Tuesday, August 9

8/9/05 -- Jose Goes for 10-1

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

1. In the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto, a bastion of Zen tranquility in a land of urban sprawl, green netted driving ranges and shrieking cicadas, the landscape is as completely littered with temples as New York is littered with… well… litter. At the age of 13, Jose traveled there on his first trip overseas and was struck by two of the ancient shrines.

The first was Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, a three story black roofed shrine, the top two levels of which are covered in brilliant gold leaf. The Pavilion sits serenely on the end of a dock, the silence interrupted only by the gentle ripples of the water and the thousands and thousands and thousands of tourists. The grandeur of the Golden Pavilion, its opulence made quite an impression on the teenaged Jose.

The second was Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion, a humble wooden shrine that looks a bit weathered. It is, ironically not silver, and yet retains the name “Silver Pavilion” much as Kevin Millar retains the name “First Baseman Kevin Millar” even though he cannot really play first base. When Jose saw the Silver Pavilion, especially after seeing the Golden Pavilion, he came away a little disappointed. (Note: And the Bronze Pavilion is probably even more disappointing, but either Jose didn’t visit it or there is no such thing.)

While Jose had preferred the Golden Pavilion, the Japanese, his Japanese host explained, tended to prefer the Silver Pavilion. While the flash and glitz of the Golden Pavilion enchants the western eye, the Japanese are drawn to the austere beauty of the Silver Pavilion.

The reason Jose tells you all of this is that he is trying to figure out how new Sox first baseman Roberto Petagine won a gold glove in the Japan’s Central League. After getting his first good look at Petagine last night and watching him let a ball slip through his legs, get turned around on a pop up in foul ground and, as best Jose could tell, have Kevin Millar brought in for him as a defensive replacement, it is clear that Petagine could not possibly have won a gold glove for being a good fielder. (Note: Not that Derek Jeter could have either.) The only possible explanations that Jose can come up with are that either Petagine’s defensive skills have taken a dive so steep that it is typically only caused by rigor mortis, or that the gold glove is not an award given out for defensive prowess in Japan. Jose suspects that since the Japanese know that gaijin like shiny gold things, such as the Golden Pavilion, they hand them out willy nilly to Westerners. (Note: Petagine’s home country of Venezuela counts as the West even if it is underdeveloped.) Has anyone asked Gabe Kapler, “The World’s Most Perfectly Sculpted Jew” if they gave him a gold glove? Jose bets they did. Meanwhile, the actual award for outstanding defensive play is the Silver Glove, which ironically is made of wood, not silver. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

For today's complete KEYS visit www.wallballsingle.com

No comments: