1. As Jose writes this, he is going to assume that the Red Sox are going to win Game 1 of today’s day-night doubleheader. Why not? Starting game threads comes pregnant with responsibility, namely the responsibility of starting game threads, and it is not as though Jose can sit around in the middle of the day writing KEYS. Unlike, Cesar Crespo, he has a job.
Thus, he is going to simply assume that someone bought the KEYS thong requisite for a victory and that the matchup of St. Josh a Beckett and Judy Garland is enough to ensure the victory.
But what to write? Jose usually depends on the events of the game the night before to drive the KEYS and with Jose writing this before the first game, that is simply not an option. So instead, Jose thought he would offer a bit of a tutorial on how he comes up with KEYS, sort of a behind the scenes “The Making of KEYS TO THE GAME” piece. Ideally, Jose would do this by watching himself write KEYS and writing about writing KEYS as he writes KEYS, but there is a problem with that, as Jose is only one man. On the upside, that still makes Jose one man more than Roger Clemens.
The process of writing KEYS typically begins the night before a game, as Jose observes the evening’s contest. Much like a reporter, Jose jots down notes for the piece to be published the next day as he watches. However, Jose does not do it exactly like a reporter. For instance, Jose watches without under contempt for the people in the stands. Jose uses a complicated note taking system which involves writing observations on the backs of receipts, business cards or parts of his anatomy whenever he notices something that could be good for the next day. Alternatively, when a writing implement is unavailable, Jose uses a backup system of turning to whoever he is with and saying “remember this.” Jose knows it doesn’t sound too professional but it is exactly the same system used by Carl Bernstein. One of the great untold secrets of Watergate was that Bernstein had “Deep Throat is Mark Felt” written on his arm, only he accidentally used indelible ink, so the great secret was printed on his bicep for 30 years.
Jose, of course, learned from that experience and did not use indelible ink. While this sounds like a good idea, it is somewhat problematic, as Jose typically takes a shower post game and washes off all of the good ideas he has had over the course of the evening. On the upside, it also washes off ideas like nicknaming DJ Dru, DJ Pew. And thank God for that. The other problem is Jose occasionally hands out business cards without always checking what’s on the back, leaving him in constant fear of inadvertently handing an important colleague a card with something like “Bowel cancer: Good analogy for A-Rod?” on the back. On the upside no one would ever figure out what it said as Jose’s penmanship is so poor as to make his normal handwriting a far more difficult code to break than anything produced by the enigma machine.
Thus, freshly showered and shaved, Jose moves into the second part of the routine, combing through evening game stories for new ideas. After reading the stories, Jose goes to bed meditating on the content as he moves through immigration to Queen Mab’s realm.
When Jose is lucky, he has lucid baseball dreams, providing content for the morning’s work. When he is not, he has lucid dreams about needing to complete his senior year of high school or losing his teeth.
When Jose awakens in the morning, he lays in bed for ten minutes or so processing the previous evening’s game, and then it’s time to hit the papers. This is where the serious work is done. Most of Jose’s content emerges during this time as he goes through a simple routine.
- Look through the opponent’s roster and see if anyone has a name who can be made fun of.
- Read the quotes in all Red Sox articles to see if there’s anything that can be taken out of context.
- See if there is any actual news that requires comment.
By the time Jose has gone through this process he usually has one or perhaps even two KEYS in concept. Thus, Jose sits down and pounds out the first two KEYS of the morning as he downs his first three or four cups of coffee.
Then comes the rub. Jose sits there straining desperately to come up with a third KEY, wondering why on Earth he didn’t decide to make KEYS a two part exercise back in May of 2004, and knowing that he has about ten minutes until he has to get ready for work. Feeling as stressed as Calvin Schiraldi in October, Jose works through the following failsafe cycle:
- Can he compare yesterday’s game to Survivor Series 1992?
- Does Mike Lowell have anything in common with The Mighty Thor or possibly the Micronauts?
- What mean can Jose say about DJ Dru?
- What about feminine hygiene? Anything? What about comparing Manny Ramirez to one of those belts women used to hold hygienic pads in place back in the old days “sort of silly, but important?”
- F*** A-Rod.
By then Jose usually has three hastily constructed KEYS and nothing left to do except add in the typos you all love so much. And if he’s not done by then, screw you guys. Jose’s not getting paid, he doesn’t owe you anything
2. Jose has been reconsidering his support of capitalism lately. Maybe it’s not so great after all. Jose has always been pro-capitalist, though not a laissez faire fellow. Communism always seemed sort of stupid and childish to him, but maybe he had it backward.
What has prompted this reconsideration is the fact that Jose learned this week that MonDonald’s has gone out of business. MonDonald’s is a Mongolian knock off of McDonald’s that Jose has written about before and long aspired to visit. But no more. Shielded by the nurturing Stalinism of the world’s second communist state, MonDonald’s was able to grow and thrive, but in the brave new capitalist Mongolia, there is simply no room for a humble business that aggressively poaches on intellectual property. For shame.
Imagine of the Cincinnati Reds were to suddenly shut down the Red Sox on the grounds that the name was nothing more than theft of the Cincinnati Red Stockings brand first used in 1871. Would you feel good about? Would you be happy that the almighty trademark had come above honor and tradition?
Neither would Jose. It’s why he refuses to call the WWF the WWE and why he weeps for Mongolia.
3. The Red Sox signed utility infielder Royce Clayton to a minor league contract. Jose is happy about this on several levels. First, Clayton provides good insurance for the utility spot. Second, it gives the organization two names Jose can make Clay-midia jokes about for the first time since Cla Meredith was dealt to San Diego in the ill fitted Mirabelli deal. Jose likes having that kind of organizational depth. Finally, Jose really likes his versatility. Jose can quip about how we have a guy who is a badass Brazilian dude who always wins UFC or compare him to a luxury car. That’s exactly what you want out of a utility man.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.