This Broad Is
Bad News

8.21.02: Rooting for the Red Sox is the sports fan equivalent of dating an alcoholic stripper.

Sure, she's great to look at and built for sex, but, buddy, she's gonna hurt you. To be fair, however, an exotic dancer with a drinking problem is still probably more reliable than the chokers who don those gorgeous scarlet and white uniforms in the Fens. Brandi is about five times more likely to remember to pick you up at the bus station than any given Red Sox player is to deliver a clutch act - hit, catch or pitch - at an important moment in a meaningful game.

On paper, the Sox are a 38-24-36 knockout, and when you compare her lineup to others around the league, you can't believe your good fortune at being hooked up with such a babe. But then they sleepwalk through another one-run loss and you realize the Sox are just so much silicone and saline and - in one player's case - a bad dye job.

Still, you've put so much effort into this frickin' relationship and you want to be there on the outside chance that she straightens out and cleans up. After all, she does have a heart of gold and, when she's not drinking, her disposition is really quite sweet. And that body. Oh, man. That stomach, tan and flat. Those legs, tapering into those pumps, calves toned from all those hours on her feet. Good God, you're not made of stone. Only a fool would even consider kicking her to the curb.

And so it goes with the Sox. That fleet All-Star centerfielder. The Hall-of-Fame shortstop. The slugger who once drove in 165 runs in 147 games. The two dominant starting pitchers. Any fan could be forgiven his incontinence, his inability to say no, to simply walk away from this baseball succubus.

But this chick is bad news. Not only does she embarrass you at Trivial Pursuit with your family at Christmas, she goes into your wallet without asking, lies chronically and scratches your face and neck every time she has too much to drink, which is every time she drinks. Then when you go over to her place to reconcile, you'll see your best friend's motorcycle parked outside her apartment at 3 a.m.

Is there anyone who cares about the Red Sox who does not feel horribly betrayed by this heartless, gutless sham of a team? A team that night after night after night figures out through some cosmic calculus precisely what it takes to lose. Precisely what it takes to make you miserable. They almost seem to thrive on it. As if a casual approach to losing is a sign of professionalism.

Which leaves you with no choice: you have to dump the stripper. For your own self-preservation, you must separate from this unfeeling sociopath.  I'm not saying it's gonna be easy. I mean, Orpheus couldn't lead Eurydice out of the underworld without looking back, and she had small breasts and a flat ass.

But no matter how seductively beautiful this siren is - no matter how sexy the team ERA or team BA - she ain't worth it. The Red Sox do not deserve, nor - if their effort is any indication - do they particularly want your affection. You must walk away, or, at the very least, let them walk away from you.

Here's hoping the strike lasts until these tin men are too old and gray to tempt any other chumps with their $115 million looks. Cuz, it's all fake.  Hardball