Wednesday, June 15

6/15/05 -- 1975 World SEries Game 10

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

1. An open letter to Bill Simmons, a.k.a.’s “The Sports Guy.”

Dear Bill,

“I’m Bill Simmons and this is my column.” June 13, 2005, 2:34 p.m. ET

Hmmm... That sounds familiar. Familiar like a Joe Biden term paper. But maybe not dishonest. That can’t have been an accident, can it?

No, you were sending Jose Melendez a message or an enticement. It’s like waving the red flag in front of the proverbial bull, the doughnut in front of the proverbial David Wells or the dollar bill in front of the proverbial Roger Clemens. You used Jose’s meter, his material, his style to get Jose’s attention, to get him to charge at you with his full weight behind him.

But why? Why call Jose out? Why try to show him up in front of the tens, if not dozens of people who would actually understand the message you were trying to send? Was it a taunt? An homage?

The possibility that you are mocking Jose haunts him. You’ve been like a father to Jose, a father he’s never met, spoken with or seen and who would have been like eight years old when Jose was born, but a father nonetheless, and after 28 years of ignoring Jose, this is how you chose to contact him? It’s like you’re Greg Minor. (Note: You have the national audience, you make the Shawn Kemp jokes, Jose is local and will stick obscure Celtics, thank you very much. Besides, Jose has a Greg Minor autograph somewhere and God knows, Minor’s play on the court didn’t make it valuable, so Jose needs to talk him up.)

For so long Jose’s dreamed you would contact him. You know, show up at his office begging for gambling money or a quick fix from the Dunkin’ Donuts next door, but it never happened. Jose even wrote you once or twice, suggesting gags. You remember, don’t you? Jose wrote you suggesting that if Johnny had hit Daniel San with that kick during the skeleton/ Halloween scene, the kick that shattered that sign, he would have killed Daniel and the movie would have been called “The Murder Trial of Johnny Lawrence” rather than “Karate Kid.” Jose knew he couldn’t use it, Karate Kid jokes are your thing, so he sent it to you as a gift, as a sign of respect. But you never answered, and Jose let you drift from his mind... the pain of being ignored was too great.

Just two weeks ago, Jose thought about trying to contact you again. Jose bought 11 unopened packs of Rocky IV trading cards in Rhode Island, and he was going to send you one, because he knows you’d like it. But now? Now Jose is thinking about buying unopened Rocky V trading cards to send you, that’s how agitated he is.

Are we enemies now? Is this like Bruno Sanmartino and Larry Zybysko? (Note: Apparently, Zybysko’s real name is Lawrence Whistler… that’s right, he changed his name to Larry Zybysko.) Will Jose be forced to betray you now and spend the next 30 years referring to himself as “The Living Legend Jose Melendez?” (Note: Okay no one calls you “living legend” so would probably steal your epithet and walk around referring to himself as “ESPN Page 2’s” Jose Melendez for the next 30 years.)

So what is it? What are you trying to say? Is Timmy trapped in a well? Are the aliens monitoring your columns? Are you jealous that ESPN Page 2’s Eric (K)neel had a blurb on the back of the KEYS Book? (Note: Now available in one different language!) Jose and maybe three people on Sons of Sam Horn are dying to know.

Your pal (note: or possibly enemy, let’s see how this plays out),

Jose Melendez

For the full KEYS visit

No comments: