It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. “Yanks Clinch, Sox Futility Reaches 14 Years.” You may have notice that this was not a headline in the Boston Globe today, and “Sox Are Out (And So Is Closeted Pol)” was not a headline in the Herald.
There’s really only one man to thank for this, and it’s not Curt Euro, John W. Henry or even Theo Epstein. No, it’s John Harrington, and it’s time he got his due.
Harrington, often derided for the impressive accounting skills that would bring him praise in other endeavors, was a primary architect of the three division and wild card system that baseball has used since 1994. (Note: Not that it really got used until 1995.) Since its institution, the Red Sox have been in the post season five times (1995, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004). Under the old two division system they would have been in the playoffs zero times. Even in 1995, when they won the division, they would have finished well behind the mighty A.L. East winning Cleveland Indians. (Note: In real life Cleveland won the Central.)
Harrington tends to be regarded as retrograde these days because he left Fenway Park looking like it did in 1948 and failed to take a modern approach to marketing the team. (Note: Come on the man gave us Wally the Green Monster…That’s modernity baby, or maybe even post-modernity.) Indeed, the little credit he gets in this town is for erasing the last vestiges of Yawkey racism from the team, though that probably has more to do with the deaths of Tim and Jean Yawkey than Harrington’s decency. So unless, he was secretly slipping arsenic into Mrs. Yawkey’s martinis, he probably gets too much credit for that. (Note: And as many commentators have pointed out, should we award credit for eliminating racism in the 1990s. or should we just demand it?)
Yet Harrington had the foresight to see the coming Yankee behemoth and change the rules to protect his team from it. People complain about Tony Dungy and Mike Martz changing pass interference rules to benefit their teams; they laud Red Auerbach and Jan Volk as clever and devious fixers for setting up the salary cap to aid the Celtics (Note: This may be the only time Mike Martz and Red Auerbach will ever be compared except in sentences like “If you took Mike Martz’s IQ and multiplied it by 10,000, he still wouldn’t be as smart as Red Auerbach.”). But affable John Harrington is regarded as an old guard boob. Old guard perhaps, but old guard like Stalin at Yalta, Bismarck waving a red cape before the Gallic Bull or John Silber purging the Boston University board of all dissenters. The kindly accountant saw where the game was headed and saw that it was not to the benefit of the Red Sox, so he changed the rules.
Without John Harrington Pedro’s magic in relief against Cleveland would never have happened, Troy O’Leary would hold no special place in our hearts, Byrnes’ Boner would never have been and DLowe the Paranoid Android would never have crotch chopped his way to glory. Of course, we also wouldn’t have had Tony Pena’s heartbreaking homer, Tom Gordon’s blown save, Tim Tschida’s phantom tag or even Grady’s slow hook.. Wait, we could have avoided all of that? Thanks for nothing Harrington.
2. Even a day late, Jose figures that Tony Castrati’s latest diatribe is worth a run through the old translator.
What TC says: “He was sulking, plain and simple, as if he were a 17-year-old denied the keys to the car.”
What TC means: He was sulking like a SoSHer denied his/her KEYS to the game. God I hate those people. Why would they want to read KEYS for free, when they could get my sharp insight for a mere 50 cents, and it comes with the Herald’s newest four part expose on transsexual prostitution in Chelmsford? Also, I can comment on sulking from a position of authority, as I have been known to sulk when beaten to a scoop by computer geeks.
What TC says: “He has never really been able to lie.”
What TC means: This is contemptible, his Dominican respect for honesty and frankness have no place in baseball and certainly no place in America. Did I mention that I hate the truth?
What TC says: “No matter what Martinez says publicly, no matter how politically correct he chooses to be, do you really think he is happy about being the Sox' Game 2 starter in the playoffs next week?”
What TC means: Wait, no I don’t really hate the truth, or at least I don’t want to be on record saying that, so I’m going to completely contradict my previous point and now argue that Pedro was lying.
What TC says: “The Sox still have the identities of their Games 3 and 4 starters locked in a safe deposit box somewhere in Western Europe - has someone swallowed the key?”
What TC means: Wow, I’m completely obsessed with KEYS TO THE GAME. Two KEYS references in a single column, I need to be more subtle.
What TC says: “Maybe Martinez was protesting the decision. Maybe he did not want to be out there at all. Maybe that is why he insisted on remaining in the game after the fourth inning, when Francona and Wallace wanted to pull him.”
What TC means: Okay, I said it, Pedro threw the game. He always tells the truth, but he’s a liar, and he throws games. And no, I don’t have any proof whatsoever, but he pitched poorly. And what are the odds that he would pitch poorly unless he was doing so on purpose? I mean, it’s not like he had lost his previous three starts or anything.
What TC says: “By then, here's hoping Pedro Martinez can handle the truth.”
I have it on good authority from an unnamed source that either Paul Pierce or retired heavyweight boxer Carl “The Truth” Williams will be on the As playoff roster, so if the Sox play them, Pedro must be prepared.
3. For those who do not look at Jose’s blog comments, he received the following response from Boston.com content provider Chris Rattey last night.
“Jose can you see,I can't attribute something to someone else that came directly from my brain. Congratulations on beating me to the punch on comparing DLowe to a paranoid robot. That's a wonderful thing. Thanks for reading Boston.com and throwing a link up to the feature. It's always great to meet the fans out there.Your buddy,Chris Rattey”
One can only hope that Rattey doesn’t think he came up with “Jose can you see” as well. Also, Jose finds it fascinating that Rattey creates content “directly from [his] brain” with no pesky intermediaries like fingers. It’s very Matrix-like. Do you think the CIA knows about it?
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.
(Note: Edited to fix a numbers problem.)