Monday, October 29


It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE WORLD SERIES.

1. It is 2090 already?

Dear God how the time’s gone by. Jose will confess he is still a little surprised to be alive at 114, but modern medicine is pretty amazing stuff. He’s even more surprised to still be working in the same job for the same pay.

Wait… What day is it? What day is it??? You out there, what is the date?

It’s October 29? But of what year?

2007? Then… But how… that would mean… The New York Daily News was wrong? How can that be? We’re talking about the New York Daily News and they assured, they assured us all on October 28, 2004 that the Red Sox wouldn’t win another World Series until 2090, another 86 year drought.

Jose looks forward to the correction.

2. As Jose writes this the players the owners and even the newspaper columnists have already taken up all of the best clichés.

“I think 2004 was for the parents and grandparents who suffered t, Dru, Lhrough eight decades. This is for us and our children and everyone in Red Sox Nation, proving that we could do it again.'' – Tom Werner, Red Sox Chairmen.

“See this is what happens when you win it all under the simple guise of being the best team, absent the melodrama.” Bob Ryan, Boston Globe Columnist

“Now, when history repeats itself, the refrain is one of celebration, not condemnation.” Tony Castrati, Boston Herald Columnist

“If you go to a high school graduation in the year 2026, you will hear a lot of Jacobys, Dustins, Jonathans, and Hidekis when they call the roll.” – Dan Shaughnessy, Local Cynic.

It doesn’t leave many angles for those blessed among us who do not write on deadline. Yes, having the convenience of being able to go into the streets of Boston and celebrate without having to worry about pounding out copy in time for the first edition was a relief, but it left naught but scraps for World Series perspective.

Thankfully, for Jose, there is always Steinbeck.

In The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights, Steinbeck wrote “Somewhere in the world there is defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.”

This is the true story of the Boston Red Sox. For 86 years we were defeated and defeated and defeated again. We found our defeat in the world and were gravely wounded by it, but we never allowed it to destroy us. Ted Williams was not destroyed by defeat. Carl Yastrzemski was not destroyed by defeat. Johnny Pesky was not destroyed by defeat. Jim Rice was not destroyed by defeat. Bill Buckner, Calvin Schiraldi, maybe they were destroyed by defeat, but if so, they are not us. These fathers of the Red Sox Nation knew defeat and knew it well, but they rose above it, towered above it to become loved, revered made into icons both sacred and profane. We fans loved them no less for their failure to win, saw no less in their brilliance for their lack of the big, shiny trophy. Yes, for generations Red Sox nation triumphed over defeat.

And then came 2004. Victory. Sweet, sweet victory, for which, as General MacArthur reminds us, there is no substitute. But what would victory do to us? Who would we become? Would be made small and mean by victory like a turtle necked shipbuilder? Would we grow smug and self-satisfied, content with nothing but endless affirmation of our own superiority? No. We would triumph over victory just as surely as we triumphed over defeat.

We saw the nobility in the quixotic quest of wounded 2005 squad to defend its championship. And even as the 2006 team crumbled into dust, we rejoiced at the brilliance of David Ortiz, and were grateful to live in this time, in this town, with this team.

And when 2007 arrived, and when we struggled to maintain our 14 ½ game lead, we did not fret and fumble and insist on playing the role of tragic hero. And when we held the lead and clinched the division, we celebrated with a divine silliness rather than self-righteous entitlement. The Idiots were, perhaps, gone to history, but they were not succeeded by fools in cap and gown. If the 2003 team, the last to know truly bitter defeat were cowboys and the 2004 team, the first to know true victory were idiots, then perhaps this 2007 squad were prospectors, content to labor hard day after day, month after month, in the optimistic hope that they would eventually find gold.

And when the pan was shook, and the silt had slid through the little holes and back into the stream of the season all that was left were shiny nuggets of victory. It was not the shallow victory of inherited wealth, of having the good fortune to be born rounding third, but victory won methodically, through persistence, through effort and through grit.

Far from destroying them, defeat made the Red Sox strong and humble, and victory did not make them small and mean, but great and good.

They are our Boston Red Sox, and once more they are the Champions of the World.

3. Poetry has meant a lot to Jose this year, and thus he closes this season where we won with the brutal meter of ruthless consistency, in a final verse.

When Euro took the ball on opening day,
And Boston bowed to Kansas City’s nine,
The pundits screamed and started to inveigh,
Against the Red Sox and their quick decline.

Our team rebounded and soon took the lead
And grabbed the A.L. East about its throat.
And though the Yankees never did concede,
Their competition soon became remote.

The youngsters hit and pitched the veterans too,
Though some might say we failed to dominate,
And placed the blame on Lugo and on Dru,
But Boston’s team would not deny its fate.

With bats, and starting pitching and our pen,

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE WORLD SERIES.


Jon said...

Jose, if you could confirm my suspicion that g38 read the keys aloud in the clubhouse before every postseason game and thus the keys are a lot more of a part of this victory than anyone suspects, I'd be thrilled.

Susan said...

Thank you, Jose, for an entertaining season. And what a way for it to end. Your keys have brightened my days.

Orlando Rays said...

Bill would be proud of that sonnet.

See you on the stove.

Anonymous said...

I've never left a comment here before, but I've been stopping in for years, and I fucking dig the way you roll. Cheers, brother Jose!