It’s time for Jose Van Winkle’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
What time is it where is Jose?
What day is it? May 23rd? No?
Twenty-fourth then? No? Really?
August 12th? Are you serious? August? How can that be? The last thing Jose remembers is that he was taunting some gnomes, some place in upstate New York, it might have been Dustin Pedroia, and the next things he knows he’s here and now.
Oh woe! Oh terrible woe! The things Jose must have missed. At least he’ll still have a chance to vote for Hillary Clinton for President. He won’t? Oh wow.
He’ll just have to try to put up with watching Kobe and the Lakers try to repeat as champs. No? Not that either huh?
Well, at least there are the Red Sox to fall back on. How’s Jon Lester doing since that no hitter? Still walking the park? He isn’t? Wonders of the future Jose guesses.
Jose can hardly wait to see Papi and Manny slug back to back again. What do you mean that’s not going to happen? Is Papi hurt again? We traded Manny?
Dear God the things Jose’s missed, the loss, the horrible loss. The future is a sad and evil place. Woe! Woe! Woe! (Note: Woe!)
Wait. They didn’t trade him for Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron did they?
This is brutal. Jose needs to try to chill out. Maybe there’s a new Bernie Mac movie out that he can watch?
What about a new Isaac Hayes album?
Oh the things Jose has missed! Oh the time that has gone by? Is nothing still the same? Is there no constant in Jose’s world?
There is you say? Praise the Lord! What is it? What has remained the same?
Julio Yugo is still not contributing in any way?
Good to know that some things never change.
2. As Jose returns after nearly three months without seeing a baseball game, there is one question the burns in his mind: Why isn’t this team better?
Jose does not mean why aren’t specific players better, or why isn’t the team as a whole putting up better numbers. What he wants to know is why, after a cursory look at team statistics, the Red Sox don’t have a better record. If you had told Jose at the beginning of the year that the team ERA would be 3.79, that St. Josh a Beckett would have the worst ERA of the regular starters at 4.08, that Youks would have 20 home runs and DJ Dru 19, Jose would be sure the Red Sox would be in first place, or would at least have a comfortable lead in the wild card.
And yet here we are in August and the Sox are four games behind Tampax Bay and just a shade ahead of the Twins for the wild card.
How is this possible?
Jose has done a lot of thinking on the subject and he has come up with a theory: The Red Sox ERA team ERA is actually, 379.000, but the Red Sox, following the lead of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, have decided to cut off some zeros. For the few of you who may not have been following the economic crisis in the troubled African nation, inflation there has, for some time been in excess of one million percent. The result has been a nation of impoverished billionaires. The highest bill printed, technically a “Special Agro-Cheque” rather than actual money, is for 100 billion Zimbabwe dollars. However, at the beginning of August, Dr. Gideon Gono, Chair of the Reserve Bank decided to slash 10 zeros from the currency, issuing new one dollar notes equal to the old 10 billion dollar notes.
Jose is pretty sure the Red Sox must have done something comparable, slashing three zeros from the team ERA to come up with the officially reported number. Jose hopes they have taken one more innovation from the big brains at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The RBZ remonetized old coins that have for years now been worthless. In other words, one dollar coins, sitting in Zimbabwe’s sock drawers that had fallen in value to less than one-ten billionth of a U.S. dollar are now back to being worth about .10 U.S. dollars. Jose hopes that the Red Sox have replicated this and remonetized Pedro Martinez’s 2000 ERA.
3. Jose does not keep up with the golf news, as he generally regards golf as a sport for rich jerks (note: unlike baseball?) But one tidbit from Sunday’s Globe did jump out at him. Apparently, a golfer named Heath Slocum missed the cut at the PGA Championship after double bogeyed in the 15th and quadruple bogeyed in the 16th. Apparently, this is bad.
What surprises Jose, however, is that he was still competitive in the 15th. Jose would have expected Heath Slocum to implode in the ninth.
I’m Jose Melendez and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.