Thursday, September 15

9/15/05 -- Jose Goes for 13-1

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

Jose used to love rain delays. For the six years Jose lived in Kenmore Square a lengthy rain delay was his entrée to a cheap and enjoyable night at the ballpark. Jose would sit in his apartment drinking beers with friends or watching television, all the while keeping a close eye on the status of the delay. If the delay exceeded two hours, Jose would walk down to Fenway as soon as the game restarted. He’d pay his $12 for a bleacher ticket and then sit anywhere he pleased. Back in those days, the bleachers were cut off from the rest of the park, but as the crowd dwindled from 30,000 to 15,000 to 5,000 no one much cared where Jose sat.

Sitting in premium seats on the first baseline or behind home plate, Jose did what any bleacher bum would do in that situation, he made an ass of himself. One night he and friends taunted strip club loving Angles first baseman Mo Vaughn with a rendition of Foxy Lady every time he came into the field. When Vaughn reached on a single, Jose yelled, “Mo, if you steal second Jose will buy you a lap dance.” The slugger, one of Jose’s all time favorite Red Sox, looked over at Jose as if considering the offer, and then turned away. He did not attempt to steal second.

It’s too bad, really. The one time Jose went to The Foxy Lady, Mo Vaughn was there. Jose really would have bought him that lap dance if he had swiped the bag. But this rain delay was not all fun. No, sir. The copy of Flaubert’s Sentimental Education that Jose had brought with him in case the rain began again took a soaking, making a dense novel even more dense.

Another time, Jose went out for a game against the Blue Jays that had two rain delays consuming three and one-half hours. By the end of the second delay, there were fewer than 1,000 fans in the park and Jose sat behind home plate blowing into some sort of a brass horn that another fan had smuggled in. Otis Nixon could hear everyone asking about his cocaine habit. The game was actually called at 1 AM on account of the heretofore unknown American League curfew, to be completed the next day.

Bu today, on this dreary wet day, Jose already has tickets for the game. Rain delays are no longer his friends. Jose has had to learn to stay out of the park until after the delay. God forbid he should get stuck drinking watery six dollar beers for two hours. Jose loves the North End; he loves living in a real neighborhood and away from the throngs of students. But on days like this, days when the rains wash away the throngs of fans and leave only the die hard and deranged, Jose misses his life in Kenmore Square.

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