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With no Red Sox, the mind wanders

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether Keith Foulke's teammates were happy to learn he was at the Bruins opener while they were playing Game 2 against the White Sox in Chicago . . .

If the White Sox make it to the World Series, prepare for a bombardment of stories about the 1919 Black Sox. Chicago's American League franchise has made it to only one World Series since the fix of 1919, and the sports world is nothing like it was in 1959 when Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox took on the Dodgers. Eliot Asinof's excellent ''Eight Men Out" will have new shelf life and John Sayles's classic film of the same name will be hard to find in video stores.

Sunday was a nice day for Drew Bledsoe, Roger Clemens, and Vinny Testaverde -- three oversized old guys with strong right arms and plenty of doubters through the years.

Last week was a good one for Dorr's Liquors in Brighton. Fenway Park clubhouse czar Tommy McLaughlin made three trips for champagne celebrations in six days: for the Yankees, Red Sox, then White Sox.

Jurassic Carl Everett got off some beauties in a long interview with Lacy Banks of the Chicago Sun Times. Some bon mots: ''I'm not bashing gays as people. I'm against their lifestyle. I'm against the act of homosexuality because it is a sin. It is against God's will . . . People don't realize that the same God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality can also destroy our world today . . . Separation of church and state was the worst thing ever . . . God is trying to speak to man through the hurricanes and other disasters throughout the world."

Notre Dame played host to the Game of the Century in 1993 when Florida State came to South Bend. This weekend, it's the undefeated, all-world USC Trojans against the 4-1 Irish. ND would be 5-0 but for a home loss in overtime against Michigan State. This one has great Foxborough flavor with Pete Carroll vs. Charlie Weis. It's so big in South Bend they've moved the Friday night pep rally into the football stadium.

No exaggeration: Jason Varitek looked 30 pounds smaller at the end of this season.

Paranoia strikes deep in the offices at Gillette Stadium. Let's see now, the schedule-maker is out to get them, the national media is out to get them, Marty Schottenheimer is out to get them, and, of course, the Globe is out to get them. Fellows: These are your golden days. You are the best and everyone loves you. Put the marbles down and enjoy life at the top of the mountain.

If it's going to be John Daly slugging it out with Tiger Woods every week, sign me up to be Jim McCabe's wingman.

The St. Louis Cardinals look like a team on a mission. The sting of the 2004 World Series will stay with them until they beat the American League's best in 2005.

''Capote" could win an Oscar or two. And what does that have to do with sports? It was written by Theo Epstein's brother-in-law, Dan Futterman, and its star, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was hilarious playing pickup basketball (''Let it rain!") with Ben Stiller in ''Along Came Polly."

Great take at the Boston College Newton campus Thursday night when BC women's soccer plays host to North Carolina at 7 p.m. Admission is free and you'll see two of the top 10 teams in the country. The Tar Heels, who once had a player named Mia Hamm, had won 41 consecutive regular-season games before they were beaten by Duke Sunday.

Was there a better baseball moment than Clemens pinch-hitting and dropping down a bunt in the 15th inning of Sunday's marathon win against the Braves? Clemens's only other relief appearance (two scoreless innings) came in his rookie season with the Red Sox way back in 1984.

Why do I think New Year's Day, at Gillette, against the Dolphins, is going to be huge?

David Wells wants to be left alone when he goes out. Go to Harvard Square, Boomer. No one there will know who you are. And take Foulkie with you. Please.

That was Howie Long's son, Chris Long, making three tackles for Virginia at BC last Saturday. Wearing No. 91, Chris is a 6-foot-4-inch, 278-pound sophomore defensive end.

Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns 1985? Wonder what Bill Belichick will slip into the tape machine this Saturday? He could do worse than show them New England's 30-26 win at Denver two years ago. That was the Monday night when Belichick ordered Lonie Paxton to hike the ball off the goalpost for an intentional safety with 2:49 left. Just over two minutes later, Tom Brady connected with David Givens for an 18-yard touchdown pass and the win. I have picked the Patriots to win every game they have played since that night.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail is

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