ended up getting married and the baby that Spike had while during the early “Degrassi” days is now a teenager going to the same high school that Snake and Spike attended more than a decade earlier. Wow. And did you know Snake and Spike ended up getting married? Who would’ve thunk it? Then I found out that Joey and Caitlin were together as adults after being together in high school and breaking up several times since and I thought if they could last, then anyone could.

All fine memories about a classically cheesy show. Kevin Smith relates to this walk down memory lane because his memories are that show are just as fond as mine, if not more so. According to Zap2it.com’s research, Smith said in a 1996 article he wrote for Details that “Degrassi” got him through some tough times.

I used to work at this convenience store, and on Sunday mornings the only thing that kept me from gutting the customers in a sleepy rage was “Degrassi Junior High.” See, I had to put the papers together, and I did it while watching double episodes of “Degrassi” on PBS.

So, in an effort to pay tribute to the “Degrassi” legacy, Smith will appear with his partner in crime, Jason Mewes, as themselves on a three episode stint on “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” The episodes will appear early next year on Canada’s CTV and on The N in the United States.

How about that, huh? That definitely seems more like something Kevin Smith would do than any other famous Hollywood star. If I were famous, I’d probably do something like that too. OK”¦I’ll wake up now.

The rest of the news in 500 words or less”¦GO AHEAD! COUNT!

** YAWN! – Comedian/actor/author Steve Martin will work with producers Jon Murray (“The Real World”) and Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner (“The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne,” “That ’70s Show”) to bring a new reality series tentatively titled “The Scholar” to ABC, possibly as early as the Spring of ’05.

The show will take place on a college campus and pit 15 high school seniors against each other in a series of challenges with the winner getting a free college education at a top U.S. college.

This offering sounds like a bad combination of boring and potentially cruel to young people looking to make their dreams come true but the benefits do exist and since the network has found a sleeper hit in “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the network must believe something like this could work as well.

** 4400 * 13 = a happy USA network – Following huge ratings for its five-episode run this summer (an average of 6.2 million for the abbreviated season), “The 4400” will return to USA next year with an additional 13 episodes.

The series, which began with 4,400 people returning to Earth after being reported missing or believed dead and not having aged since their disappearance (after an apparent alien abduction) will begin filming its second season in February and begin airing those episodes in June.

** A REAL presidential poll – According to a poll on Nickelodeon’s Web site where over 400,000 children took part, 57 percent of the respondents said they want Sen. John Kerry as President over the incumbent, George W. Bush. Don’t snicker. The kids have predicted the last four elections correctly.

** An example of a statement that isn’t a surprise: ABC has picked up “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” for the full seasons.

Wow”¦this is a shocker. The former has averaged more than 20 million people in its first three viewings and the latter just under 18. In other shocking news, I plan on eating and getting dressed today (despite the fact I’m in a haze about the Red Sox comeback).

** An example of a statement that is a mild surprise: According to Television Week, NBC has picked up “Medical Investigation” for an additional nine episodes to run through the end of this season. Considering I forgot the show was still on, I found the pick up to be a surprise.

However, the article also notes that according to Nielsen Media Research, the show has averaged a 3.4 rating/11 share among adults 18 to 49 and 9.2 million viewers overall. More importantly, this improves the time period for the network by 21 percent in the demo and 18 percent in total viewers since last season. Not that surprising after all”¦

**An example of a statement that is a complete surprise: The Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series after being down 3-0 in a best of 7 series against the New York Yankees.

I probably won’t let this one die. I hope you’ll forgive me”¦

THE CLOSNG CREDITS: My Red Sox rant

I spent the first 18 ½ years of my life living in Newburyport, Ma., about 35 miles north of Boston. I became a Red Sox fan as a kid but I have to admit, compared to other fans who live in New England, I jumped on the bandwagon a little later than others.

It was 1986 and I was nine.

Roger Clemens was about 50 pounds lighter and he was my hero. He set a major league record for strikeouts in a game that April with 20. He was the last pitcher in the league to lose a game that year and won both the Cy Young Award and the MVP. He was my favorite player, but he was just one part of the successful team that was put together that year.

The Red Sox won more than 95 games and the American League East title that year in a dramatic seven game series against the California Angels. Even more amazingly, the Olde Towne team was down their final strike during Game 5 in California before not only winning that game in dramatic fashion, but the following two as well.

Then came the New York Metropolitans. They weren’t the true New York rival, but everyone hated them nonetheless and wanted to crush them and destroy the (then) 68 year “Curse of the Bambino.” It was an up and down series, but I was nine, so I couldn’t stay up to watch the games. My dad would leave post it notes on the kitchen table for me in the morning with the scores of the games. I honestly don’t remember where I was when the ball when through Bill Buckne’s legs. Chances are, I was getting the necessary eight hours of sleep a child needs at that age.

But by then, I was hooked. As I got a little older, I was almost embarrassed of being a Red Sox fan and took the money from my paper route and my first job at the local drug store and bought hats for other teams like the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, or even the Milwaukee Brewers. But, it always came back to the Red Sox. Let’s be honest”¦I had an extra spring in my step when they won and got pissed off when they lost.

After futile playoff efforts in 1988, 90, and 95, (that would be 11 straight losses in those series) 1999 came and the Yawkey Way Yahoos staged one of the greatest comebacks in playoff baseball history bashing their way from a two games to zero deficit to beat a mighty Cleveland Indians team that had some lesser known slugger named Manny Ramirez driving in runs for them. They made it to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) for the first time in nine years and I remember sitting in my Poughkeepsie, Ny. apartment screaming on the floor while my friend Justin (a neutral Orioles fan) just laughed at me. Sadly, the season would end a week later when the Red Sox bowed down meekly to our hated rivalry, the Yankees.

Looking back, 2003 doesn’t seem like last year, it feels like ten years ago now, especially when I saw Chris Berman recap games from last May on “Sportscenter” this week and saw many players in the highlights that aren’t on the team now that were on the team then. It was a great year though. Expectations were high and with the exception of another second place finish to the Yankees, they were all met.

After coming back from another 2-0 deficit to beat the A’s in five games in the first round of the playoffs, there stood the Yankees waiting for the Red Sox again in the ALCS. After 162 regular season games and seven games on this series (which featured the now famous Grady little debacle at the end of Game 7), it came down to one inning. The Red Sox didn’t score and Aaron “****ing” Boone hit the homerun of his life propelling the Yankees to one of the greatest moments in franchise history and the Red Sox to on of its worst. It was terrible. Thank God I had a friend in town to visit me that weekend or I wouldn’t have cracked a smile for at least a week.

I bring up the history of the lack of postseason success the Red Sox have experienced while I’ve been a fan because it relates perfectly to what was to come in 2004. As you can see, us fans of the team haven’t had a whole hell of a lot to cheer for since 1986.

It came. The 2004 season. The Red Sox got another big game starting pitcher in Curt Schilling and the closer they’ve needed since Big Lee Smith and Jeff Reardon held the position in Keith Foulke. This HAD to be the year, right?. They were so close in 2003, these moves were really going to make the difference, right?

It didn’t look that way all the way up until July 31 when franchise mainstay Nomar Garciaparra got traded for defensive whiz Orlando Cabrera and some first baseman from Minnesota. The sleeping giants woke up. They went from 10 games over .500 to 34 over by the end of the season, winning 98 games, more than any team in my 27 years on this planet. They pitched better and most importantly, fielded better. It got to the point where the Red Sox had 27 outs per game and the good teams they faced and committed errors against had 29″¦.That makes a difference.

They dispatched the renamed Anaheim Angels in three games thanks to a big homerun by David “Big Papi” Ortiz and everyone wanted the Yankees. Media members used their power to declare it and all the fans backed them up hungrier than any other time that I remember. This really was it.

Or not”¦

Game 1 — 10-7 Yankees (Schilling gets shelled and his ankle fell off.)

Game 2 — 3-1 Yankees (Pedro loses to the Yankees, AGAIN. I think he’s 6-200 in his career against them.)

Game 3 — 19-8 Yankees (I think”¦I ended up leaving to go see “Team America: World Police.”)

It was over, right? No team in baseball has ever come back from 0-3 to win a seven game series. I made plans for Sunday night that didn’t revolve around sitting in front of the TV to watch the next game because I was ashamed and embarrassed. I admit it. I went to see another movie (“Friday Night Lights”), went to Wendy’s for a burger, came back and watched two old episodes of “Rescue Me.” But I never got the ceremonial text message on my cell phone I signed up for alerting me of the Red Sox most certain demise. So, I caved and turned on the Fox network around 1:35 a.m. to see what happened. I tuned in just in time: bottom of the 12th inning. Manny Ramirez (playing for our team now) — single; David “Papi” Ortiz — Homerun. Game over. Red Sox win 6-4. Later, I found out the guys in the red and white unis had to score a ninth inning run against the best closer in postseason in history in Mariano Rivera just to TIE the game.

And the fans cheered them on in this game. God bless them.

Alright”¦I’m back in. No more trips to the movies until they actually lose again.

Game 5 — Another comeback, more extra innings (14 total), close to six hours after it started, it’s Papi gets the game winning hit scoring Johnny Damon, the lead off guy who had a .0000054 batting average for the series at the time I think. Red Sox win 5-4.

Game 6 — Back to “the house that Ruth built” for the Sox to try and stay in it. Curt Schilling’s ankle is so screwed up he might as well store it in he dugout next to Trot Nixon’s bats and helmet. Yet, he recovers from a miserable Game 1 start to throw the game of his life — Seven innings, one run allowed. The umps got two calls disputed calls right, A-ROD looked like a fairy on the base paths and the Sox outscored the Yankees again, 4-2. And that Foulke guy? Yeah”¦he pitched for the 4th straight day. His last fast ball was clocked at 58 MPH and I think he screamed like old school Monica Seles when he threw it.

Game 7 — It’s the whole F’ing show. Biggest collapse in the history of professional comeback? Biggest comeback in the history of professional sports? It could all happen in one night.

And it did.

Papi — HR; Johnny Damon (no longer batting .0000054) — Grand Slam!; Johnny Damon (officially the sexiest man alive by this point) — another HR; Mark Bellhorn (he who strikes out six out of every eight at-bats) — HR.

Meanwhile, Derek Lowe and his 5.4 regular season ERA took the mound for the Red Sox on a measly two days rest. Everyone was hoping for three innings of work. Everything else was gravy.

Looks like the turkey got soaked and now the tablecloth is a mess.

D-LOWE — Six innings, one hit, one run allowed, just 69 pitches to get 18 outs. It usually takes Pedro Martinez closer to 110 pitches to get that many.

Oh yeah, that Pedro guy. He pitched the 7th inning and allowed the crowd to get back into it. It’s just as well. It was fun to see them out of it again a half inning later anyway.

Between the homeruns, Lowe’s ungodly performance and Pedro’s batting practice pitching it ended up 9-3, top of the 9th inning.

Then the end of the game came. 10-3 Red Sox was the final after Alan Embree threw to Ruben Sierra who grounded out to Pokey Reese.

Greatest comeback in the history of professional sports — CHECK.

Greatest collapse in the history of professional sports — CHECK.

Curse of the Bambino? – Depends on who you ask. The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy (literally) wrote the book on the subject and he needs royalties on his book for as long as possible. He says the curse is lifted when they win the World Series and I tend to agree.

Then again, who cares? Red Sox fans aren’t the Yankees’ bratty little brother anymore. They didn’t make their big brother who always wins worry only to lose another game of ping pong 21-18 or a game of driveway basketball 11-9. This is OUR time. We are the ones that came out victorious and we are the ones that left the Yankees in a pile of rubble with the “chokers” tag around their necks. We’re smoking victory cigars, drinking cheap champagne, and we’re the ones ****ING the prom queen!

Since the amazing win, I watched “Sportscenter;” I watched “Baseball Tonight;” I even watched “Cold Pizza.” I can’t get enough of this stuff. I grumbled when ESPN insisted on talking about the NFL, this country’s most popular sport. I listened to ESPN radio. I tried to get the WWZN in Boston on the Internet. It worked for a little while anyway. I listened to Mike and the Mad Dog on New York City’s WFAN. I sent heated emails to several groups of friends. I read articles in The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. I also read articles in the New York Times and the more fun ones in the New York Daily News and New York Post.

All this analysis I couldn’t get enough coupled with me pouring out my feelings and thoughts in this column has led me to 3:00 a.m. Friday. I need to get up in 4 hours to review for my reporting class and actually get to campus. Who cares though? It’s not like I’ve slept well this week anyway. What’s another night? Maybe I’ll sleep on Friday.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said his overworked bullpen and pitching staff in general could have used a few days off to get ready for the next World Series. He might as well have been talking about the millions of Sox fans who had their stomac’s ripped out chewed on by a bear, pit bull, or crocodile (depending on where you live) and put back into their bodies in complete shreds. Everyone is either partying like it’s 1999 or walking around in a delightful daze as if they’re trying to figure out the square root of 1,999. They won on Wednesday, enjoyed it Thursday. Friday has to be our rest day, right?

Maybe. But for me it’s also a time for reflection. As I finish this column, I can’t help but watch my mind rush back to 1986 and being in the fourth grade again. Our teacher had us do our October bulletin board with a Red Sox theme to it. I think I wrote my name on construction paper shaped like a bat, not the ball like some other kids did.

That’s how long it’s been. The last time the Red Sox were in the World Series, I was writing my name on construction paper for a bulletin board. Since then, I’ve finished high school, college, worked for three years, and three years of graduate school. But it still comes back to these memories for me. Obviously, that’s because 1986 is the last year the Red Sox won the American League pennant. However, it goes further than that. If I was decorating a bulletin board in my fourth grade classroom, imagine what the people old enough to drink beer, vote, drive a car, or even cross the street by themselves were doing. Imagine the buzz of the team and the pride that all the team’s fans felt. It was obvious then and it it’s even more obvious now.

Not only are the Red Sox fans happy to beat the Yankees and shut up their obnoxious fans, but they are proud in a team that didn’t give up. I know the situation is different, but I can’t help but picture former college basketball coach Jim Valvano giving his inspirational speech at the ESPYs where he said “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

The team never did. Many fans did. I went to the friggin movies during Games 3 and 4. After all this disappointment, it’s our nature. We need to get on with their lives and the sooner we forget about a messy situation, the sooner that will happen. After 86 years, you can’t blame us.

That’s all down the drain”¦The 2004 Red Sox proved anything was possible. They proved you shouldn’t give up. They proved that even though Yankee Stadium and its aura and ruckus might be scary and resemble an active Mount St. Helens volcano, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dive in head first to challenge it.

They never stopped believing and now we, as fans, never have a reason to stop believing again. No matter how bad it is, we can always reference “the 2004 Red Sox” and it should give us that extra burst of energy, the kind of hope that inspired Andy Dufresne crawl through 500 yards of assorted human waste products in “The Shawshank Redemption.”

To the Boston Red Sox team and anyone associated the team that managed to stay glued to the TV, I’m sorry. I gave up too soon. It will never happen again.

In the mean time, the journey certainly isn’t over yet. The Red Sox must now beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series to make this the most magical year a Boston sports team has ever experienced. They need to do it so no one can ever scream “1918” at a Red Sox fan again without sounding like a complete fool. They need to do it because it’s their turn. As fans, it’s our turn. Teams from Toronto, Phoenix and Miami have had their chance, but the people in Boston continue to wait while their team, full of history, continues to fail”¦85 consecutive times.

But after this year and more specifically, the last five days, I no longer have to worry or wonder about this Red Sox team. Whatever words you want to use: hope, pride, resilience, belief. They’re all good reasons to be confident in the 2004 Red Sox to get the job done starting this weekend at Fenway Park despite the “curse” and “1918” talk that the media will bombard us with over the next 10 days.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s no sense in talking about any “curse” or any other similar nonsense. I didn’t talk about any curses in 1986 and I don’t want to talk about them now either.

GO SOX!

— Coogan