I Probably Owe Y’all A World War K Update

Since there wasn’t a new World War K post this week, I figured I should post some kind of explanation. Don’t worry, the series isn’t stopping. The next post, which will feature the All Star game and a look at the trading block, should go up next Monday or so. I basically lost a week of free time to a law conference followed by a game jam, which is the first time in recorded human history those two events have been paired up to explain anything, but I do intend to continue and finish, though I may accelerate the time table and there may be more than a week between later posts. There are two reasons for this.

First: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Kansas City Royals are still playing baseball. The ALCS begins later today, and they’ll face off against Baltimore for the chance to appear in their first World Series since The Series That Shall Not Be Named here in St. Louis. This has kind of put a damper on the story of rebuilding an underdog Kansas City team

When I first introduced the Royals back on July 14, they were 48-47, six and a half games out of first place and looking so listless that even Buzzfeed couldn’t make a list about them. Then, in August and September they went 34-21 and barely captured the Wild Card before beating the cream of the NL West and advancing to where they are today. Let’s just say this makes framing the narrative of my posts rather difficult, since I’m probably going to have to play a lot of games or save-load several times to get a run better than the real one will end up being.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. In early 2004, I wrote a screenplay that had a ton of titles over the months I worked on it. The one I remember is Fenway’s Ghost, so you can probably guess were this was going. The plot concerned a con artist who posed as a ghost whisperer/psychic who scams his way into the Red Sox front office by claiming he can speak to the spirit of Babe Ruth and lift the Curse of the Bambino. Once he has the job, though, the real ghost of Babe Ruth appears to him and threatens to expose the con unless they work together.

It was a dumb, broad comedy that had to dance around being too much like Major League, but I still thought it was pretty good. Before I could even edit it enough to try and do something with it, the Red Sox actually won the World Series and suddenly it was worthless.

I didn’t want to give up the script, so I rewrote. It couldn’t be about the Red Sox anymore, but there still needed to be a World Series drought, a ghost, and a city big enough that I could write some broad stereotypes and everyone would understand them. You can probably see where I’m going with this, too. I changed the Red Sox to the White Sox, Boston to Chicago, Babe Ruth to Joe Jackson. This required some work, as Jackson’s motivations would be different from Ruth’s and there was no Yankees-level rivalry to give me a natural villain. But I did it. The new script, Shoeless, was done in early 2005.

You all know what happened next. The Chicago White Sox won the World Series, broke their curse, and once again made my script less needed than another American Pie Presents film. At this point, I was working on other projects for school and didn’t have time to rewrite, so I temporarily gave up on the project. But I also did what any fan would do after twice seeming to predict the winner of the World Series less than halfway through the season. I hit “Find – Replace” on a few key terms. Turned Chicago into St. Louis, White Sox into Cardinals, Joe Jackson into Rogers Hornsby, 1919 into 1982. The script didn’t make any sense at all, because Rogers Hornsby wasn’t banned from baseball for throwing games and 25 years isn’t a drought. But the Cardinals still won the World Series in 2006. You’re welcome.

In 2007, I needed a feature-length comedy script to pitch to a few agents and studios, so I returned to the seemingly-magical .scw file and I did something I knew that I could regret for the rest of my life. I decided to make the story about the Chicago Cubs. Not only did I need the script to make sense because it was probably my best writing sample, I had to see just how powerful I was. Could I will the Cubs—the fucking Cubs—to a World Series victory. I’m not sure what I would have done if the Cubs actually took home the trophy in 2007. I might have been too terrified to ever write again.

Fortunately, I never had to answer that question. The Cubs did not win the World Series, though they did make the playoffs. Those three games were filled with plenty of existential terror on my part, let me tell you.

So here we are again, with yet another baseball comedy story threatening to be taken apart by actual baseball. But I’m not going to stop the story of Strike-O-Matic and Pat Burrell, Alcides “aWAR” Escobar and Alex the Girrafe-kin. But if the Royals win the World Series, I’m not sure I can ever in good conscience write fake baseball stories about real teams again.

The other reason that there may be a bit more delay between posts is that I’m returned to an old project I abandoned about a year ago that has a lot in common with World War K. Not ready to make a big, full-on post about it just yet but if you’ve liked these posts then, well, you’ll probably like this as well. So stay tuned for that, and expect the next installment of World War K shortly after the weekend.

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