Saturday, April 23

4/23/05 -- Obey the Prime Directive

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

Tonight it the first night of Passover, the feast of unleavened bread (note: and four cups of wine. Any religion that has a holiday ordering what the American Medical Association calls "binge drinking" is okay with Jose.) Every year, Jose finds that one of the most poignant moments of the Seder service is the commemoration of the plagues. Because Pharaoh would not free the Jews, God punished all Egyptians with 10 plagues ranging from, the relatively benign (frogs), to the gross (boils) to the truly horrible (death of the first born). Each Jew remember these plagues and the fact that the Egyptians, who are human being too, had to suffer by dipping a finger in red wine 10 times and placing a drop on his plate, one time for each of the plagues.

Empathy is good. It binds us together as human beings and keeps us moral far more effectively than the fear of God. But empathy is much easier to come by when your side is on top. This year, we, as Red Sox fans are on top, so Jose asks you to join him in remembering the ten plagues of October and the suffering of Yankees fans, who, after all are still human beings... technically. So let’s take our glasses of red wine and get ready to dip.

Millar’s walk
Roberts’ steal
Mueller’s hit
Ortiz’s walk off homer
Tony Clark’s ground rule double
Wakefield’s brilliant relief
Ortiz’s walk off single
The umpires’ reversal of the "no home run" call
The umpires’ reversal of the slap call
The Sox come back from 3-0 to clinch at Yankee Stadium


For the full KEYS visit

Friday, April 22

4/22/05 – Wake Catches TB Again

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

1. Jose can’t stop thinking about this Gary Sheffield/Christopher House situation. He wants to; he’s not really interested in it; he doesn’t care. But people just can’t shut up about it.

What really gets Jose, as he mention two days ago, is that it is actually illegal to punch Gary Sheffield in the face. Come on!!! This is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, not the Commonwealth of Let’s Embrace Our Enemies and Be Nice and All Get Along. But there is a solution.

Under the Massachusetts General Laws, or Constitution or something, every Massachusetts citizen has the right to file a bill in the legislature. Your legislator doesn’t have to support the bill or even sponsor it, but he is legally obligated to file it under your name. When Jose worked at the State House, he remembers two such bills, one to “ban the teaching of the religion of secularism in public schools” and another to allow parents to decline to vaccinate their children even if they don’t have any medical or religious objection. So you know it’s good for serious mainstream issues.

It’s also good for getting things made the official state whatever. Jose has long wanted to file a bill that would make “They Came to Boston” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones the Official State Ska-Core Song, though he worries it would face serious opposition west of 495. Jose’s brother Sam also had an idea to file a bill that would make it legal to punch someone in the face for talking on one of those annoying cell phone walkie talkies. It’s not that it would be illegal to use one of those phones, it’s just that if you did, other people would have the right to punch you in the face. This proposal is sort of the inspiration for Jose’s latest legislative idea.

An Act Relative to the Punching in the Face of Yankees Right Fielders

Whereas the World Champion Boston Red Sox are among the most cherished of Massachusetts institutions, the Commonwealth’s premiere tourist attraction and a source of great civic pride; and

Whereas the baseball organization know as the New York Yankees has long been the arch enemy of said source of civic pride; and

Whereas the members of said New York Yankees are known to be of low character, questionable hygiene and ill-temper; and

Whereas the members of said New York Yankees who play the position of right field have in the past assaulted citizens of the Commonwealth and are know to be motherfudgers; and

Whereas the doctrine of preemptive attack is an significant part of the public discourse and American foreign policy in the year 2005; be it Resolved that all citizens of the Commonwealth shall have the right to strike a blow to any member of said New York Yankees who plays the position of right field or has played the position of right field in the face without fear of prosecution. This statute shall be limited to blows to the face and shall not by misconstrued to cover blows to the groin, kidneys or back of the neck.

It may have some issues with equal protection under the law, but that could probably be solved by expanding it to left fielders. Other than that, it’s tight. Now if one filed this at the beginning of a session (note: the next one starts in December 2006) the Legislature would have to give it a hearing. Really. However, if we file it now, since it is a late filed bill, it would get sent to the Committee on Rules where it would languish unless we could get the Committee to report it out.

Still, if there are any Patriots out there with far too much time on your hands call your state representative today!

See the full KEYS at

Thursday, April 21

4/21/05 Antipope vs. KITH Sketch Subject

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

When the white smoke streamed from the Vatican chimney on Thursday, Jose is certain that many of his readers, perhaps some of whom stood with the jubilant masses in St. Peter’s Square itself, waited nervously for Matthew Paul Clement to emerge as Pope Clement XV dressed in the traditional home white vestments. And then, as the world waited for the first Pope with a 90+ mph fastball since Pius III to step forth, something happened. Something unexpected.

Out came a 78 year old German whose name is perilously close to the guy who played Cliff on Cheers and can barely break 80 on the radar gun. (Note: Not that radar guns are reliable for any magistrate’s reading this.)

Jose knows a lot of you, Catholic and otherwise, are bitterly disappointed, both with the fact that the fact that the College of Cardinals bypassed Clement and the fact that Jose’s insights into the opaque world of Vatican politics were so badly flawed. To you Jose says “Keep the Faith!!!” This is not over, Jose concedes nothing.

While the mainstream media has yet to realize it, we are at the beginning of the third Great Schism in the history of the Church. The first occurred in 1045 when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other, splitting Christendom into Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

The second more relevant schism, known as the Western Schism, came in 1378 when the papacy returned to Rome following 73 years in Avignion, France, where the Pope served largely at the pleasure of the French King. The first Pope elected following the return to Rome was Pope Urban VI, a basically competent guy who went mad with power, sort of like Dan Duquette, so the College of Cardinals decided to elect another Pope Clement VII to replace Urban VI even though he was not technically dead.
The two popes excommunicated each other, as was the custom at the time, and then the Cardinals picked a third pope Alexander V who was rapidly succeeded by John XXIII. So now you had three popes running around excommunicating each other. Somehow it all worked out in the end, but rather than Jose running on and on about it, you can read about it at wikipedia which is where Jose has been paraphrasing from anyway. (Note to Peter Gammons: See, if you remember to cite in the original article the first time, one need not face embarrassing, and unfair, plagiarism accusations and print undignified corrections.)

This brings us to today… Thursday. Jose has in on good authority that a faction of Cardinals (note: possibly the St. Louis Cardinals, but Cardinals nevertheless) is going to acknowledge Clement as the true supreme pontiff this afternoon, thereby setting up rival power centers in the church, a Rome papacy and a Boston papacy. In the schismatic tradition, the two popes should start referring to each other as the antipope soon thereafter. (Note: Is the antipope made of antimatter? If he were to touch the real pope would they explode? Jose is pretty sure there was a lot of antimatter in the Vatican thriller Angels and Demons; how did Dan Brown not address this?)

So be not disappointed. Matthew Paul Clement will pitch tonight for the first time as Pope (or Antipope) Clement XV. Look for the traditional gray road vestments and puffs of white smoke coming off of his fastballs.

For more visit

Wednesday, April 20

4/20/05 -- Wells vs. Chen

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

Advocate a full public accounting of the Globe’s ban on reviewing self-published books. Write to ombud@globe .com!!! (Note: If you get a reply, let Jose know at

Congratulations to Tim Wakefield for signing what is effectively a lifetime contract with the Red Sox and far more importantly, for making Jose look like a genius.

It’s easy for Jose to say that Wakefield is his all time favorite Red Sox now that he has ten years of distinguished service with the team including three spectacular innings of relief in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, but it was true in 1995 too. It was in 1995, that Jose proudly used his 10 percent Fenway employee discount to drop almost two days pay on an authentic Tim Wakefield road jersey. Who knew at the time that Wakefield would be the last member of the 1995 AL East Champions to remaining with the team? Jose knew, that’s who. (Note: Trot Nixon has been with the organization longer, but not with the Major League club.)

While other fans have been forced to deface or retire their Vaughn, Clemens and Nomar jerseys, Jose has worn his Wakefield jersey year after year after year, secure in the knowledge that he will never have to remove the name or the number, each of which added $20 to the price of the garment.

In fact, Jose can only think of two decisions in his entire life that were as shrewd as the purchase of that jersey. The first was buying a tuxedo for his junior prom. Jose has worn that thing so many times that it’s saved him a fortune. The key is getting the adjustable waist and the shawl cut. While proper lapels get wider and narrow with fashion, the shawl always stays the same. With a shawl cut tuxedo, one is never in style, but one is also never out of style. Actually, this is Jose’s life philosophy. He is never completely in vogue but never completely out of vogue either. Jose’s second shrewd decision was choosing the moniker “Jose Melendez” rather than “Dario Veras.” I’m Dario Veras and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME. See… no rhythm at all.

For the full KEYS, visit

Tuesday, April 19

4/19/05 -- Balki vs. Halladay

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

1. Jose is getting upset with the Boston Globe. Not only do they keep Dan Shaughnessy on staff, not only do they continue to run Mallard Filmore, not only did they run a story today headlined “Real men exfoliate,” but they confirmed today, that they are completely and utterly without a sense of humor.

As you may recall, Jose sent a quipy email to the Globe Ombudsman asking if they had a policy against reviewing self-published books.
What he got in return was this.

“Sorry, the Globe does not review self published books.”

That’s it. One terse sentence. One terse, boring, unfunny sentence. No shtick, no dialogue, just one crummy sentence that says what it means in the smallest possible number of words. Leave it to journalistic training to crush the fun out of answering email.

If Jose was answering email for the Ombudsman’s office, he could have come up with any number of snappier answers. Consider the following:

Sorry, the Globe does not, as a matter of policy, review the ravings of lunatics, with the noteworthy exception of Bill Lee.

Sorry, the Globe does not review elf published books. (Note: That would be some great typo humor for Lord of the Rings Fans.)

Sorry, the Globe does not review the work of anyone more talented than Dan Shaughnessy, thus our book review consists largely of reviews of the novels of Jackie Collins.

Sorry, the Globe does not respond to the emails of self published auth—I’ve said too much already.

The point is that the Globe should really listen to what Jose says, and take his advice. The fact that they stubbornly cling to the professional standards of the industry is just crazy. It’s like Terry Eurona refusing to take advice from the drunkards on the first base line or Gary Sheffield failing to acknowledge the fans’ insightful observation that “he sucks.” After all, why would we, as fans, be on the sidelines in both baseball and newspaper publishing unless we had such mastery of the subjects that to actually be involved for a living would be no challenge whatsoever? Surely not because we lack aptitude.

But we live in a democratic age, where the awesome power of the “Internet” has given every crank the ability to make his voice heard. So here is what Jose proposes to do. He proposes to organize an email campaign to the Globe Ombudsman asking for a full and public accounting of why they won’t review self-published books. Jose’s goal is NOT to get his book reviewed. All that would accomplish is getting him a bad review. His goal is only to demonstrate his awesome power to annoy. As soon as we are done with the Globe, Jose promises he will organize the Internet email campaign to get Blaine Neal to throw more strikes.

So if you want to modestly inconvenience a major newspaper, send some version of the following note to

Dear ombudsman,

It has recently come to my attention that the Globe, as a matter of policy, does not review self-published books. What’s up with that? At least five people would like to know why, so if you could address it in the Ombudsman column, that would be super.

Your pal,


If the Red Sox have taught us anything, it is that, if they work together, 25 Idiots can accomplish anything. Unfortunately, most of Jose’s readers are not Idiots, so we don’t have much of a chance, but there’s no harm in trying anyway.

For the complete KEYS visit

Monday, April 18

4/18/05 -- Red Sox Day 11AM Start

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

Uggh…we’ve heard a lot about how this 11 AM start may not be ideal for night owl Curt Euro, but little has been written about how problematic it is for Jose as well. In order to be able to post by 11 AM, Jose needed to be up at nine so he would have time to get the papers, buy a cup of coffee, read the papers, do some stretches to limber up is fingers and actually write the KEYS. Also, he was kept up last night by the sounds of activity at Old North Church outside his kitchen window. He saw the one lantern in the steeple, which means that the BJays came in by land. That’s a long trip in a bus or a train. Jose would have expected them to fly. So the good news is that they’re probably even more tired than Jose.

Anyway, Jose isn’t looking to dazzle today, he’s just hoping to get by and then have enough juice left to make it through at least a few innings before he crashes on the couch. (Note: Would greenies help? Jose read the piece in the Globe yesterday and they sound pretty helpful. Thank God baseball focused on trying to silence Jim Bouton 30 years ago rather than cleaning up the game. It’s really paid dividends.)

For the full KEYS visit

Sunday, April 17

4/17/05 - Wake vs. Kazmir

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

Jose spent a chilly evening at the ballpark last night sitting in the prohibitionary "family section," sections 32 and 33 of the left field grandstand, where a beer at the ball game is every bit as forbidden as the traditional crack pipe at the seventh inning stretch. But how does making it alcohol free make it a family section? One fan sitting near Jose pointed out quite rightly that if they really want it to be a family section, they should only charge $10 for tickets. No, in truth it is not really the family section, but the Women’s Christian Temperance Section. Actually, as long as they have a twenties mindset regarding alcohol in sections 32 and 33, perhaps they should adopt some other twenties features as well. Surely, no one would object to mandatory flapper dresses for women sitting there? And the concession stands are already a good approximation of bread lines anyway.

Of course with prohibition in effect in left field, the opening of a left field grandstand speakeasy is, perhaps, inevitable. Jose would love to be the left field beer baron, he just needs to come up with a way to sneak in enough booze to meet demand past Nobel laureate Steven Chin and the rest of Fenway Park’s crack security staff. (Note: With the last name Chin, shouldn’t Steven Chin be running the left field bootlegging operation? He could go by the name Stevie the Chin.) So far the only ideas Jose has come up with is putting a baseball cap on a keg and claiming it’s a kid in a wheelchair… which is just morally wrong, or some sort of deal where Jose claims that the keg is an iron lung that he needs to live. Obviously there is a reason that Jose is not yet a beer baron.

For the full KEYS visit