Wednesday, December 22



It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.

1. This time the Yankees were sure they had Randy Johnson sewn up. They were absolutely positive. How sure were they? So sure that they declared the deal complete on no fewer than 672 occasions. And the deal was complete. Complete like Schubert’s unfinished symphony, complete like an Eli Manning pass, complete like the Yankees sweep of the Red Sox, complete like a crossword puzzle requiring a French word, complete like a Carlos Quintana visa application, complete like a Rosie Ruiz marathon, complete like a Mike Mussina perfect game, complete like Jose’s effort on today’s KEYS.

So needless to say, as of now, Randy Johnson is not a Yankee. But what went wrong? How exactly did the deal unravel? Rumors and theories abound. Some say Javier Vasquez refused to take a physical because he doesn’t want to be a Dodger. Others say he refused a physical because he was on vacation. Jose’s personal theory is that he refused a physical because he heard there might be a tetanus shot involved and he has a thing about needles.

Some theorists say that the Dodgers pulled out of the deal upon realizing that trading two quality major leaguers for a handful of magic beans might not be the best idea. Sure the beans sound good in theory, but Jose will bet you anything that when Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta brought them home to the McCourts, the tyrannical Jamie McCourt would have hurled them out the window in a fury and the next thing you know, there’d be a 100 foot tall bean stock in the middle of Dodger Stadium. And what’s worse, Giants have been known to come down those things, and you know how Dodgers fans feel about Giants.

Of course, if you don’t buy into theories that rely on phobias or horticulture, we can always use Occam’s Razor to think this through. (Note to the Gillette company: For your next razor, instead of having five blades, vibration and laser guidance, consider making a really simple but excellent one blade razor and call it “Occam’s Razor” and market it under the slogan, “The simplest is probably the best.”) The Dodgers realized that being involved in a deal that helped a division rival rebuild and the richest team in baseball load up without getting an obscene ransom was probably a bad idea and wouldn’t do a thing to put more butts in seats in L.A. or more cars in lots in South Boston.

2. As part of its tribute to the Red Sox, the Boston Globe Magazine last Sunday featured the “Ultimate Red Sox Crossword Puzzle. For the most part it was, perhaps, the easiest crossword puzzle Jose had ever done, but there were a few clues that caught him

Clue: Heroic Schilling of the injured ankle
Globe Answer: Curt
Jose’s Answer: Euro

Clue: Sort of English on a Lowe Sinker
Globe Answer: Topspin
Jose’s Answer: Energon

Clue: Free ____ (How Mann and Pokey came to Boston)
Globe Answer: Agency
Jose’s Answer: Monies

Clue: Career Sox Pitching Category Led by Roger Clemens
Globe Answer: Starts
Jose’s Answer: Chokes (Note: Jose went through a lot of ideas on this one: blisters, losses to Dave Stewart, pounds overweight, but chokes was the only one that had the right number of letters.

Clue: Place for Leskanic, Mendoza et. al. to warm up
Globe Answer: Bullpen
Jose’s Answer: Ft. Myers

Clue: Game to warm up players reflexes
Globe Answer: Pepper
Jose’s Answer: Tetris

Clue: Nickname of New York’s Mussina
Globe Answer: Moose
Jose’s Answer: Loser

Clue: Brings together as a team
Globe Answer: Unites
Jose’s Answer: Whisky

3. Another big news item is the Red Sox’s signing of right hander Matt Clement to bolster the starting rotation. Jose likes this move a lot, and thinks Clement’s high K rate could make him a star. That said, the minute he goes south, Jose will start referring to him as Matt Inclement. Jose just googled it, no one else has used it yet, so Eric (K)neel be forewarned, Jose owns that pejorative.

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


Anonymous said...

I thought Mussina's nickname was "Bigot."

Anonymous said...

Good stuff jose.

Anonymous said...

I thought Clemens led the Sox in use of double negatives and first person references during press conferences. "Ain't no way that surly Jose Melendez is going take no innings from Roger Clemens."

Anonymous said...


Friends of Hudson said...

Jose, it's your editor here.

1) It's "100-foot-tall beanstalk," not "100 foot tall bean stock."

2) Keep up the good work.