It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Sometimes it’s good to get back to your roots. It’s not so much that it’s good to reconnect old names with old faces, or stroll down memory lane, or wallow in the cheap high of nostalgia; it’s just that sometimes it’s good to get down in the mire in which you were conceived so you can see exactly how far you’ve risen above it. Looking down from the treetops, where one spends days swinging from branch to branch, is no match for actually descending from the safety of the canopy and wiggling one’s toes in the primordial ooze.
This wiggling of toes in ooze is what Jose is doing today. On this good day, as Virgo arises from the still warm embers of Leo, Jose has returned to the bosom of the Sons of Sam Horn (SoSH) Game Thread where he was born and grew and came of age.
A few of you who read KEYS on blogspot, perhaps even more, do not know about SoSH Game Threads. Bless you. It is like being blissfully unaware of war or robbery or pain. But blissful though ignorance may be, it is transient, jerking roughly into the sharp steel of knowledge. And this KEY shall be that blade.
Each game day on the SoSH board, an internet misfit starts an electronic thread dedicated to chronicling, in real time, the events of the day’s game. Since this tradition began, thousands of posts, millions of words, have been devoted to the travails of our Red Sox, and 90 percent of them are things like “score” or “f*cking Tito.”
As in so many otherwise meaningless pursuits, complex codes of conduct have emerged to imbue significance to what is fundamentally a squandering of God’s gift of life.
- A game thread may not be started until midnight of game day in Eastern Time.
- A new game thread may not be started until the old game is complete.
- The same poster begins a thread for each game until the Red Sox lose.
- No matter what he does, a poster named “SexyBanana” is not allowed to start game thread—ever.
- All of these rules are periodically invalid when anarchy seems like a good idea.
- If Curt Euro wants to get drunk and start game threads where he talks about the size of his teammates’ testicles, that is fine.
Once the rules are observed a game thread follows a basic format until the game begins.
A. The thread starter posts about how there will be a big winning streak because he is starting the thread.
B. SoSHers desperately search for and post stupid pictures that some how connect to the thread starter’s handle.
C. Borderline pornography gets posted.
D. Pictures that mock the opposing team (note: dead oriole, dead blue jay, dead… athletic) are posted.
E. More borderline pornography.
F. Jose posts KEYS.
G. Still more borderline pornography.
H. Inside joke from SoSH’s elusive Pinsetting and Gutterballs forum.
I. MoVaughn’sTruck posts Red Sox game notes.
J. Lineups are posted.
K. Lineups are complained about.
L. More borderline pornography
M. First pitch.
After the game begins, the thread varies a bit more, as one would expect, depending on whether the Sox are winning or losing, but much of the basic storyline is consistent. So let’s assume it’s a home game and walk through the sequence.
A. Sox take the field
B. Complaint that the Sox pitcher looks bad.
C. Retort that Sox pitcher looks good.
D. Much cursing
E. Demand that the offense start hitting
F. Complaint about whoever is hitting second.
G. Come on Papi
H. Yankees update.
I. 15 posts about how worthless DJ Dru is.
J. Server crashes
K. Server comes back in the fourth inning.
This continues more or less for six or seven innings until the game nears its conclusion. If the Sox are getting killed, the number of posts per minute declines precipitously. If not, the server continues to crash periodically. Let’s pick up the sequence in the late innings.
A. Complaint about the starter being left in to long.
B. Complaint about starter being taken out to soon.
C. Gnashing of teeth about who is warming up.
D. Question of why Papelbon isn’t being brought in in this “high leverage 7th inning situation”
E. Cursing at Mike Timlin.
F. Apology and explanation of how poster has always loved Mike Timlin.
Eventually, for better or for worse, the game ends, but with decidedly different paths depending on whether it was a win or a loss. For a loss the sequence is:
A. We can still come back, only two outs.
B. Come on, come on.
C. F*ck you whoever made the last out.
D. Complaint about how this is a terrible loss
E. Yankees update.
F. Calls for players to be traded/manager fired.
G. Complaint that the sky is falling.
H. Riposte that everything is fine.
I. More complaining until midnight
J. At midnight a new poster start’s the next day’s thread.
Of course, if they win the path is quite different.
B. Pictures of polluted bodies of water are posted.
C. Poster kevlog posts pictures of fireworks.
D. More pictures of untreated sewage pop up.
E. Yankees update
F. Insistence that this was a huge win.
H. Predictions that this will start a long winning streak.
J. Someone talks about how drunk they are.
L. The poster who started the day’s game thread starts the next day’s after midnight, usually congratulating themselves for the victory.
2. The reason Jose has gone through the tedious exercise of explaining this is that today, for the first time since 2004, Jose is starting a game thread. These game threads are where KEYS began, where Jose found his voice. He original started KEYS in May 2004 in the SoSH game threads after his first SoSH bash at Copperfield's and then Fenway. Back then, Jose was just trying to find a way to distinguish himself as a poster without the burden of having to become insightful. Thus he started a quippy little daily posting in three parts. It was crap, but you’d know that if you’d bought the 2004 KEYS Book. (Note: Happy ending guaranteed.) It was only a couple hundred words back then, and it was in the first person. Jose must have been crazy. Who talks in the first person?
But within a few weeks, Jose had switched to his popular third person, after noticing how everything Ricky Henderson said was funny because it was in the third person, and those 200 word postings began to swell to 600, 800 1,200 words.
Eventually, Jose built http://keystothegame.blogspot.com to house his KEYS, to give him a year round home, but he never stopped posting in the game threads. Sure he started posting only two KEYS in the threads as part of his ruthless campaign of self-promotion. (Note: That reminds Jose, he is pretty sure that if someone buys a KEYS thong each day Jose is starting a game thread, it will keep the Sox winning. It’s in the Bhagavad Gita.) But today, Jose has returned to his roots, posting not one, not two, but all three KEYS in the SoSH game thread, as he tries to defy Thomas Wolfe’s painful cliché that you can’t go home again.
3. But enough of the narcissistic introspection. That’s not what KEYS is about. KEYS is about cold hard analysis of the games themselves, about providing insights that you will not get anywhere else. Thus Jose offers the following reasons why the Red Sox will win tonight:
- Passed balls by A.J. Pierzynski. The game is at what former Bruins goalie Reggie Lemelin would call “U.S. Cellaller: Field, and we all know that U.S. Cellular has terrible reception.
- The White Sox have a guy named Danks starting, which almost certainly means, which almost certainly means the first pitchers out of the pen will be Dark and Dreary, and those guys aren’t even on the Major League roster right now.
- St. Josh a Beckett is pitching tonight and the White Sox do not have a single player named Fitzurse, de Moreville, de Tracy, or le Breton. (Note: Look it up. You know you want to.)
- The White Sox have a guy named Boone on the roster. He is useless, because, as any Lost fan knows, Boone died in 2004. Also he had sex with his step sister.
See that’s the kind of penetrating insight you only get at KEYS. The factors are all stacked up in favor of the Red Sox. Sure, Danks is a rookie lefty, which makes him Sandy Koufax against this Red Sox line up, but what would you rather rely on for your game predictions, solid historical evidence, or about players’ names? If you’re reading KEYS, you know that how one’s name relates to a saint who’s been dead for 800 years is far more relevant that one’s ERA+, ERA- or ERA*. ERA/ may be more important, but only barely.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.