Big League Stew - MLB

Making the playoffs has become old hat for the Boston Red Sox, who have qualified five times in the past six seasons for the World Series tournament. Winning is great, and having a chance to win the Series again is even sweeter for Boston, but it also misses its friend the New York Yankees, who missed the playoffs.

Despite a budding rivalry with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox need to fill the emotional void left by New York's absence. Therefore, here are the top 10 reasons the Red Sox are psyching themselves up for the ALCS despite not facing the Yankees.

10. Jason Varitek has an M.I.T. janitor friend who's certain he can crack Joe Maddon's 9=8 equation if given "just a little more time"

9. Boston has already advanced beyond depressing "ALDS," which seems more like the name of a disease than a playoff series

8. This close to working up the guts to ask that hottie Longoria out for a drink

7. The bugs on Florida's Gulf Coast almost as big as rats in NYC subway

6. Tampa's NY Times Square Pizza offers slice of 42nd Street without those pesky dopes selling tour tickets for a bus disguised as a giant duck

5. Any team with a guy on it named "Rocco Baldelli" must be a 'little bit' from New York

4. Line for Statue of Mike Alstott only half as long as that for Statue of Liberty

3. Having subdued The Evil Empire for now, Red Sox Nation can apply its resources to wiping out the Axis of Bad Haircuts

2. Curious to see if Rays continue to pull hair "like little girls" in playoffs (whereas Yanks only had A-Rod, who just hit like one.)

1. Similar to Millar in '07 ALCS, Pedro is coming back to Fenway to throw out the first Zimmer

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