Thursday, February 17


It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO SPRING TRAINING.

1. And now the winter of our content has come to an end, and the spring of our content has begun. As pitchers and catchers gather in Fort Myers and the shivering masses of New England turn their eyes southward, the most glorious off season in Red Sox history concludes and the most glorious spring training in Red Sox history commences. Once this was the season to hope, now it is the season to strut. Where dreams of erasing past failures once began, visions of championships defended have taken root.

It’s a funny little camp this year, different and strange. Old rituals have given way to new. No longer must we report Megatron Lowe’s traditional first day trip to Jiffy Lube for a lube job. Instead, we wait for David Wells’ traditional first day trip to the strip club for a boob job. Pedro Watch has given way to the Halama Diorama. And careful observation of Scott Williamson’s fragile pitching arm has been replaced by careful observation of Matt Mantei’s fragile pitching arm. (Note: “Mantei” is close enough to “manatee” that Jose thinks he would like to call the flame throwing righty “sea cow.” That might be a fit, but who knows? After all, it’s still only the first day of spring training.)

Yes, it’s the first day of spring training and all is right in the world…except for poverty…and hunger…and that situation in the Middle East, that’s pretty bad. Well, it’s the first day of spring training and much is right with the world.

2. As long as Jose is trying to get in shape for the season, he might as well work on his translation skills with Tony Castrati’s piece from yesterday’s Herald.

Tony Castrati Trying to Make the Cut

What TC says: “For the first time in a long time, no matter where he goes, the manager of the Red Sox is being showered with applause.”

What TC means: “Provided he never goes to New York or Philadelphia.”

What TC says: “Terry Francona appeared at two Boston-area baseball dinners within eight days last month”

What TC means: That’s right; he worked twice within eight days!!! What stamina!!! I can’t imagine keeping up that kind of pace.

What TC says: “Francona has been in Florida for several days now, spending the latter part of last week with his family on what he described as a short vacation”

What TC means: I will say “what he described as a short vacation” so I don’t have to fact check and confirm that it was really a short vacation, rather than a long weekend, or a moderately long vacation.

What TC says: “Francona understands as well as anyone that his current popularity in Boston may be short-lived”

What TC means: It will be if I have anything to do with it. Bring back Grady! Bring back Grady!

What TC says: “Francona knows that he will be ``hammered'' again if and when things go awry in 2005.”

What TC means: I dig that. I like to get hammered when things go awry too, or often if things don’t go awry.

What TC says: It is difficult to imagine the Red Sox having another new manager anytime soon.”

What TC means:
Imagine there’s no Tito,
It’s easy if you try,
Imagine Grady staying,
We should have kept that guy.

What TC says: “Stability.”

What TC means: Apparently in the off season I forgot that one word isn’t really a sentence.

What TC says: “When you are the reigning world champions, improvement comes in small increments.”

What TC means: And yet when one is a writer covering the reigning world champions, there is so much room for improvement. Of course, for me improvement also come sin small increments, if at all.

What TC says: “Once the Red Sox rewrote history by winning their next eight games.”

What TC means: I still don’t understand the difference between rewriting history and making history.

What TC says: Nonetheless, late last season, there was some indication from Red Sox officials that they would like to at least partially refine the team's image in 2005.”

What TC means: I hear they’re going to spend a good two hours a day in spring training sending the players to charm school, like in A League of Their Own.

3. Mike Greenwell, the former Red Sox leftfielder and 1988 MVP runner-up, has told the press that he should receive the MVP now that Jose Canseco has admitted to using steroids.

That would make Greenwell the Carl Lewis of baseball. Lewis also won an award in 1988, an Olympic Gold Medal, after steroids led to a competitor’s disqualification. Well, it would make him the Carl Lewis of baseball without all of the other years of championship level accomplishment, anyway. Also, Carl Lewis never crippled and other members of the U.S. track team by mistake.

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


Anonymous said...

Yay the TC translator is back! I love Jose!

Per Ostman, Orleans, MA said...


In re: your nickname for Matt Mantei.

Perhaps it is too easy, too trite for a memeber of the World Champion Boston Red Sox, but Mantei's name easily begets "Man-tie." In fact, one only has to transpose the final two letters. The dyslexic among us have done this already.

If Man-tie establishes himself as the next K-Rod and uses his Bazooka arm to successfully set up for Foulke, Sox management could start handing out neckties to the first 5000 fans. Not just ties, but Man-ties. These would be white with "Man" embroidered down the length in traditional Red Sox script.

What a menace the Man-tie cheering section would be to opposing teams! Surely, it would rival Oakland's Black Hole for sheer ferocity.

This is either extremely clever, or the worst idea in the History of Sport.

Anonymous said...


I hope the beginning of your blog means that you hold John Steinbeck in high regard. In my anonymous opinion, "The Winter of our Discontent" is one of the finest novels ever written.

Anonymous said...

Re: above comment

Of course, "winter of our discontent" is originally from Shakespeare...

Anonymous said...

And no, Jose obviously DOESN'T like Steinbeck because Of Mice and Men is alliterative, which was one of Jose's problem's with Pride and Prejudice.

Rob said...

Not to mention East of Eden... alliteration all over the place. Steinbeck must have been a really horrendous writer. Not to mention the fact that all his titles are plagiarized: Winter from Shakespeare, Mice from Robert Burns, East of Eden from Genesis, Grapes of Wrath from Mine Eyes have seen the Glory.... Not an original contribution anywhere.

So did Steinbeck ever work for the Herald?

Anonymous said...

OK, I've showed my ignorance. Well, at least I would have had I not been posting anonymously. I did find out the quote comes from Richard III which I wasn't forced to read. I'm not a big fan of The Bard. Maybe it's because of the alliteration in Shake Spear. I also don't like professional hockey. Could it be because my home team would be the alliterative Boston Bruins?

Anyway, alliteration aside, I love Steinbeck. Although I admit Of Mice and Men and East of Eden aren't my favorites.