Friday, October 15

From SoSH: Re: 10-15-04 Bronson gets This

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

1. So what did Jose did with his off day? Let’s see, he started it by having a car breakdown on Newbury St. Ironically, Jose’s problem was the same as the Red Sox’s – broken starter – though Jose is certain that the Red Sox would gladly pay the $421 Jose did to get the starter repaired the same day. (Note: Mr. Henry, the Fenway Mobil station on the corner of Yawkey and Boylston does a great job repairing starters. Now sending Curt there might not work because he is, you know, human, but sending DLowe there for a tune up might not be a bad idea.) So when Jose broke down he did the same thing as any American, he called AAA. The only problem is that Jose is not technically a AAA member because he does not technically “own a car.” (Note: Jose was using his father’s car since his father is currently working in a small European non-country.)

The good people at AAA said “Well, unless your father is there, there’s nothing we can do for you. You’re not covered.” Jose thanked the nice lady and hung up. After a moment he picked up and dialed AAA again.

“Hi this is Richard Melendez and Richard needs a tow.” Jose said.

Instantly, and without question the customer service representative went right down the service check list and proceeded to treat Jose Melendez exactly like he was Richard Melendez. As you might imagine, Jose is gradually working towards a point here. Even if Curt Euro is unable to pitch game 5, the Red Sox should change their stated position and announce that he will pitch. Then, come game day, they should send out DLowe the Paranoid Android (newly tuned up) in a Curt Euro uniform and refuse to admit that it is DLowe no matter what. Theoretically, they could even remove DLowe’s face plate and replace it with some sort of Curt Euro mold.

Now, Jose knows that it is a little hard to believe that the Yankees would buy into the charade, but if this election season has proven anything, it is that a lie repeated with conviction over, and over and over again can start to look like the truth to an awful lot of people.

The Sox should also organize a stunt or two to further confuse the issue. For instance, at the press conference the day before game 5, DLowe should take to the podium in full Curt Euro regalia, possibly with Curt’s wife and children, and declare “I am not Derek Lowe!” (Note: This should be done in the style of the late Owen Hart when he would declare over and over “I am not the Blue Blazer.” Then, while Lowe/Curt is speaking, a DLowe look alike, let’s say, Data from Star Trek, Optimus Prime or an Erector Set, would walk buy in a Lowe Jersey. Faced with this striking evidence, the Yankees would have no choice but to believe that the fearsome Curt Euro was on the mound, and act as though he really was, in other words, with fear and anguish.

2. According to the Boston Globe, the chalkboard in the Red Sox clubhouse (Note: Is this the last place in America using chalk boards rather than white boards?) reads “We can change history. Believe it.”

You know what that means? Sure you do. It means that the Red Sox have gotten a hold of the way back machine and will be taking the rivalry into the time stream. After all, if it meant they were just dealing with this series, it would say “We can change the future.” Right now, Dave Roberts is in 1978 kneecapping Bucky Dent. Over in 1999, Pokey Reese has Tim Tschisa locked in a closet. And in 2003, Kevin Millar has Grady Little in a crippler cross face.

But it doesn’t stop there. Gabe Kapler is in Munich 1933 preparing to take out Hitler. Bill Mueller is keeping guard at Ford’s Theater in 1865. In 1912, Alan Embree is slowing the Titanic.

Okay, maybe, there is no way back machine (Note: And if there is would John Wasdin be suing the makers for trademark infringement?), but the Red Sox would do well to remember the wisdom of St. Augustine. The past does not exist, it only used to exist. There is no game 1 or 2. There is no Grady Little. There is no what you had for breakfast this morning. The future does not exist either, it only will exist. There is no game 4. There is no Ortiz’s game 5 walk off. There is no game 6 come back.

No, there is only the present, and the present has no breadth. It exists, but only in that it tends towards immediately not existing. And that is where Jose lives, and that is where the Boston Red Sox live. And regardless of religion, we join together in worshiping at the Temple of Right F’n Now.

3. As we all know, Fox nitwit Tim McCarver, thinks that Brandon Arroyo is starting for the Sox. Many have attributed McCarver’s error to genuine incompetence, but Jose has an alternative explanation. Jose looked at the TVLand listings and discovered that the Perfect Strangers marathon originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon was replaced with a Punky Brewster marathon. Jose figures McCarver spent the whole afternoon watching the adventure of the plucky orphan, her curmudgeonly guardian Henry and her loveable dog Brandon and thus had Brandon on the mind when he went to the game. Now, Jose wants to make it clear that he is not apologizing for McCarver’s error. Frankly, Jose finds the idea that a man in his 60s would spend the whole day watching Punky Brewster, even more disturbing than the idea that Fox would have the worst announcer of this or any other generation calling the ALCS.

Today, CSPAN is running a marathon of presidential debates so look for McCarver to speak quite a bit about Richard Nixon’s play in right field. Alternatively, if he was one of the 15 people watching CNBC last night, he could end up talking about Dennis Miller’s play at third base.

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

Wednesday, October 13

From SoSH: Re: Game 2 Sox-Yanks -- Why Not Me?

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

Jose has made a mistake. In all of the drama of the post season, Jose got a little heavy. He got a little anecdotal. He got away from all of the things that worked so well in the regular season (Note: Cheap shots at reporters, stupid nicknames, monetary conversion). When Jose switched to grandiose rhetoric it was as if Terry Eurona had taken the idiotic suggestion on ESPN this morning (from Karl Ravitch?) and decided to DH Manischewitz Ramirez. (Note: Jose has been meaning to push this nickname for some time. Why Manishewitz? Because he’s SWEET!!!)

Did the Red Sox get to where they are by starting Mientkiewiecz at first and Dave Roberts in right? No. Did they get where they are with Jose, discoursing at great length on the nature of good and evil and engaging in long diatribes about games he went to in 1987? Occasionally? Oh. Well, nevertheless it’s back to basics.

1. According to today’s Globe, the Red Sox used seven scouts to prepare for this series. Jose has scouted the Yankees some as well, with his crack team of zero scouts, and has learned a few things that we should consider as we head into game 2.

Miguel Cairo – Not an Egyptian
Orlando Hernandez – Not from Orlando
Gary Sheffield – Not from Sheffield, England
Hideki Matusi – Get this. He’s…ready for it…Japanese. Who knew? Jose had no idea that Cro-Magnon man identified by nationality. (Note: All credit to Jose’s friend Marian who one day asked, “Who is that Cro-Magnon guy?”)
Tom “Flash” Gordon – Has never been in outer space. Nor is he really, really fast.
Tony Clark – Was once a member of Tony Toni Tone. (Note: Ironically, he was Toni, not Tony.)
Bernie Williams – Is the owner of Bernie and Phil’s Furniture, so don’t look for him to have much success against Tim Wakefield. (Note: Bernie Williams your classical guitar proficiency will not save you now.)
Mike Mussina – Despite his nickname “Moose” he is technically a member of the raccoon family.
Mariano Rivera – While he claims to be from Panama, Panama is actually only the place where he is registered as a ship.
Tanyon Sturze – His name is Tanyon, no joke needed.
Jon Lieber – Do you know why a bathroom is called a “Jon” or “John?” Because tonight the Red Sox are going to crap all over this guy.

2. The Tony Castrati translator returns

What TC says: “He had nothing, from the very first pitch”

What TC means: He had nothing because he has been spending way too much time staring game threads on Internet discussion boards. Doesn’t he know that it’s the mainstream press that makes him a celebrity? He should start writing leads for my column instead. Then I wouldn’t have to work as much. Also, I could really use the help.

What TC says: “Is he hurt? You bet he is.”

What TC means: I have learned from watching Donald Rumsfeld press conferences that I can use rhetorical questions to make other people seem stupid and uniformed. (Note: Is this stealing a Doonesbury Joke? Heavens yes. Would Jose do it again? You bet.)

What TC says: “Be honest with yourselves, Red Sox followers.”

What TC means: You can’t do it can you? I am the only person in this entire town who can tell the truth. Grady was right! Schilling (sic) is done! War is Peace! Coke and Pepsi are the same thing!!!

What TC says: “Schilling looks cooked.”

What TC means: After the game last night I watched that Twilight Zone episode with “To Serve Man” in it. Creepy.

What TC says: “Schilling will likely continue to look less like Roger Clemens and more like John Wasdin.”

What TC means: Oh wait. Didn’t he look like Roger Clemens in the post season last night? You know, awful. Or did I mean that he won’t get ejected from a huge playoff game?

What TC says: “If Schilling is now the injured Pedro Martinez of 2001, Martinez must become the Schilling of that same year.”

What TC means: How do they do it in those body switch movies like Freaky Friday, Vice Versa or Like Father Like Son? We need to do that with Schilling and Pedro. Shouldn’t someone be scouting those films? Maybe Big too.

What TC says: “Both Sox manager Terry Francona and Schilling declined to address Schilling's availability for the balance of the series, which can't be good. “

What TC means: How dare they spurn the mainstream press. HOW DARE THEY!!!

What TC says: “Last night, at least, Schilling never had a chance. While Mike Mussina carved up the Red Sox”

What TC means: I wrote this at the end of the sixth inning, so I will assume the final score was 8-0.

What TC says: “For now, the Red Sox have enough to worry about than to risk 2005, too.”

What TC means: Concede now!!! What hope do you have against the might Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown and Javier Vasquez!!!” Also, I cannot write a grammatically correct sentence, and my editors did not catch any errors because they were too busy working on a story about Brittney Spears’ pending divorce and remarriage to an Inuit.

3. So that’s the Herald’s take. Now let’s read between the lines of Dan Shaughnessy’s latest.

Curt Schilling…needs no…funeral…He …still…puts…the Red Sox…in games.” See. Don’t lose hope even Shaughnessy is optimistic.

“The only thing…to fuel New York taunters and tabloids…is Bernie Williams…who…shot …Joe Torre.” Wow. That is going to be all over the tabloids. And Jose thought there were problems between Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant.

“Mike Mussina’s…daddy…is…no doubt embarrassing…and…a…pain.” Well, we all have our family issues.

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

Tuesday, October 12

From SoSH: Re: 10/11/11 Game Four of the Real Season

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

Jose returns to the KEYS on an almost unprecedented three days rest. No side sessions, no work with a typing program, nothing. In fact, the only work Jose has gotten in since the Sox clinched in game 3 was a little work on an application for a fellowship. So Jose is fresh, well-rested and lined up for the hard slog ahead.

1. And now comes the end of days. The cataclysmic battle between good and evil that has been forecasted, projected and prophesied since the darkest days of last October and perhaps since the dawn of man is at last upon us. What is the universe? What is the nature of good and evil, light and darkness, crunchy and smooth? Seek not the answer in the Bible, nor the Torah. The Koran offers not the solution nor the Bhagavad Gita. Look not in Science and Health nor even Dianetics. On this very day, in the heart of New York City, we will all bear witness. We will witness the ultimate proof that this universe of ours is Manichaen. That there is only good and only evil and they are locked in never ending combat.

Whose side are you on? Whose side are you on? There are no grays, there is no nuance. Whose side are you on? There is nothing to finesse, no fences to straddle. Whose side are you on? There can be no changes of heart, no defections or conversions. Whose side are you on? You are with us or you are against us.

Chris Rattey be warned this is not Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker. Even the light and dark sides of the force are too weak an analogy for the struggle before us. After all, Darth Vader still had good in him. He was salvaged, his soul recovered. When his black mask of death was removed, the sad face of a frail and vulnerable human being was revealed. We pitied him. When this series is over will you pity Derek Jeter? Will you pity A-Rod? Oh, the Yankees are frail and vulnerable, that we shall see, but there will be no tears shed, no spiritual reunion with Yoda and Obi-Wan. No, the Evil Empire is not stark enough.

This is Billy Budd territory. The Yankees are the evil and sinister Mr. Claggart, devious, cruel and manipulative. The Red Sox are Billy Budd the earnest young sailor working under Claggart’s cruel hand. And how does Melville’s novella end? In the end each man lies dead, but even in death one is still good and one is still evil, and the vacillating Captain Vere is left standing. But here there are no Captain Veres. There is no middle. Whose side are you on?

At eight hours and fifteen minutes it begins. Whose side are you on?

(Note: Jose hasn’t actually read Billy Budd in about 14 years, and he sure as hell isn’t going to reread it now. So in the event that that Jose had the plot and metaphors wrong, let’s pretend that entire piece was pegged to Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener and his epic line "I prefer not to," as in "I prefer not to even talk to any Yankee fans until this series is over." Not that Jose could ever use that line since it has a first person singular pronoun in it.)

2. Well, after a KEY focused on cataclysm and Armageddon, Jose always finds it’s good to lighten the mood. So here goes. One reporter asked Curt Euro about "mystique and aura" or some such nonsense at yesterday’s press conference. You know what? As they say in ads for securities "past performance does not predict future results." And unless "mystique" is that blue chick from the X-Men and she’s wearing pin stripes, mystique don’t mean a damn thing.

Jose will not repeat a T-Shirt that suggests the Yankees take their title rings in suppository form, but he agrees with the sentiment. Jose worships at the temple of right f’n now, and as much as Jose loves history, he knows it is not deterministic. Eighty six year means nothing. NOTHING!!! The Mongols routed the west for centuries, but are you reading Genghis Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME? The Romans dominated the known world for hundreds and hundreds of years, but the upstart Goths eventually took them down. Do the British still rule India? Do they speak German in Cameroon? Did Andre the Giant lose a match after 22 undefeated years? (Note: Yes, Jose knows that streak is B.S.)

So please Yankees, rely on ghosts and fairies and unicorns and long dead sluggers. Depend on your vaunted history to protect you. After all, it worked for the Soviet Union. Didn’t it?

3. Jose thinks it is just a shame that the Red Sox spent all of this money making up brand new “Why Not Us?” T-Shirts. They could have saved a bundle by simply recycling the shirts worn by Les Expos in 2000 that read “Why not us? Why not now?” or even better “Pourquoi pas nous ? Pourquoi pas maintenant?” (Note: Or something like that. Jose doesn’t remember the French exactly, so he had to use Babelfish.)

Jose actually bought one of these French language shirts on his sole pilgrimage to Le Stade Olympique. He only wishes he still had it so he could wear it around this week and show he is down with the hip new rallying cry.

If we get through the ALCS Jose has a suggestion for a rallying cry for the next round. How about “We don’t want to fight, or start any trouble. We just wanna do the Super Bowl shuffle?”

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