Thursday, October 16

ALCS Game 5-God Does Not Play Dice

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

1. “God does not play dice.”

That’s what Einstein said when faced with the problems of quantum mechanics. He was wrong, of course. God does play dice. And he makes some stupid bets too. Horn high yo? Please.

What Einstein did not discuss, however, was the inverse. While God may or may not play dice, we know for certain that tonight, Dice plays God.

To play God, or at least a god, is to have the power over life and death. And that is the awful power that the man from Japan has on this fall evening. If he pitches well, the Red Sox live, if he pitches poorly, the Red Sox die. Heads or tails, on or off. It is really that simple, and that difficult.

So what do the Red Sox want tonight? What all those on the verge of death crave—to remain alive. We would like to remain alive for another month, but we would take another week, another day, even another hour. The Red Sox know this craving; we have felt it before. We felt it in 2004, when we remained on life support for days and in 2007. We know what it is like to fear that each breath is your last. But we also know how divine it is to taunt death, to escape his icy grip and flip him the bird.

Justin Masterson knows. The pious pitcher informed his Facebook friends that he is “happy to be alive. He gets it. Masterson has taken to heart the simple message of a preacher from Pittsburgh “It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive.”

And on Friday morning, when the series is 3-2 Jose, and Justin Masterson and Dice K will make a snappy new day. Jose will be back, when they day is new, and he will have more KEYS for you. You’ll have things you want to talk about. Jose… will… too.

2. According to Wikipedia, Tampa is a Calusa Indian word that means “sticks of fire.”

Having watched the Rays brutalize Red Sox pitching, for three straight games, it seems that the first settlers of what is now Hillsborough County saw something coming. The Tampa sticks have been alight.

But Jose knows a thing or two about fire (note: he got his fireman ‘chit as a Scout), and it gives him reason to be hopeful. Let’s put it this way, there is a reason that eternal flames are not fueled by wood. Wood burns bright and beautiful crackling and colorful, but all of sudden, a funny thing happens—it goes out. There is no doubt that the Rays’ sticks have been burning bright for three nights now, but they cannot burn forever. They are not the Maccabees, we are not the Syrians and this is not Chanukah.

3. Jose spent much of Monday and Tuesday hanging around with a dog named Kazmir. It might have been Cashmere on Kashmir, but those are all really just regional variations on spelling. Little did he know at the time, that his aunt and uncle’s dog would get the call to start for Tampax Bay in the crucial fifth game of the ALCS.

Joe Maddon has managed brilliantly this series, but you’ve got to wonder what he’s thinking right now. Given the opportunity to choose between pitching Jamie Shields, who has been brilliant in the post season and a dog, he went with the dog.
What’s that, tonight’s starting pitcher is a man named Kazmir and not a canine? Are you sure? Well, what’s the difference? Neither of them is going to pick up the win tonight and either of them would have been a good acquisition in return for Victor Zambrano.

Actually, check that, there is one difference. The dog, when he barks enough can actually convince people that he’s dangerous. There’s nothing the lefty can do these days to scare anyone.

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

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