Tom Caron, Jerry Remy, and Bob Tewksbury are seated around a table in a small conference room in NESN's studios tucked underneath the left-field grandstand at Fenway Park.
It's Wednesday night, and in St. Louis Game 4 of the World Series is being played. They're watching, taking notes, and preparing for the postgame show, hoping it will be a historic footnote to the Sox winning their first World Series since 1918.
The reflections of flashing blue lights on the walls attest to police preparations for postgame celebrations or rioting (pick your description) outside the park.
Both Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street had been blocked off, lending an air of being under siege for station employees.
A TV is at one end of the conference room. Notepads, scorecards, and Caron's laptop are on the table. During the game, the table will be crowded with takeout food and coffee.
Amid it all, Remy keeps score -- in ink -- on a scorecard. "I do use whiteout," he said.
There's no running commentary, nor is there any critiquing of Fox broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.
Instead, Remy and Tewksbury watch and toss out occasional observations.
It's much like watching at home with family.
With the Sox ahead, 1-0, and threatening to add more runs in the third, Remy noted, "This game could be 5-0 already."
A few moments later, Trot Nixon doubles on a 3-and-0 pitch to make it 3-0 against Cardinals starter Jason Marquis.
"I can't believe he [Cardinals manager Tony La Russa] doesn't have someone [warming] up," said Remy.
"You can see he's [Marquis] tired. Another inning and they'll really get to him," predicted Tewksbury.
By the sixth, with Marquis still pitching, Remy noted, "You have to give Marquis credit. It looked like he was out of it."
And Tewksbury and Remy concurred, "The Cardinals are hanging in. This game is closer than it should be."
As the crowds, and police presence, grow outside, fans cheer every play. Because the windows are open, the sounds easily drown out the audio on the TV.
"This sounds like the game is being played at Fenway," said Caron.
The game winds down and Fox's cameras pick out fans in the crowd, stopping on a fan in a Red Sox shirt, and Remy is startled.
"Hey, that's Howie Singer. He writes for my website. He's a big-time Sox fan who lives in New York. It seems weird to see him on TV at the game and for me not to be there. We do every game from spring training on through the season.
"The toughest part of doing this [postgame studio show] is getting yourself charged up at the end of the game to go on the air. That's when you'd normally be winding down after the game."
"Sports Desk" producer Jeff Schneider checks in to ask about video clips for the postgame show. "[Larry] Walker's bunt in the first inning, Nixon's hit on 3 and 0, and lot of Derek Lowe stuff," is Remy's reply. He holds up a nearly empty legal pad:
"This is the smallest bunch of notes I've had for any game since the end of the season."
"Derek's confident. You can see it in his body language," said Tewksbury.
"He's able to throw the curve now where earlier in the season they'd be sitting back on his fastball."
Executive producer Bill Borson tells the three he wants a silent shot of them on the set right after the game, with a graphic saying the postgame show will begin only after the Sox are awarded the World Championship trophy.
"It's the Sox' moment," he said. "I feel strongly that it's not appropriate for us to go on until that point."
When the moment does come, Remy said, "It's nice to be able to sit here and say the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox. That's something people haven't been able to say around here for a long, long time.
"I think a lot of people are still pinching themselves."
They still are.
Nice touch by WEEI yesterday, having Sox radio voices Jerry Trupiano and Joe Castiglione each do two-hour stints with midday host Dale Arnold, who was going solo with co-host Bob Neumeier off for Breeders' Cup duty with NBC . . . Remy was surprised that reliever Keith Foulke wasn't selected as the Series MVP . . . Another nice touch: The two-time Super Bowl champion Patriots' full-page ads in the Globe and Herald congratulating the Red Sox on their championship . . . NESN did a 4.9 rating for its postgame "Extra Innings" Wednesday night, and the expanded "Extra Innings Extra" that ran until 1:30 a.m. did a 3.1. Channel 25, following the network postgame coverage, did a 13.2 rating (34 share) for its late news/local reaction to the World Series win from 12:15-1:15 a.m. . . . The NASCAR community will pay tribute to the 10 people who lost their lives in a Hendricks Motorsports team plane crash last weekend before tomorrow's race in Atlanta (Channel 7, 12:30 p.m., green flag at 1 p.m.). Flying has been at least as dangerous as driving for Nextel Cup series teams. Drivers Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki perished in plane crashes and team owner Jack Roush was lucky to survive a 2002 plane crash.
Filling the seats
It's a reminder of how far the Patriots have come that no one has even uttered "TV blackout" for one of their games. But tomorrow's Bills-Cardinals game in Buffalo won't air in upstate New York because it didn't sell out the required 72 hours before kickoff. And the surprising Chargers needed an extension of that rule to 1 p.m. yesterday to sell the final 3,100 tickets for their game with the archrival Raiders and avoid a local blackout . . . Sox center fielder Johnny Damon is scheduled to be a guest on Monday's "Late Show with David Letterman" (Channel 4, 11:35 p.m.). There might be some references to curses and his long hair and beard in the Top 10 list, even though Damon isn't scheduled to deliver that as teammate Curt Schilling did Oct. 21 . . . ESPN has its bases covered, with sports-related interviews with President George W. Bush and Senator John F. Kerry set to air on Monday's election-eve "SportsCenter" at 11 p.m. Excerpts will run on the "Sunday Conversation" segment of tomorrow's "SportsCenter" following the "Sunday Night Football" 49ers-Bears game (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.) . . . Life after the Red Sox? NESN has BU-Maine hockey tomorrow at 1 p.m., and ESPN2 and WEEI radio have the Revolution-Columbus Crew playoff game at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Injured Revolution keeper Adin Brown will make his broadcast debut, doing analysis with play-by-play man Brad Feldman . . . Life without NHL hockey: NESN will have a Sox season rewind Monday at 6 p.m., present taped coverage of the recent BAA Half Marathon Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and air the Denis Leary
Bill Griffith's e-mail address is email@example.com.