Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians played their seventh game of the regular season. On the date Republicans plan to convene their convention on the shores of Lake Erie, the Indians are scheduled to play game #92. Think about that for a second. More than half the long, long baseball season will be history before we finally learn the name of the last candidate standing and, with it, the likely fate of the Republican Party. In an age of instant communication and immediate gratification this is simply too long to wait. It will create a news vacuum and that vacuum will be filled with endless speculation.

To help you survive the months of punditry ahead, I offer this guide to what is important to know about the build-up to the Republican convention and when we will know it. Think of it as a handbook to help you cut through the verbiage and focus on the few things that will actually shape the outcome of the Republican contest. Use it to impress family and friends with how much more you know about the nomination process than some of the people paid to write about it.

And that’s it. You will hear a lot about maneuvering and there will be plenty of intrigue, but the important developments between now and July 18 will be the resolution of these key structural matters: Does Trump have a majority of delegates? How deeply loyal are his delegates? Who gets to write the convention rules? What happens in Cleveland will be shaped by these outcomes, and we will know at predictable times what these outcomes will be. We just have to be patient. Until then, trying to assess how the convention will unfold makes as much sense as determining if the Indians are set up for a playoff appearance in October based on their 4-3 start. Of course, there will be people trying to do that too.