Thursday, September 16

From SoSH: Re: 9/16 - Sox vs. Rays -- The final tune-up

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

1. Unbelievable!!! After all of the time Jose spent trying to bait Tony Castrati into a feud, after all the bashing and meanness, all it takes is one kind email to Eric Kneel asking him to simply give due credit and the ESPN columnist crumbles like Kevin Brown’s fist against a concrete wall. (Note: Get it “Kneel?” Like he’s “kneeling” before Jose’s greatness? Of course, some schoolyard bully probably thought that up when Kneel was in second grade, so Jose shouldn’t take to much credit. Eric, if you send Jose the bully’s name, he’ll be happy to run it.)

So how to handle this? For starters, in the spirit of giving credit, Jose would like to thank an EZmailer named ekim colorwaterpit who had the following exchange with Kneel in a live chat.

“Nick (Atlanta)Did you make up the name Balki for Arroyo all by yourself or did you get it from somewhere?ERIC [K]NEELI'd never seen it anywhere else. It just seemed like a natural. There are two Bronson's to work in here: Pinchot and Charles. Charles seems like a stretch...”

Chat with Eric Kneel for money

And there is still more credit to go around. Jose would like to thank you, Eric Kneel, for having the integrity to admit, however bitterly, that someone else got there first, that when you landed on the shores of Balki, the flag of Melendezville was already there. And yet Jose cannot help but feel that perhaps your “mea culpa” was a bit backhanded. You know that mea culpa means “I’m sorry” or “my bad” right? It doesn’t translate as “someone thought up an idea before me and called me on it and now I have to swallow hard, but I don’t want to, so I think I’ll be sarcastic instead.” (Note: Or maybe it does, Jose’s Latin is not so good.) Given all of the fancy foreign language, perhaps Jose should just run Mr. Kneel through the old translator. Sorry Tony Castrati, today you’re off the hook.

Eric Kneel is so very, very, sorry

What Eric Kneel says: “A weblogging reader from Boston who calls himself Jose Melendez (after a one-time Mariners and Red Sox pitcher)”

What Eric Kneel means: Even with all of ESPN’s resources, I could not bother to even send an intern to look at or a reference book so I would know that Jose Melendez pitched in San Diego too.

What EK says: “My sincere apologies, Jose.”

What EK means: My completely insincere apologies, jerk.

What EK says: Far be it for me to tramp on a man's legacy.

What EK means: Your legacy is talking to nerds on an internet chat group, I on the other hand work for the great ESPN, a major cable network that still covers sports almost 40 percent of the time!!!

What EK says: “I honestly didn't know you'd been down the Balki road before me. Still, I wish now that I had gone with the other Bronson reference I was thinking of at the time, and called him Death Wish Arroyo. My bad.”

What EK means: Yup no one had ever thought of the Charles Bronson route before me. Not posters at the world famous And certainly not Bob Hohler Boston Globe who on April 9, 2004, reported that Bronson Arroyo IS ACTUALLY NAMED ATER CHARLES BRONSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One can’t really trust the Globe anyway, it’s not like it’s a major metropolitan newspaper with hundreds of thousands of readers or anything. (Note: Oops Eric, Jose thinks you owe Bob Hohler an insincere apology now too.)

What EK says: “I'd also like to apologize for my reckless use of the terms ‘Boston,’ ‘Red Sox,’ ‘pitcher,’ ‘starts,’ ‘offense,’ ‘GM,’ and ‘Theo,’ any one of which you may also have used on or about May 21, 2004, or at any time since.”

What EK means: I hereby take back of all of the apologizing I may have done on or about May 21, 2004, or at any time since.

Geez. Once it’s all been translated it doesn’t sound very apologetic at all does it?

2. Yesterday, token German SoSH poster ossie schrekngost suggested that Jose was a German soul trapped in the body of an American. Ossie is so close and yet so completely wrong.

Jose is in fact one-eighth German (Note: His great grandmother was from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a scenic walled town on Germany’s Romantic Road.) Jose has studied the German language and lived in Freiburg Germany. He loves German culture and literature and art, but he is no German at heart. Yes, in his soul Jose is an Austrian.

Granny Melendez is an Austrian Jew who emigrated from Vienna in 1939 across the Atlantic. Her parents went the long way, across Eastern Europe, Siberia, Japanese-controlled Manchuria, the Sea of Japan, Japan, the Pacific Ocean and the American content to escape the Nazis. Thus, Jose grew up with moehntorte, Mozart and knowing that Schwarzenegger meant "black plowman" long before he was Governor. Yes, in his soul Jose is an Austrian.

Indeed, when Jose, after two years of college German, went to study in Germany, Granny Melendez had one simple dictum "If you come back speaking like a Prussian, I’ll kill you." Yes, in his soul Jose had no choice but to be an Austrian.

But, Jose would not want anyone to think that his soul is Austrian on the basis of history or heritage. Frankly, Germany has done a far better job of coming to terms with the dark periods in its history than Austria, where the temptation to view Austria as Hitler’s first victim remains strong. Austria was not a victim – it was a perpetrator, just as Germany was.

No, Jose identifies with Austria because he is from Boston and not from New York. The relationship between Boston and New York is remarkably similar to that between Austria and Germany. In both cases the latter is huge, dominating, numerically much larger, much richer and much better known and understood by people around the world. Just as obnoxious New Yorkers flood the Cape, Vermont and other scenic New England locales, the Germans in their big BMW’s, with their loud voices and heavy drinking invade Austria, and everyplace else in Europe every summer. (Note: That said, heavy drinking German tourists are a hell of a lot of fun.) The former in both cases is a center of high culture and intellect, and its people know in their hearts…they know for certain that they are actually better. Jose knows in his heart Boston is better. Yes, in his soul, Jose is an Austrian.

And in the sporting realm both Boston and Austria have suffered defeat after defeat to their rivals. Just as the Yankees lead the Red Sox by a considerable margin in rings since 1918, Germany has dominated Austria in soccer and won both World and Euro cups. Indeed, every Austrian sports fan knows the last time their team beat the Germans. (Note: Jose doesn’t know though, so maybe he’s not so Austrian. He thinks it was 1979.)

So, sorry ossie, Jose’s soul is Austrian, not German. But this year to have an Austrian soul will not mean a quiet sense of superiority in the face of superior numbers and resources. No, not this year. Jose wouldn’t dare make a baseball prediction, but let’s put it this way, the first time after October that Austria plays Germany, bet the farm on Austria.

3. Congratulations to Tim Wakefield who passed Roger Clemens for number two on the Red Sox all time appearances list when he took the mound last night, despite his shaky performance. But appearances are a funny statistic. If a pitcher enters a game but clearly isn’t really “all there” does that count as an appearance? Jose is thinking about Calvin Schiraldi here.

Jose is also a little surprised by the list. Jose knew that Bob Stanley would be number one, but he didn’t expect Clemens to be number two. Jose sort of figured it would be Greg Harris, because as best Jose can recall, Harris appeared in 236 games in the 1990 season alone.

Still, congratulations to Wake are in order. When Jose bought a Wakefield jersey in 1995 in the middle of his 14-1 streak, Jose never thought Wakefield would be the last member of that team still with the organization. Jose was almost sure Dwayne Hosey would hang around longer.

(Note: Because Jose worked at Fenway that summer, it is one of his formative seasons, along with 1999, when he lived in Kenmore Square, and this season, when he writes KEYS. To this day, every time Alan Embree runs out of the pen wearing number 43, Jose thinks, look we reacquired Stan Belinda.)

I'm Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.


Anonymous said...

As an Orioles fan, the only reason to come to SoSH is Jose Melendez. Today, Jose has been attacked by a nobody. Carry on, Jose! For the lurkers and posters alike!

PS. I would kill to get into a KEY!

Kraut said...

Usually I love your Keys but today I have a complaint.
You compare Austria and Germany to Boston and NY? As a German, a Sox fan, and a Boston fan my heart is bleeding. Don't you know that Austrians are the "better" Germans? Of course it's a backhanded compliment. I'll leave it at that....
Anyway, on my first visit to Boston in '92 I became a Sox fan after watching Clemens against Guzman at Fenway.
One weekend I wanted to travel to NY and I asked my teacher(to improve my English...hopeless course) about it and he told me that everyone has to visit NY twice, the first time and the last time. At that time I was too naive to understand....
You ask what I do in front of a computer at 2am on a weekday? Just preparing for next months marathon...
Keep up the great work