Sunday, June 5

6/5/05 – Ohne Umlaut vs. Ohne Chance

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. Earlier in the week, Jose sent this very link to a friend of a friend, let’s call her Liz, who works in publishing and had suggested that she might be able to send KEYS on to someone in the company who keeps an eye on blogs as part of a search for literary talent. (Note: Whoops, Jose forgot that when one uses a “let’s call her” one is supposed to make up a name. Nuts.) Then at a barbecue last night Jose got the heartbreaking news. Liz couldn’t understand the KEYS at all. Not the wrestling analogies, not the comic book material and certainly not any of the meager baseball commentary. And it made Jose sad. Not sad because the odds are that his slim chances of being picked up by a mid-major publishing house have dwindled to none. Jose knew that dream was as distant as the Sox winning the Series. (Note: Wait… Crap… Jose might have had a chance.) No, he is sad because of what this revelation says about the state of liberal arts education in America.

This woman went to the same private university as Jose, and yet she came out without even the most rudimentary knowledge of the history of WrestleMania or the differences between the three Green Goblins. Can the curriculum really have changed so much in the two years that separated them? Maybe it’s that Jose was in an interdisciplinary program which combined disciplines like wrestling, television and literature? Sure, she is extremely knowledgeable about literature, Latin and poetry, but can those alone truly compensate for inadequate knowledge about the card at the original SummerSlam? It just speaks to a shocking unevenness in our universities. Jose, hopes, he desperately, desperately, hopes that Boston University’s newly appointed president, Robert Brown takes a serious look at placing more emphasis on baseball, wrestling and comic books in the core curriculum.

But what does all of this have to due with baseball? After all, this is an inaccessible baseball blog, not an inaccessible something else blog. Well, Jose is worried that an improperly balanced education may be endangering the senses of humor of future generations and endangering their ability to come up with suitable bleacher patter. (Note: Did Jose succeed in making a KEY that has nothing to do with baseball about baseball? You make the call!) You know bleacher patter. The ongoing dialogue consisting largely of obscure details that two knowledgeable fans are able to maintain throughout the course of a game with the help of the demon rum. Bleacher patter is completely contingent upon a broad based education.

As Jose’s friend Karl once pointed out upon hearing a fan yell “Hey, ump if you had one more eye, you’d be a cyclops,” a good sense of humor (note: and by extension good fandom) is clearly rooted in a classical education. If we do not invest in our young people now, who will be the fans of the future? Who will compare Derek Jeter to Narcissus, or Ellis Burks to Spiderman villain the Lizard? Jose weeps for the future.

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