Saturday, September 4

From SoSH: Re: September 4th - Wake is On

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

1. Well, well, well. The Red Sox have now won ten in a row, and you know the best way to pay tribute? Iambic pentameter baby – 10 syllables per line. Jose Melendez is proud to present a sonnet for the 2004 Boston Red Sox

Lucchino, Henry, Werner, Theo too,
Gave Terry F a really primo squad,
A fielder who’s both sculpted and a Jew,
Another who looks like unto a God.

They’re pitching Pedro, Balki, Wake and Curt,
A foursome that the Yanks had best avoid,
Our fifth guy also layeth down the hurt,
An Android who’s a little paranoid.

When Manny and Ortizille knock one out,
Old Mosey cheers although his hammy’s sore,
And timely hitting from our guy umlaut,
Puts Tek in the position now to score.

And Foulke comes in and makes the bad guys tame,
I’m Jose M. with KEYS to every game.

2. An image of Kevin Brown commenting on his injury is seen.

Trevor Hoffman: Kevin Brown is injured again. I can’t say I’m surprised. When he was in San Diego he was always the sort of guy who was never really there when you need him.

Hideo Nomo: Kevin Brown? He’ll tell you he’s a premiere pitcher, but what about the injuries…the self-inflicted injuries.

Darren Dreifort: I’ve been seriously injured on any number of occasions, all the time really, and Kevin Brown’s self-inflicted injuries dishonor me, dishonor everyone who has hurt himself actually playing the game. We leave our souls on the field and this is how he repays you. (Cut to image of Brown flying on the Dodges team plane) While he jets around with sore backs and pulled this, he left us here to fight alone. To call him a clubhouse cancer is an insult to cancer.

Dodgers Team Physician: I’ve treated Kevin Brown for any number of injuries, and I can say they may have been self-inflicted. That’s why we traded him for the pothead.

Former Dodger Manager Bill Russell: He broke his hand now? No big surprise…just trying to save himself from some beatings by Boston. He’s a coward, a total coward. Don’t let him mislead you like he did to us.

(Voice over) This is what the men who served with Kevin Brown think of him. Kevin Brown….you just can’t trust him.

This KEY was paid for by Major League Veterans for Truth.

3. There is justice in baseball!!! Gabe Kapler, "The World’s Most Perfectly Sculpted Jew" and Mosey Nixon both had their suspensions and fines for retaliating against noted choke out artist Tanyon Sturze overturned by Major League Baseball’s John McHale on Friday. Jose is deeply tempted to compare this to the verdict in the Dreyfuss Affair, but only Kapler is Jewish and making jokes about the original fines and suspensions being the result of anti-Semitism are "baseless" and "blatantly offensive."

So now we like our humor to be non-libelous and not to bring up long lingering memories of generations of oppression? We prefer jokes that don’t "hurt feelings" and "trivialize massive historical suffering?" Well that’s just great. That means Jose is going to have to skip his Trail of Tears jokes when the Braves get bounced from this year’s playoffs. That is unless, of course, he can sneak it in by writing a KEY about how he’s not going to use it.

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

Friday, September 3

From SoSH: Re: September 3rd - Pedro to Roll

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

1. Jose attended last night’s game with his friend Jamie (a.k.a. SoSH legend RomeroRomine’s brother) and Jamie’s girlfriend Sara. (Note: The Red Sox are now 7-1 in games Jose attends, and he is going again tonight. Mr. Henry, take the hint already.) Sara, who is not a baseball fan, at one point referred to Bill Mueller as Bill “Myooler,” in other words pronouncing it the way it looks. This immediately led Jose, a great lover of the German language, into a tirade about how Mueller, is really Müller, the single most common last name in all the Germanic world. The letters “ue” are simply the standard substitute for a “u” with an umlaut, those two little dots. And while, Mueller does translate to Miller, it is certainly not pronounced “Miller” rather the "ue" is pronounced by rounding the lips as if to say “oo” and then attempting to say “ee.” Go on try it... Seriously give it a shot. If you make a mistake, you can try it again. Mooeeller…One more time. Mooeeller. Good.

Anyway, in reaction to the needless Anglicization of Bill Müller’s fine German name, Jose has resolved to put the “ü” back in Müller. Also, at Jamie’s suggestion, his new nickname should be “Umlaut.” As in Umlaut’s home run last night was huge, and he also made some great plays in the field.”

2. The Red Sox played “My Sharona” between the eighth and ninth innings last night? Do you know what that means? It means they’re catching on… It is time for some enterprising and musically gifted SoSHer to take the lyrics to “Why Francona?”, lovingly crafted by game thread posters, and record a version with his garage band or possibly the Boston POPS. Jose is gathering the lyrics and posting them right here. All that remains is for you, yes you, to make the recording and send it to Yawkey Way.

Why Francona
Lyrics by the Sons of Sam Horn
Music by The Knack

Never chew your players out, players out.
Though they scream for more playing time, Francona?
Though you never hit and run, hit and run.
Or go bunt it on down the line Francona!

Never gonna stop, mixing up
The bottom and the top
Always mixing up, the lineup
When you gonna bat Cabrera 9, Francona?

Bringing in the closer huh, ah will ya, huh?
Close enough, the lead's only five, Francona.
Why Foulke’s in’s a mystery, it gets to me
Are Adams and 'Doza alive, Francona?

When you gonna finally see, finally see
Left field is no place for Millar, Francona.
Theo looks at OBP, OBP
He lets you think too much for yourself, Francona.

Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a slow hook. Always leave 'em in too long
You ain't the winning kind.
My my my i yi woo. Wh-wh-wh-why Francona?

my, my, my, my,my WHOO!Wh, wh, wh, Why Francona?(Guitar solo!)

So get cracking. Jose wants demos by Tuesday, 9 AM.

3. Tonight’s battle between President Bush’s old plaything and the team Senator Kerry described as “a breath of fresh air sweeping across the land” or something like that in his speech last night would seem to have national political implications. Though Kerry incorrectly stated that the Sox had closed to within 2.5 games of the Yankees in his address last night (Note: Wishful, or more likely, anticipatory thinking Senator), Jose does have to give him credit for touting the Red Sox while on the road. It is one thing to talk about how much one loves the Red Sox, quite another in Ohio.

Meanwhile, when NPR challenged a Republican Party spokesperson to try to spin the Yankees 22-0 loss to the Indians, he made a comment about how “We Republicans are all Yankees fans while we’re here in New York” or something to that effect and then conceded that it was impossible to spin that loss.

Jose tries to keep his personal politics out of the KEYS, but he cannot help but say that he really does feel for the Republicans of Red Sox nation. If Jose had been forced to watch Al Gore in a Yankees cap and hear Democratic officials talk about how “We are all Yankees fans” Jose may well have been a Dole voter in 1996. It is one thing to be a Yankee fan from New York; it is quite another to choose to be a Yankees fan while hailing from another state. Some would call it enthusiasm, Jose would call it evil.

So here is Jose’s proposal. Despite the fact that the Yankees have historically been affiliated with Republican high-finance New York, Jose thinks we should choose a new team to affiliate with the Republican party so as not to put the Republican members of Red Sox nation in an untenable position that they did not seek and (probably) do not deserve.

Therefore, the official baseball team of the Republican party for 2004 will be…THE CLEVELAND INDIANS!!! Why? Well, they’re in a swing state for starters. But they’re also capable of laying down blow out wins as the Yankees saw first hand. Their manager is Eric Wedge “Issue” and as one can see from their caps, they have no problem with making minorities feel uncomfortable and excluded. It’s a perfect match! The only problem might be that the Indians have that Japanese pitcher who made the gay porn video…the Republicans might not approve of that…you know… him being a foreigner.

While Jose is a Democrat, the KEYS are non-partisan, so the Democrats should have a team as well. So what squad should represent the Democrats? The lucky nine is…the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES!!! They too are in a swing state. They spend money freely but get little in return; their fans are out of control and often counter productive. They even used to play at a Stadium called Veteran’s Stadium, which you’d think would be an advantage. For year’s Veteran’s stadium would go around talking about how it honored Veterans and boast of its military credentials, but you know what? It turned out that that stadium had never been in a was!!! Not Vietnam, not Grenada, nothing. So they blew it up. Not a bad match at all.

So who will win this cataclysmic match up between the Indians and Phillies? The answer is, Jose has no idea. They don’t play each other this year, and they sure as hell won’t meet in the World Series. They may have played in the preseason, but Jose is not going to look up preseason schedules. (Note: Damn it, Jose’s pride as a “journalist” made him look it up. They played exhibitions at Citizens Bank Ballpark on April 3 and 4, but Jose draws the line at checking the scores.) On the bright side, the outcome on November 2 should give us a good idea as to who would win a hypothetical “Dream World Series” between the Phillies and Indians.

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

Thursday, September 2

From SoSH: Re: September 2nd - Lowe is Just

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

1. At about 1:20 AM last night, Jose went to bed to the mellifluous tones of the British Broadcasting Company on WBUR concluding an evening of baseball and blogging about France. At 1:30 the local news update came on including “The World’s Shortest Sports Report” (the 15 seconds BUR gives to the game). Jose was about half asleep by then, but he couldn’t help but notice that not only did the news reader have no clue about baseball, but whoever wrote the newscast (Note: Okay, it was probably the same guy.) had no idea about baseball. What gave it away was the phrase “Opening pitcher Bronson Arroyo lasted only 2 2/3 innings.” Opening pitcher? Does that make Johnny Damon our opening hitter?

Jose is sure that there are many newsreaders and writers who know nothing about sports, but most of them probably have the good sense to stick to the score. “The Red Sox beat the Anaheim Angels 12 to 7. In other news…)

Sadly, Jose doesn’t remember too much about the rest of the game report, as he was half asleep, but he imagines it went something like this:

“In sport this evening, The Boston Red Sox… wait ‘Sox?’ Shouldn’t that be ‘Socks?’ The Red Socks defeated the Anaheim Angles by the score of 12 points to 7 points. While opening pitcher Bronson Arroyo lasted only 2 2/3 innings, second pitcher Mike Myers, tertiary pitcher Terrence Adams, quaternary pitcher Mike Timlin and two other pitchers held the Angles to only two more points. A man with a beard had four hits for the Red Sox, and that gentleman who is always eating fried chicken on the television had four RsBI. The Red Sox conclude their tet a tet with the Angles tomorrow followed by a jostle with the Texas Saxons.”

Jose has written quite a bit this year about DLowe the Paranoid Android’s various robotic problems, from violating the three laws of robotics, to blisters in his metallic skin to his desperate desire to feel more human, to understand our hopes and aspirations, our mortality. But Jose may have overlooked something.

2. For so much of the season, DLowe was so bad, and yet now he has turned the corner (Note: Turned the corner? Apparently Jose’s brain is cross wired with the Republican party talking points) and transformed himself into almost an entirely different pitcher. How can this be? What has Jose missed until today? Jose has reached the conclusion that DLowe the Paranoid Android is no mere robot. He is a Transformer, or possibly a Gobot. But unlike most Transformers, he does not transform from a robot into a car, a plane, a gun or even a boom box. He transforms from the worst starting pitchers in baseball to one of the better ones. So if DLowe gets in trouble early tonight, listen for that distinctive transforming sound (Note: It’s ee-ee-aa-aa-rrrr) and watch him transform and roll out!!!

3. In their last two games, the Sox have scored an impressive 22 runs against one of the American League’s elite squads. How is this possible? As always, Jose has a theory.

On the old Bullwinkle show, there were a number of episodes that revolved around upsidasium, the anti-gravity metal. There has been a long running debate in the Melendez family about where upsidasium would fall on the periodic table of elements. Of course, this assumes, upsidasium is an element and not a compound like adamantium.

Jose’s father Dick Melendez, who knows nothing about chemistry, argues that it should come in at number 0, because it would have to be lighter than Hydrogen, in order to have its anti-gravity properties. Jose, who knows maybe a little more about chemistry, thinks that’s total BS. First of all, upsidasium isn’t just really light, it actually creates a force that is not only equal and opposite gravity, but is greater and opposite gravity. (Note: Take that Sir Isaac Newton!) Second, as best Jose understands, as one moves from left to right across the periodic table, each element has one electron/proton more than it’s predecessor. Jose doesn’t think there could be an element with 0 electrons and protons. What are a bunch of neutrons gonna do all alone? Nothin’.

As of today, elements with 1 to 116 electrons have been discovered. An element with 118 electrons also appeared to have been discovered in 1999, but the results have not been successfully reproduced. Moreover, upsidasium cold not be 117 because 117 falls in the halogen period or 118 because 118 should be a noble gas, while upsidasium is a metal Therefore, Jose would say upsidasium must be number 119 on the periodic table or higher. It could really fall in any metallic period after 116 ununhexium. (Note: Jose’s favorite element is 48, cadmium.)

But what does this have to do with baseball? Oh yes, Jose is pretty sure that the Angels are throwing balls laced with upsidasium, because once they go up, they don’t come down.

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

September 1 - KEYS TO FRANCE

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO FRANCE.

In his ongoing quest to search his personal history for blog material, Jose reaches his third foreign country, France, one of our most maligned and mocked allies. Whether its body odor, or rudeness or military incompetence, France has something for everyone!!! (Note: Or so the joke goes. Jose does not indulge in stereotypes, except of Samoans). Jose has been to France two to three times. First at the tender age of sixteen with his family on is first trip to the European continent, second for a single day while living in Germany’s Black Forest and third (if one wishes to count it) on a plane layover on the way from Boston to Vienna.

Jose does not think of himself as a Francophile. He speaks no French, dislikes much of French literature and finds Gerard Depardieu to be a complete bore (Note: Though "The Return of Martin Gere" was good), yet he would desperately like to live in France. Is it the famed French cuisine? No. The fine French wines? Tempting but not enough. The prospect of love in "The French Style?" Not even that. Jose would like to live in France because of the remarkable extent to which they have institutionalized laziness. Jose enjoys relaxing as much as the next man, probably more…the next American man that is…but he has much to learn from the French. As best Jose understands, the French, as a matter of law, limit most workers to a 35 hour work week. Compared to the ever expanding American work week, which seems to be a minimum of 40 hours these days and rapidly stretching towards 45, this is profoundly appealing.

Jose’s parents know a fellow who was a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, working nearly 100 hours a week. After a while, he left to make money, like all good ADAs and went to work for Microsoft for comparably absurd hours. With time, Microsoft transferred him to Paris along with is wife and baby so he could work on their European operations. He dove into his new work with his typical zest. But one day, he received a visit from the French labor police who promptly demanded to see his time cards.

"No, no monsieur," they exclaimed. "Zis weell not doo. In France, zer ees a law zat says, you may not work more zan zee thirty five hours."

"There must be a misunderstanding, you see," he replied. "I can’t get everything done in thirty five hours. What is my employer supposed to do?"

"Zey weell hire more people," the officer explained. "You can not doo eet all." Also, you must take zee six weeks vacation."

So the lawyer went to his superiors and explained that they were being monitored for compliance with French labor laws and that further violations would be taken quite seriously. This left him with weeks more leisure time then he’d ever had before and more time to spend with his wife and child. He spends much of his free time thinking about how to avoid getting transferred to a country with more relaxed labor laws.

The funny thing is that while Americans would view this as a recipe for unemployment and economic disaster, which it probably is, the French view it as a solution to unemployment. If one does not allow people to work longer hours, they reason, companies will simply have to hire more people.

Jose knows of only one occasion when this was seriously advocated by an American politician and this stretches the definition of "seriously." In 1996 and 1998, the Republicans ran a candidate for Massachusetts’ famously liberal eighth congressional district named Phil Hyde. Hyde was something of a socialist Republican, to the extent that such things exist. (Note: He used the pink elephant as his campaign symbol. Really.) Hyde’s one and only issue was timesizing, in other words the French labor system. He was a native Canadian, which Jose figures is the only way he could have come up with the idea. Jose thinks he eventually founded the "Massachusetts Timesizing Not Downsizing Party."

So until Phil Hyde is elected President, which since he is a native Canadian won’t be until after the Constitution is amended to allow Shwarzenagger to run, Jose will have to hold on to is fantasy of a leisurely life in France.

2. Next Jose must address the issue of the famous French rudeness. To be honest, Jose has never really experienced it, save for one McDonald’s cashier who was furious that young Jose couldn’t figure out how to order. (Note: Pulp Fiction was still two years away so how was Jose to know that a Quarter Pounder with cheese is a "Royale with Cheese"). But aside from that, Jose didn’t experience a single incident of rudeness in the total eight days he has spent in Paris, Normandy and Strasbourg. (Note: Though Jose has a sneaking suspicion that Napoleon inside his tomb was flipping Jose off. Jose just can’t prove it. Yet.) Certainly, he experienced less rudeness that one typically sees in say, 90 seconds on the Green Line. Jose is open to the possibility, just the possibility that people may have been taking advantage of the fact that he does not speak a single word of French (Note: Excluding sacre bleu) to mock him behind his back, but the French wouldn’t do that to Jose. Would they?

3. Jose would like to take a rare moment to be serious. Jose’s favorite place in France was Normandy. The people are nice, the food is drenched in cream sauce, the prices are lower and it is a history lover’s dream. Jose does not tell people what to do too often, but in this instance he will make an exception. Every American, every free European, should visit Normandy if only to reflect on the magnitude of the sacrifices made for our freedom.

Jose has visited battlefields at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Bull Run and not only are they dwarfed in magnitude of combat by the beaches of Normandy, bit in symbolic impact as well. Even Gettysburg, the site of the most devastating battle in our history, christened in the blood of two armies of Americans, does not convey the enormity and tragedy of war and the nobility of sacrifice like the beaches of Normandy. To stare down at the brown sandy beaches from the ruins of a German machine gun nest, to imagine crossing the rain soaked sand through storms of bullets, fences of razor wire and the chaos of battle, is to forever change ones conception of "just a few hundred yards."

And then there are the cemeteries, green French fields dotted with small white crosses for mile after mile, each representing a young life, an American life, not so different from mine, stopped in midstream, ended in violence. But each of those crosses symbolizes more than a lost life, it symbolizes the willingness of human beings to protect each other from torment and terror and tyranny, the willingness of regular people to stand up for what is right and good and make sacrifices to protect it. This is, of course, only one part of the story of Europe and indeed the world. While the cemeteries of Normandy are a monument to the willingness of normal men to fight evil, the concentration camps elsewhere in Europe are monuments to the willingness of normal men to perpetrate it.

For all of the rhetoric and, perhaps, reality of French dislike and resentment of Americans, Jose could not perceive it in Normandy. While no one ever said thank you (though it was almost 50 years after, thanks enough had been said) the warmth towards Americans was palpable. The Normans, reminded every day of the sacrifices of our country by those rows of little white crosses, by those little symbols of compassion and honor, seemed to send the message "We were happy to see you Americans then, and we are happy to see you now."

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO FRANCE.

Wednesday, September 1

From SoSH: Re: September 1st - Bronson either Or

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

1. Poor Mosey Nixon. The Sox right fielder has spent so much time on the disabled list this year that he has not only had time to get a terrible haircut, but to come up with the idea of referring to it as a “Bosworth” after the rare athlete who was both a spectacular bust as a football player and an actor (and maybe as an XFL sideline reporter if Jose recalls correctly.)

Jose imagines Mosey sitting around day after day watching NFL Films and Bosworth’s film Stone Cold, desperately hoping for his leg to heal so he can return to action. (Note: Do you think if you mention “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to Nixon, he goes on a rant about how Austin is ripping off Bosworth? God, Jose hopes so.) Still, Jose supposes that we should be happy that Nixon didn’t fixate on an even bigger NFL Flop. Can you imagine if Nixon had returned to the team sporting a Mandarich, a Schuller or, at the risk of hitting to close to home, a Ken Simms?

2. Ahhh…The Sox are on fire, the Yankees are deteriorating and there is much rejoicing in Melendezville. Much has already been said about the Yankees humiliating 22-0 loss, particularly that it looks like a football score. (Note: So let Jose get out his calculator. That would be three touchdowns with one missed PAT; or five field goals a touchdown and a PAT; or maybe just 11 safeties.)

But as Jose watched the score scroll across the bottom of his TV screen last night, he thought it could easily be confused with a few other numbers.
  • The Electoral College battle in Illinois in 2000 (Gore 22, Bush 0) (Note: Now Illinois has only 21.)
  • The Olympic Medal race between the Netherlands and Turkmenistan. (Netherlands 22, Turkmenistan 0)
  • The exchange rate between Azerbaijani Manats and U.S. dollars. (22 Manats buys 0 dollars. This may not technically be true, but it’s close enough.)

    All of these things ran through Jose’s mind when he first saw the score 22-0, but then he realized the Yankees just suck.

3. After the game, Jose did catch a little bit of the Republican convention. He was particularly struck by the annoying and silly address of the Bush twins, who were clearly not ready for prime time. When they made a crack about “Who is this Dick Cheney guy,” or something to that effect, the camera panned to the Vice President who was quietly seething and appeared to be thinking “When I am President, people like you will be lined up and shot.”

In this age when being on TV is the true American dream, it is rare to see someone so patently unhappy with being in the spotlight. In fact, Jose doesn’t thin he’s seen anyone that unhappy to be in the spotlight since Wade Boggs faced Randy Johnson in game 5 of the 1995 Division Series, with a look that said “Please let him walk me” all over his face. And Jose doesn’t imagine he’ll see a look like that again until the first time A-Rod faces Keith Foulke in the 9th inning of a playoff game.

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

Tuesday, August 31

From SosH: Re: August 31st - Curt on home Land


Today is the day. Tonight is the night. And yesterday, thankfully is yesterday. Jose hates off days. For one thing, Jose has a terrible time writing KEYS after an off day. He has to spend twice as long getting his fingers loose, and the KEYS never seem to have the same pop as on his regular zero days rest. He started the blog partly to give him a place to “throw on the side” on off days, but we’ll see if it makes a difference.

After an off day, Jose also has to hold on to the paper from the previous day lest he forget about some important nugget from yesterday’s news. As a result, Jose carries around two to four newspapers in his courier bag. The only way he could be a bigger fire hazard is if he carried around some oily rags and Heathcliff Slocumb too. (Note: Jose originally used Bob Stanley in this joke. Which is funnier? What about Jeff Russell? Or Ken Ryan?)

The other reason Jose hates off days is the same reason as everyone else. What the hell is he going to do with himself if there’s no game to watch? Last night Jose got stuck flipping between World Series of Poker reruns, WWF RAW, the Republican Convention, and Adlai Stevenson’s Democratic Convention acceptance speech from either 1952 or 1956. And you know what? So that’s a choice between old cards, a wrestling card, Andy Card and…crap, Jose can’t think of anything having to do with a card for Adlai. But all Jose really wanted was to focus on the wild card. Tonight that can happen. (Note: Adlai had them all beat. When Adlai Stevenson is the most dynamic, interesting thing one can find for amusement, that, friends, is a reason to hate off days.)

2. Thankfully, Jose has a Tony Castrati column to grease the skids on this particular off day.

Castrati Uncharacteristically Optimistic

What TC says: “Looking back, they almost always have had a true ace.”

What TC means: I spent last night watching the World Series of Poker too.

What TC says: “The Red Sox always have had someone at the front of their pitching rotation on whom they could pin their perennial championship hopes.”

What TC means: Perennial championship hopes, goat horns, whatever.

What TC says: “’It's up there,' said knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, the senior statesman of the Red Sox”

What TC means: Senior statesman…yup, I watched Adlai Stevenson too.

What TC says: “Now the Sox are routinely getting six, seven and even eight innings from each of their five starters, which allows everyone to rest a little.”

What TC means: What is the bullpen doing resting in the middle of the season? Where is the hunger, the fire? I want my relievers calling the manager in the fourth and saying “Put me in NOW Skip. I demand to help.”

3. According to the Globe, the Sox thought Curtis Leskanic might be injured on Sunday when he began rubbing his arm while pitching in the ninth. It turns out that Leskanic had just applied icy-hot to his arm and it was burning him. This makes Jose wonder if perhaps some of the Sox other injuries might have simpler explanations.

Could BK Kim’s sore arm, in fact be caused by a fire ants nesting in his arm pit?

Could Scott Williamson’s elbow problems be the result of lifting a pint glass too often (Note: Switch to cans, they’re lighter.) (Additional Note: Jose has no idea if Williamson drinks.)

Could Trot (sic) Moesy Nixon’s bad hamstring be nothing more than the result of a chainsaw accident? By special request, a link to the origin of Mosey. (Note: Not only did Jose screw up Nixon's name, he then misread the comment. Yikes)

Is it possible that Ellis Burks’ knee injury is simply a byproduct of the fact that he is incredibly old?

Could Kevin Youkilis simply have a hangover from too much partying with Dionysis on Mt. Olympus at the Olympics?

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

BONUS BlOG FEATURE: Occasionally, Jose writes a KEY and then decides that it sucks and discards it. Historically, these were lost to the world, but no more. Now, you, as a KEYS TO THE GAME (Now in Blog!!!) reader, can read the worst of Jose's content! Check back in often. There may be some additional, poor efforts to see, in addition to your regular KEYS.

3b. When Jose opened the paper this morning, he immediately turned to Red Sox Notebook, as he always does. Instantly the headline “Another Setback” jumped out at him. What was it? Did Mosey Nixon reinjure his leg? Was BK Kim done for the year? Nope…but Lenny DiNardo is hurting. Setback? This is great. Now we can keep him without having to put him on the actual team. Running that tidbit under the heading “Another Setback” is a little bit like running a headline “Sox Get Bullpen Help” when they’ve picked up Terry Adams. It’s just silly and misleading.

Monday, August 30


It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE OLYMPICS.

Jose knows what you’re thinking. You’re thinking "Damn it Jose, the Olympics are over. We just endured two weeks of archery, shot put and gymnastics judging controversies, and NOW your’re writing about it?"

Yes, yes Jose is. Because Jose has thoughts that need to be shared, shared with everyone who comes here for average to below average non-baseball content even though they get plenty of slightly above average baseball content from Jose on SoSH game threads.

What Jose probably likes the best about the summer Olympics is that they remind him of the carefree field days in elementary school. (Note: Jose actually prefers the Winter Olympics. He finds that because the sports are lower profile, it has a greater sense of purity than the over-hyped and over-commercialized Summer Olympics.) Once a year, Jose’s elementary school would have a field day for each grade over at the high school track with events like high jump and the 50 yard dash. Winners would receive colorful ribbons and the pride that comes from knowing that you can out run or out jump your fellow eight year olds. What Jose doesn’t like about the Olympics is where they differ from the field days of yore. With the goal of making the Olympics more like Field Day, Jose suggests they add the following events: (Note: Jose knows that lots of people do columns suggesting the addition of comical Olympic events. The difference here is that Jose is serious. He really would like to see these events in the Olympics.)

1. Three legged race -- Jose hates seeing those fast people run around the drag like they’re so
much better than us. You know what would slow them down? If they were tied to someone else. Also, it could provide an opportunity for ex-cons who did time on chain gangs to rejoin society and contribute.

2. Crazy sneaker race -- Do you remember this one? Participants take off their sneakers and place them in a jumbled pile 40 yards away from the starting line. Then, when the gun sounds, they race from the starting line down to the pile of sneakers, find their sneakers, put their sneakers on and then race back. Maybe this wouldn’t actual appeal to Jose so much, but Jose bets the International Olympic Committee would love it. Think of the marketing dollars they could get from the sneaker companies!

(Note: Jose used to make sure that he owned at least one pair of Velcro shoes so he could have a leg up in the crazy sneaker race. This is the elementary school equivalent of doping isn’t it? Good think they didn’t test for Velcro.)

3. Tug of war – This actually used to be an Olympic sport, right down to the controversy (according to ESPN Page 2 there was some sort of scandal involving weighted shoes.) Jose doesn’t think they should actually have an Olympic Tug of War team. That would just be silly. Jose simply thinks they should have a tug of war as the last event of the Olympics with each country submitting a team of five men and five women who are Olympians in other sports. Wouldn’t this be a much more entertaining way to end the Olympics then with Greek pop stars?

(Note in lieu of a forbidden fourth KEY: In 1960, Jose’s father, aunt and Grandmother presented Jose’s grandfather with a gold medal for his performance as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Sleeping Team. Jose would like to see competitive sleeping added to the Olympics if for no other reason than saying "German Olympic Sleeping Team" in German "Deutsche Olympische Schlafmanschaft" sounds freaking great.)

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

Sunday, August 29

From SoSH: Re: August 29th - Wake like an Oak

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

1. Last Friday on Page 2 John Kruk argued that if he was starting a Major league team. Derek Jeter is the player he would take with his first pick. There has been a fair amount of discussion about how completely absurd and ignorant this is. There’s been quite a bit of "Kruk’s a fat moron," but also a lot of "Kruk should shut the hell up and have another cheeseburger." These are both good points, but as you know, Jose is an empiricist, he wants solid evidence that Kruk is a fat moron, rather than one piece of anecdotal evidence, however strong. So let’s look at the record.

January 2004 – Kruk said "If I’m starting a Democratic presidential ticket right now the guy I want heading it is Rev. Al Sharpton. I know that all of your fancy polls say he doesn’t have a chance, but when I look at him, all I see is man who keeps winning debates. Debate, after debate, after debate he wins, and you just can’t quantify something like that. There was a debate last week, and there was a question addressed to John Edwards. Edwards starts to answer and then all of a sudden Sharpton comes out of nowhere and swipes the question and gives an answer about how President Bush is "Putting our nation in a situation of frustration." And I said, what is that guy doing in on that question. He was all the way on the other side of the room from Edwards. You just don’t expect him to be in on that question ever, but the guy has such great instincts, he can get there. Wow!"

April 2004 – Kruk said "If I’m putting together a pop group right now, you know who I want for my lead singer? Ricky Martin. That’s right. I know, there are a lot of folks out there who might say Brittney Spears or Christina Aguillera or Justin Timberlake, and they’re all fine pop stars, but look at Martin’s career. All he does is put out gold records, from Menudo to La Vida Loca. The guy is a winner, and I don't care what the statistics say."

October 2003 – Kruk said, "If I ever get to write my own Spiderman title, you know who the number one arch nemesis is going to be? Kraven the Hunter. Yes, I know all of the arguments that he’s not really a top tier villain and that issues featuring him sell well below normal, but you know what he has that the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus or Electro don’t have? Intangibles.
Look, the idea that he’s a big game hunter from Russia who uses jungle herbs to gain super strength may seem sort of silly, but the bottom line is that the guy actually killed Spiderman in a crossover series in the late 1980s. Okay, he really just shot Spiderman with some drugs that put him in a coma and then buried him alive, but he could have killed him, if that had been his plan. Who else has done that? At the end of the day, the guy just knows how to beat super heroes.

Well, that’s the evidence, and it’s pretty damning. It may not prove that Kruk is fat, but it sure does prove that he is a moron. So let Jose make an open invitation to the Krukster. If you’d like to, Jose would love to have you in his fantasy league.

2. Tony Castrati wrote again today, and that means that Jose needs to hook him right on in to Babelfish and see what comes out. You can't have a pahti witout Tony Castrati.

"Martinez, Sox keep good times rolling: Top Tigers to run win streak to five"

What TC says: "Lately, it seems, the Red Sox starting lineup has been a game of musical chairs."
What TC means: No wait, it was more like dominoes. One person gets injured then the next, then the next. I’ll call it my domino theory!

What TC says: "So continued the symphony that has been playing at Fenway Park."

What TC means: I know, I’ll use a metaphor that makes no sense whatsoever.

What TC says: "And, for the third straight game, the once go-for-broke Red Sox executed a sacrifice bunt, suggesting that their recent change in fortunes might be partly due to a change in philosophy."

What TC means: When I talked to Terry Francona earlier in the season, he was always like "Hegel says this, Hegel says that…Do you know what Hegel would do in a tie game with a runner on first and no outs in the bottom of the eighth?" But now he can’t stop talking about Durkheim. And I’m like "Durkheim isn’t even really a philosopher he’s more of a sociologist." And Terry’s like, "He is so a philosopher." You just can’t reason with the guy.

What TC says: All of it was part of yet another sound, fundamental victory for a Sox club that will be looking for a four-game series sweep today.

What TC means: Durkheim is a philosopher? That’s such bullsh*t.

(Note: This piece was so loaded up with player quotes that there was barely anything to mock. Tough times in Melendezville.)

3. So the Red Sox are now launching attacks against official scorers. According to the Boston Globe, Red Sox officials have recently gone after both Charles Scoggins and Joe Giulotti. To Jose it just seems like a bad idea to go after the official scorers. If you piss them off they might "accidentally" zone out for a minute or two and miss noting a couple runs in a big game. Then in the ninth you think you’re up 5-4 but officially you’re down 4-3.

Think it can’t happen? Oh, it can, it can indeed. Jose is pretty sure that while keeping score for Jose’s brother’s basketball game, Jose’s father got distracted and forgot to count a basket for his own son’s team. (Note: Jose’s father is not a sports guy.)

Now Jose isn’t accusing is father of deliberately screwing the team, (in fact there is some debate about whether this even really happened), but if we added the information that Jose’s brother had failed to clean his room that morning (which may or may not be true) one has the beginnings of a case. The lesson: Leave the official scorers alone. It’s like being mean to the secretaries in high school. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but it will come back to haunt you.

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


It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO INTROSPECTION.

Never let it be said that Jose isn’t a flawed human being. He can be petty, he can be mean, he can be arrogant, and, worst of all, he can be unfunny. But also never let it be said that Jose lacks knowledge of self. Jose is quite aware of his flaws and is always working to minimize them. He can do this because unlike (presumably) most of the Boston media, Jose is willing to take a hard look at himself, a hard look at his motives and say "Jose, you can do better."

Can you imagine Tony Castrati doing that? Can you imagine him looking in the mirror and saying "Tony, you are a talented baseball writer, with a good knowledge of the game. In fact, you may have more potential than any baseball writer in Boston today, but you can also be incredibly petty. You let insecurity and territoriality lead you into a vendetta against Curt Euro for his interaction with Sons of Sam Horn. Moreover, you are falling into the Boston sports media trap of making your name on creating controversies. You could be the next Peter Gammons or the next Dan Shaughnessey and right now you’re heading towards Shaughnessey, hating sports and everyone in it. Also, your a total pantywaist for taking three weeks off in the middle of the season. You know what? Jose Melendez is right about you."

It is in this spirit of introspection and with the intention of encouraging Boston sports media members to take a serious look at themselves that Jose will apply the "translator" concept, which he stole from Wonkette and typically applies to Tony Castrati, to himself. It may be ugly, but it will be honest. Let’s see if Jose can withstand is own withering sarcasm.

We now go way back to a distinctly mediocre KEYS (the weekend KEYS always are) from
1. What Jose says: "It’s time for Jose to address the Roger Clemens story. Jose considered discussing it yesterday, but frankly he needed more time to think about it."

What Jose means: Jose already had three KEYS in mind for yesterday when the Clemens story broke. He is sufficiently forgetful that if he didn’t use one of them in order to accommodate the Clemens story, he might lose it all together. Today, he had nothing, so he might as well rage about Roger.

What Jose says: "After all, one can not take something of this magnitude too lightly. How would one address the possibility of Hitler returning to the Germans? (Note: Don’t blame Jose for insensitivity; Debbie Clemens made the initial comparison.) How would one address the possibility of Lucifer rejoining the choir of Angels? How would one address the possibility of the Doctor Octopus returning to lead the Sinister Six?"

What Jose means: Is there anything easier to do when writing about the Sox than to rip Roger Clemens? (Note: Aside from ripping Grady or McNamara.) It’s sort of like eating sugar. Yes, it gets you fired up, but after a few minutes you start to drag. (Note: Jose first heard this analogy for the music of John Williams from a friend. If he stole it from someone else, Jose is stealing too. Sorry about that.)

What Jose says: "You oppose it damn it. You take a stand a go into the streets with pitchforks and placards and yell from the ramparts "THIS MAN IS EVIL, THIS TRADE IS WRONG, AND THIS WILL NOT STAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What Jose means: Demagogue, demagogue, demagogue.
What Jose says: "Have we forgotten what this man did to us? Have we forgotten his expulsion from game four against the As? Has the shame of his sloth diminished with time? Is the contempt he showed upon his departure less painful? He lied and said he would only leave to play closer to home. He engineered an illegal trade to the Yankees. He considers George Steinbrenner a personal friend. To borrow a line from, of all people, Dan Shaughnessy, if you are a Red Sox fan, Roger Clemens is not your friend."

What Jose means: Let’s see how many example of Rogers malfeasance it takes to get Jose to 300 words. 1…2…3…4…5…6. Six examples. Super good.
What Jose says: "But the deal fell through. There is some small justice in the world. Now we will not have to watch as Roger bows to the As in the playoffs yet again. Be it Dave Stewart or Barry Zito, he cannot beat them. The As could start Steve Ontiveros in a playoff game against Roger tomorrow and still win."

What Jose means: When in doubt, throw out some old player that almost everyone has forgotten about. Steve Ontiveros, Nate Minchey…someone like that.

What Jose says: "And then we will be spared watching Roger imploding against the Yankees in the ALCS. You have hurt Red Sox nation too many times Roger Clemens, we will not take you back so you can hurt us again. Rot in Houston with your geriatric team, this time your lies have caught up with you. This time your manipulation will not be rewarded. So, take a long ride in your Steinbrenner funded Hummer and think about what you’ve done, you said spiteful man."

What Jose means: Is this KEY almost over? Jose is dying here.
2. What Jose says: "According to the Globe, DLowe the Paranoid Android has been receiving ideas on how to protect his blistered thumb from dermatologists from around the country."

What Jose means: Jose doesn’t have press access, and he won’t buy the Herald, so he has to rely on the Globe for KEYS ideas. That explains his great creativity and how he finds those unique angles.
What Jose says: "Unfortunately, it is completely useless. Why hasn’t a single mechanic sent a suggestion. Here is Jose’s idea. Why doesn’t DLowe call into Car Talk to ask for some advice? Those guys seem to know a lot about mechanical contraptions. Jose bets it’s a problem with DLowe’s catalytic converter."
What Jose means: Jose has gotten more mileage out of the Lowe is a robot bit than he ever expected. Does anyone even remember how it started? Lowe said he was having mechanical problems. Mechanical… robot… mechanical… robot…get it? Jose, bets that a good 45 percent of all KEYS are about DLowe’s robotic issues.

3. What Jose says: "So long to third basemen Earl Snyder, and we hope to see you again in September."

What Jose means: Thank God for September call ups. Writing about the same guys over and over again, Jose runs out of ideas for stupid jokes about their names and mannerisms.

What Jose says: "Snyder is what is often referred to as a AAAA player, a player who is good enough to dominate in AAA, but not good enough to stick in the majors."

What Jose means: Would some sort of joke about the 4-H Club worked better here? Now Jose wonders.

What Jose says: "Jose applauded him enthusiastically on Wednesday night and would like to give the utmost plaudits to Earl Snyder now. Very few members of the nobility would be willing to toil for years in the minor leagues. So congratulations, Earl Snyder, you are a credit to the first estate."

What Jose means: Jose is now on cruise control. It is warm and sunny outside, and Jose cannot possibly justify sitting around the house writing jokes that are clearly going to bomb on a day like this.
"I'm Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME."
So that is how Jose stands up to his own scathing methods. Did Jose come off as a bored, arrogant callous eccentric? Or did he merely come of as a spoiled, insensitive oddball? Either way, Jose still thinks he came out looking better than Tony Castrati. So Castrati, Jose has taken a look at himself. Now it’s your turn. Jose challenges you to write a column ripping yourself for taking three weeks of the season off. Be a man. Show that you can take your own medicine.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO INTROSPECTION.