By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Reader e-mails that drifted into my Sports Guy e-mail box on Wednesday morning ...

name = Dave Cirilli
city = Boston, MA
comment = I will not be satisfied unless Petey comes out of the bullpen in the 8th inning tonight, mows down three straight batters, then takes his uniform off to reveal a "Who's your daddy now?" t-shirt. And yes, I believe this is very capable of happening.

name = Eric Hansen
city = Sacramento, CA
comment = I've been rooting for the Red Sox according to my time-tested "ABY theory" (anybody but Yankees), but, after watching A-Rod clothesline the ball out of Arroyo's hand last night, I'm off the fence. I want the Red Sox to win in the worst way.

I think there's something to this: the "old Yankees" would never have done what A-Rod did. They would have beat the Sox through an improbable hit (Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone) or some other heroic deed, not by blatant interference. Would DiMaggio have committed the flagrant foul that A-Rod did? Mantle? Never.

A-Rod's action tells me that we're nearing the end of the Curse and all that. Here's hoping he lets a ball through his legs allowing the Sox to score the winning run tonight.

name = Dave Jones
city = New York, NY
comment = I'm a Yankee fan, but hopefully you'll be able to get past that and answer my question anyway. It's fairly simple and I'd like to know your thoughts. First, I give Schilling credit. Gutsy pitching. That being said, I said from the first pitch of Game 6 that the Yankees should try to bunt and get Schilling to move around as much as possible. Finally, Joe Buck mentions it in passing for the first time during the 4th inning, and maybe again in the 6th. I haven't heard anything else about it. To me it's inexplicable. It can't be true that I thought of this and nobody on the Yankees did. Why don't you do everything you can to make a guy with a separated tendon and sutures in his ankle run around as much as possible??? I don't get it. Am I missing something?

name = Mike McCabe
city = Lowell, MA
comment = Two Questions: When did Gary Sheffield turn into Serrano from 'Major League'? The Sox have thrown him approximately 62 breaking balls and 3 fastballs since Game 3. Doesn't Schilling's performance last night almost force Pedro to come out of the pen tonight and get at least 1 or 2 huge outs? I can see him striking out A-Fraud at a big point in the game. He has too much pride to get totally outshone by Schilling. Doesn't he?

name = Dennis Fullerton
city = Chicago, IL
comment = How hard were you hoping for a pop up down the line after the cops lined the right and left field lines? I know Jeter was praying for one, like he had against Boston and went into the seats and bloodied his mug. He would have knocked over 3 cops, dove for the ball, made the catch, doubled someone off of second, helped the cops up, finished the inning off with one of the SWAT guys helmets on and then ripped off his Yankee jersey only to have an NYPD/FDNY T-shirt on.

name = Jack McDonald
city = Naperville, IL
comment = As a diehard Yankee fan, I'd like to pull a Whoever That Was In The 1991 World Series Before Game 7 Started and offer a handshake to you and yours for coming back so dramatically.

The problem is, I'm so numb and limp from the past three nights I can't lift my arms, hands, or head off my desk. If the Yankees lose I'm not writing you anymore, because I will throw myself first under a bus, and then a train. I'm a Cub fan too, so I know where to find the big buses that make it hurt more.

No matter your ALCS party affiliation, though, there's no denying that this is outstanding for baseball, and so I'm thankful for it no matter the outcome tonight. This is equal to the 1975 World Series, to me, and the single-most important game of my lifetime -- the curse of the Bambino could actually DIE tonight after 85 years.

A Yankee loss will be like God coming down to hold a press conference and answer all the great questions of humanity. The only thing that can trump this, for sheer mind-shattering, I Do Not Know How To Handle This magnitude, would be a Cubs World Series title. Tonight is one of the great nights in baseball history, and we get to see it.

This is awesome.

name = John T.
city = New York, NY (MA ex-pat)
comment = Reflections from Section 37 (bleachers) last night:

Yanks fans have gone from swagger to stagger! Complete loss of composure -- truly uncharted territory for everyone involved. Sox fans have always feared the unknown, now Yanks fans are having their eyes opened to doubt, dread and disbelief ...

I couldn't believe that the fans went so far off the deep end that they threw stuff on the field. These fans can't get excited enough to riot when they win.

I'm there again tonight with my brother (who flew in from Chicago). His Schilling jersey stays in the bag, because he doesn't want his body to be in one instead.

name = Joshua Reidy
city = Red Sox Nation, Maine
comment = This Yankees-Sox series has constantly reminded me of Rocky 2. Last seasons seven-game epic was much like the original Rocky (All we wanted to do was go the distance). This seasons series is much like Rocky 2, the two teams slugging it out, with Creed opening quickly and trying to lay the smack down. However, the sox keep answering the bell, Game 4, Game 5, and now Game 6 to take it to the final round. Think The Rock can beat the count??

name = Christopher Bachmann
city = Seattle, WA
comment = Not sure if anyone's brought this up, and I hesitate to mention it before the Sox and 'Stros actually get to the Series, but have you noticed that we will have a Massachusetts team and a Texas team in a world championship event possibly ending just two days before the Presidential election? Will the people take this as a sign to vote for Kerry if the Sox win or Bush if the Astros win? Or could the Series winner possibly cause a negative reaction vote in the electorate? I'm already emotional enough about the Red Sox and the election enough without having to think of them combining as one universe-shattering event. It's too much. I need you to weigh in on this.

name = Laurie McGuinness
city = Vancouver, B.C.
comment = A-Rod has no honor. Did you see him trying to sell to the umpires his ball slap -- and a girly slap it was -- as part of his running motion? He's every guy who ever ruined a great game by refusing to accept the fact that he came up short.

And on the other end of the scale, Schilling. The press conference where he listed off his teammates and their performances, left me with tears in my eyes. He's the teammate we all wanted, who'll go to the wall for you, and then make it seem like you did it all. He's a great man, exemplifying all that is great about sports. Team. Honor. Sticking together. Absolutely chilling.

name = Stu
city = Boston, MA
comment = 9:35 a.m. Wednesday morning 10/20 I am driving to work and I see on the sign over the Mass Pike -- Red Sox 4 Yankees 2 -- then it flashes to the word BELIEVE. I start thinking of how great of a feeling this is and how much I don't want this day to end and I almost start crying.

name = Jeff Meyer
city = Cincinnati, OH
comment = I like the "A-Fraud" t-shirt idea, but if the Red Sox win tonight what do you think of "The Anti-Ruth" as a permanent name for A-Rod? Seems like there's a lot of career scarring potential here ...

name = Mark J.
city = Colstrip MT
comment = Can we officially start calling Bronson Arroyo Bro-Yo?

name = Ryan Warner
city = Baltimore, MD
comment = If the Sox win game seven, what are the chances of Jeter and A-Rod, with a tear in their collective eye, passing along the ALCS trophy to Damon and Manny and whimpering, "You're alright Boston!!" as Fox gives us an uncomfortable close up of Francona in the distance with a goofy smile on his face?

name = Dan G.
city = Los Angeles, CA
comment = Is this what it feels like to have the bubonic plague? No sleep, can't think about solid food and the constant feeling that you could have a brownout at any moment?

name = Scott B.
city = Toronto, Ontario
comment = There are 750 great things happening in the Nation right now. One of the best, though, has got to be the "Red Sox Fan" face on the Yankee fans. They're the ones watching through their fingers now, wondering what horrible thing will happen next. I didn't even sweat the usually cringe-inducing "touched by God" post game comments by Schilling last night. He could have thanked his long term life partners Rex and Bronco and it wouldn't have bothered me.

name = Stephen Heidt
city = London, England
comment = Just so you know, EVERYONE is a Red Sox fan at this point in the year, except for those pathetically annoying Yankees fans. Bottom line, if your team is out (or resides in the NL), you're rooting for the Red Sox. I'm not staying up to 5:30 in the morning (London time) because my beloved Braves are one game away from the World Series. I'm staying up till 5:30 because I want good to triumph over evil. I want all those arrogant Yankees fans to eat crow. I want to hear all the whining about how the calls aren't going the Yanks way (after years of calls going their way). And I DEFINITELY want Steinbrenner to throw an absolute fit -- I mean, throw chairs, break windows, fire people, etc. Red Sox nation needs to understand this -- I'm not alone. There are MILLIONS of fans around the globe rooting for the Sox. I walk the streets of London and I see blue caps with the red B everywhere I go. This series is bigger than just New England. This IS the most exciting series in my life, if not all time.

name = Neal Clemens
city = Milwaukee, WI
comment = Am I the only person that knew the Sox were going to win Game 6 when they flashed to the Yankee dugout and A-Rod was checking out his manicure?

name = Mitchell Epner
city = New York, NY
comment = I think that you missed the true problem with A-Rod in the 8th inning. He seemed not to want to be in that moment. Arroyo was throwing meat over the plate. A-Rod took pitches that he should have been jumping on. He struck out looking, but the umpire did not ring him (probably because Varitek had set up eight inches inside and had to move to catch the ball). When he finally put a ball in play, he tops a roller and slaps at Arroyo. If A-Rod runs through Arroyo and Mientkiewicz, there are lots of good possibilities for the Yankees: 1) A-Rod, who outweighs Arroyo by 50 pounds, jars the ball loose and is not called for interference, 2) Mientkiewicz is called for interference and A-Rod gets on, 3) A-Rod decimates Arroyo and Foulke has to come on in the 8th.

Don't you think that A-Rod pulled a Vince Carter?

name = Dave Mooney
city = Brewster, NY
comment = So this is what it feels like to a Red Sox fan? Since the Yanks have begun blowing their 3-0 lead, each night sleeping has been far more difficult, my beer and cigarette intake has just about tripled and the are several pieces of furniture in my house that are unlikely to survive a Game 7 loss. Since you're such a loyal Sox fan, I was wondering if you had any tips for making it through the winter after a heartbreaking loss to lend a Yankee fan, since, after all, we're new to this. Thanks

name = Kevin H.
city = Metairie, LA
comment = "He's cut! The Russian is cut!"

name = Greg
city = Boston, MA
comment = Bill,

Is there a God?

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.