Monday, January 24


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

1. The snow banks are piled six feet high in Boston’s historic North End and the New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl…you know what that means? Yup, it’s time to talk baseball.

It’s not that Jose doesn’t like football, Jose loves football. In fact, it is far easier for him to watch a football game between two teams he doesn’t care about than a baseball game, but two weeks to talk abut one game? Boring. So here are Jose’s options: either he can join the cacophony and spend the next two weeks yammering on and on and on about the big game, or he can delve into baseball’s offseason. And what is there really to talk about for the Super Bowl? Two weeks of “will Terrell Owens play or not” talk? Fun! And what kind of a nickname is “TO” anyway? Would you really want your star player’s nickname to stand for “turnover” or “time out” or “Tomo Okha?” Jose didn’t think so.

So on to baseball. Now that Randy Johnson has signed with the despicable New York Yankees, he needs a suitable nickname. Now “Big Eunuch” is a classic, but it’s been heavily used for Johnson already, and Jose places a premium on originality. When Jose worked at Fenway he saw Johnson walking down the concourse wearing a Beastie Boys T-Shirt with the sleeves cut off, real sophisticated like. It was one of those shirts with a picture of bees + a picture of a cup of tea + a picture some boys hanging around, like a clue from Alex Trebek’s little known other game show “Classic Concentration.” Jose could probably do something with that, but why should Jose do all the work when most of the work has already been done for him.

Reader “Willie Mays Haze” sent Jose the following unsolicited suggestion. “I wanted to suggest ‘Fabio’ for Randy Johnson's SoSH nickname, since they both exploded a bird, and the likeness is uncanny.”

Well, Johnson exploded a bird with a fastball and Fabio exploded a bird by having it fly into his head while he was on a roller coaster, but it both cases the bird exploded from being struck with a dense object at high velocity. Makes sense to Jose. So while Jose cannot dictate SoSH nicknames, he can dictate nicknames here in Melendezville. So from this day forward the Yankees gangly, soon to be bust, will be known as “Fabio Johnson.”

2. You knew that Jose couldn’t go too long without addressing A-Rod’s little fit about Curt Euro didn’t you? The Globe’s Chris Snow caught the Sultan of Slap (Note: Jose knows this nickname belongs to Ichiro, but isn’t it better suited to A-Rod now?) accusing the Sox ace of crying on the bench after his poor ALCS Game 1 performance and of talking incessantly since his Game 6 victory.

Of course, Euro talked incessantly before Game 6 and during Game 6 as well. Jose suspects Euro even talks in his sleep.

Could it be that Euro’s comment that the A-Rod’s slap at Bronson Arroyo was “Bush-League” and that Derek Jeter would never do something like that is still grating on “the greatest player in baseball?”

It was very odd to see the loser criticize the winner for moping and whining. It almost never happens. You see winners criticize losers for complaining or moping all of the time (Note: See Patriots vs. Colts) but rarely the other way round. In fact, the closest analogy Jose can think of is the second Tyson-Holyfield fight. After Mike Tyson was disqualified for twice biting Evander Holyfield’s ears while on the wrong end of a whoopin’, Tyson co-manager John Horne, ripped Holyfield for “jump[ing] around like a little bitch.” Horne ripped the superior fighter for reacting strongly to having a piece of his ear removed en route to a win, and A-Rod rips the superior baseball player for taking a poor performance hard and then calling a foul a foul while on the way to ultimate victory. Yes, Alex Rodriguez, this is the company you now keep. You thought that going to the Yankees would let you walk in eternity with Ruth and Gehrig, and instead you are forever pared with one of the fight game’s dandy conmen. As the old touch football saying goes “winners talk, losers walk.” Start walking jerk.

3. Finally, Jose must say a fond farewell to DLowe The Paranoid Android a.k.a Megatron as he moves to Los Angeles for a contract that is well in excess of his value. Jose is not only sad that the Red Sox lost a player who played such a key role in the postseason, but that the Massachusetts tech economy has lost yet another battle with California. First, the computer industry moves from Boston to California, then the dotcoms go West and now robotics heads to California as well. Jose can only hope that the folks at Cal Tech have better luck keeping DLowe running at peak efficiency than the gang at MIT.

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


Ned Flanders said...

Although I am late with my comment, I was shocked to find the following error in logic in the January 21, 2005 edition of KEYS:

Why would Jose Melendez travel to altitude to engage in blood doping, where the PO2 (partial pressure of oxygen) is lower than at Jose's home in the North End? Jose would have been wise to train in Aspen, then come home, rest, and then save his blood.

Michael said...

Hey, Jose, love the KEYS. I've been reading 'em since October. Question though: how did D-Lowe get the "Megatron" nickname? I can't figure it out...

Jose Melendez said...

Jose doesn't usually post comments, but he will answer the Megatron question. Click on the following link and go to the KEYS from 10/20/2004 for answers.