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These Red Sox Don’t Split Hairs

Times Staff Writers

Still, the hair. Always, the hair.

The Red Sox’s us-against-the-world, us-against-the-Curse thing ultimately plays out on the field, where they hit with abandon and generally pitch because the rules say they must.

But it has its, uh, roots in their decision to drive past the barbershop every afternoon on their way to the ballpark, their unrestrained locks representing the group’s commitment to bring a World Series championship back to Boston.

Or maybe they just don’t have time.

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Johnny Damon called them all idiots, affectionately, early in their series against the Angels. As he said, the image, “kind of took off.”

Banners at Fenway Park proclaim, “I’m an idiot too!” and T-shirts on Yawkey Way read, “Boston Idiots.”

“Now overcoming that deficit from the [New York] Yankees, us not being very smart, us just playing baseball, I mean, that’s the bottom line,” Damon said Sunday. “I mean, we try to eliminate the thinking, and we’ve tried to let our natural abilities take over.... We don’t think. If we use our brains, we’re only hurting the team.”

He laughed, as he’s prone to do, so he has become among the likable figures in the postseason.

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When he had done so poorly in the early games of the American League championship series, when he had struck out too much and failed to sacrifice-bunt and did not get on base to set up run producers Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, Damon accepted the consequences with perspective and humor.

Damon arrived three seasons ago, in the dour Nomar Garciaparra-Dan Duquette, 25-men, 25-cabs era. Things have changed.

“My first day being in the Red Sox clubhouse, it was weird,” said Damon, who arrived from the decidedly looser Oakland Athletics’ environs.

“You know, no one was playing cards, no one was playing video games. No one was really talking to each other. Everyone was on their own.”

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The personalities rolled in, Damon, Kevin Millar and Gabe Kapler among them, Damon said, “And it’s getting better and better.”

Great for Red Sox baseball. Not so great for the hair salon industry.

“You know, if this was Cub Scout Troop 14, I’d ask them to cut their hair,” said Manager Terry Francona, who has very little hair. “It’s not. We’re trying to play the best baseball we can, and I think these guys really have come together as a ballclub, and if it’s the hair thing or whatever, that’s not important; it’s the fact that they came together is what’s important.”

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Just what Tony Womack needed. The Cardinal second baseman has played this postseason with painful back spasms, and after getting whacked in the left collarbone with a bad-hop grounder in the seventh inning of Game 1, he woke up Sunday feeling “like I had been hit by a truck twice over. I was really stiff.”

But there was Womack in the starting lineup for Game 2, playing second base and batting seventh.

“I’ve got all of next week to rest,” Womack said. “After it’s all said and done, I’ve got all winter to heal. There’s not many chances you get to play in the World Series, so I’m not going to let this slow me down.”

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One day after Ortiz pounded the Cardinals as he has pounded every team this postseason, Manager Tony La Russa remained steadfast in his refusal to intentionally walk him.

“We don’t like telling our pitchers they are not good enough to get somebody out,” he said. “So we are not telling any of our pitchers they are not good enough to get Ortiz or any of these Red Sox hitters.”

That sounds good, but in Game 1, both times Ortiz walked, he did not score, nor did that walk lead to any runs. When the Cardinals pitched to him, he was two for three with a home run and four runs batted in.

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Buyers for World Series tickets seem to outnumber sellers by about a 100-1 margin outside Fenway Park, with some offering more than $1,000 to purchase a single ticket.

Those desperate to see their beloved Red Sox play the Cardinals will stop at nothing, as evidenced by a fan outside Fenway Park holding up a sign that read: “Will Donate Semi-Healthy Liver for Tickets.”

Times staff writer Bill Plaschke contributed to this report.

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