Friday, February 25


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

1. This is a terrible part of spring training. All of the players have reported, games don’t start for another week, so Jose is reduced to talking about long toss. How far can Wade Ohne Umlat toss? 150 feet? Good but not good enough. 180 feet? That’s more like it! Next stop Moundsville. See. Boring.

Curt Euro is already throwing off the mound and surprise, surprise, didn’t feel as good as he would have liked. Fascinating. Real first KEY material.

How slow is it at camp? So slow that both the Globe and Herald wrote feature stories yesterday on how Euro Bellhorn doesn’t talk. So slow that it makes Cecil Fielder look like Dave Roberts. So slow that it makes Grady Little look like Albert Einstein.

It is so slow that Jose almost thought about converting long toss distances to meters for his readers in the metric world. But Jose will not complain (Note: Anymore). He will not write one of those self serving pieces reporters do about how terrible it is that there is no big controversy. Jose will not lust for someone to be thrown from their car or flip off the manager. No, instead Jose will bide his time. Waiting…plotting…until one day when you least expect it…BAM!!! There will be a game to write about.

2. The Red Sox are scheduled to go to the White House on March 2 to meet the President. (Note: Of the United States). All 18 members of the championship team who remain with the Red Sox will attend and all members who have moved on are invited. Thus far, none of the players who are no longer with the organization have agreed to attend. Jose is surprised. Really, really surprised.

He’s not surprised that Pedro turned it down. After all, he’s a proud man, and this isn’t even his president. He’s not surprised Megatron Lowe turned it down either; he’s all the way on the West Coast. (Note: Though Jose is a little surprised he hasn’t told the media that the Red Sox never even invited him.) He’s not surprised that the World’s Most Perfectly Sculpted Jew declined. Japan is even further away, and he’s probably more interested in an opportunity to see Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s famed bouffant hair up close than to meet President Bush. (Note: Koizumi’s hair has been a subject of much discussion in Japan and around the world. In Jose’s opinion it looks like he got a 20 dollar bill at some point, saw the portrait of Andrew Jackson and said “That’s what a leader should look like!!!” Hopefully Koizumi’s interest in mimicking Jackson is limited to hair styles, otherwise Japan’s indigenous Ainu population is likely to be facing massive and unconstitutional deportation.) Jose isn’t even surprised that Dave Roberts isn’t coming. After all, slowing down long enough to shake hands might be hard when you’ve got speed like that.

No, what really surprises Jose is that Little Cesar Crespo hasn’t accepted. Jose would imagine that it would be hard for Crespo to get a meeting with anyone higher than the Nebraska Commissioner of Public Safety. This should have been a big day for him, and he can’t imagine why he wouldn’t accept, except perhaps that he couldn’t make contact with the Red Sox traveling secretary. Making contact always seems to be a big problem for him. (Note: Are players who weren’t in the playoffs invited? Jose hopes so. Lenny DiNardo deserves his chance to meet the leader of the free world!!!)

3. The shocking return of Antoine Walker to the Celtics, an event that greatly pleases Jose, has raised the possibility that perhaps some of Jose’s favorite former Red Sox could also return to the fold. (Note: That’s right. It’s so slow Jose has been forced to talk about basketball, albeit briefly. Are you happy now?) Here are a few of the players Jose would like to see return. (Note: Well, not really return to the team, not as players, after all, they’re all terrible. But maybe they could be non-roster invitees, or sell hot dogs, or something.)

Billy Ashley – The last time Jose saw Billy Ashley, the Sox were playing Les Expos and there was a competition to see which there would be more of Ashley strikeouts or Expos errors. Ashley won 4-3.

Dario Veras – If Jose couldn’t have been Jose Melendez, he would definitely have considered being Dario Veras.

Tim VanEgmond – Jose once had him on a fantasy team because he knew he would be sent to the minors where he couldn’t hurt Jose’s ERA.

Arquimedez Pozo – While most commentators liked to make Eureka jokes about the infielder, Jose preferred more sophisticated humor, comparing him to the whip wielding character in Waiting for Godot.

And in that spirit Jose draws on Godot to end today’s KEYS.

Spring training is boring. Jose doesn’t think anything interesting is going to happen. Let’s leave. Yes…Let's go. (He sits…motionless.)

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


Chili said...

Jose's offer to convert to metric jogged the ol' memory banks. Remember the ill-fated attempt to change the United States to metric back in the late 70's? And the "Metric is easy!" commercials they had in between episodes of Scooby Doo on Saturday mornings?

They showed a group of kids playing pick-up baseball at the local sandlot...until one of them uses the distance from home to first to demonstrate the metric system. "That's 90 feet!" says one of the players. "But if you convert to metric," says Metric Boy, "the distance is 27.43 meters! See? It's easy!"

Draw your own conclusions...

Friends of Hudson said...

Jose, it's your editor again. I'm back... from vacation (in the Catskills). Please take stock of the syntax of this salutation, which reflects the substance of my comments today:

1) There should be a space after Jose's "dot-dot-dots" ... and sometimes one in front of them, too, though that's more subjective.

2) The period goes inside the parentheses if it's part of a sentence, but inside the parentheses if it's its own stand-alone sentence.

For example, let's say this were one of Jose's sentences (note: it is not). And let's say this is another sentence written by Jose. (Note: It isn't one, either.) Get it?

(Note: Your editor also has a pet peeve about the capitalization within your notes, but that's for another day. See the various usages above, however, for examples of how your editor would advise handling these in various situations.)

3) Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

As an editor myself (note: business editor at a newspaper), it always amuses me when other editors offer unsolicited (note: as far as I know) advice that itself includes an error. Is that irony? For instance, in item 2, Jose's editor meant to say the period goes outside the parenthesis if it's part of a sentence (note: like this).

That said, Sam, it's great to see people who still care about the form of the written language.

Anonymous said...


I knew that Jose was capable of bigger and better things. There really is no more pure sport, at least in February, than b-ball.

This truly was a memorable weekend, with BC wins over the Sons of Mother Seton and the Daughters of Geno Auriemma, coupled with the twin "Antoine Returns" games. The only problem with Antoine's return is that you can't find people dumping their Celtics tickets on EBay anymore, prices of Lakers tickets quadrupled the last couple of days! Oh well, I got Cubs-Sox tickets, so who cares.

The only bad thing about the weekend was the elimination of the Brandeis Lady Judges from consideration for the NCAA Division 3 tournament. Only in D3 can the 13th ranked team nationally lose one game and not be one of 50 teams in the tourney. Almost makes you miss hockey -- not!

For anyone who is interested in the truly sublime, check out, the true voice of small college basketball.

Oh, and Binghampton beating BU? Not often that a tv "captain" beats a college basketball team. Ever hear of "Kirk" beating anyone?


Xavier Hall