Saturday, May 21

5/21/05 Wafefield vs. Davies

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

"Suspended" Sox hurler Balki Arroyo escaped from the asylum or a few hours yesterday to visit with fellow suspendee Zack Alves. Alves, a student in Norton, Massachusetts, was suspended for imitating Arroyo, not by throwing at batters, but by styling his hair in dreadlocks. In Jose’s opinion, this is outrageous. Alves should never have been suspended for imitating Arroyo, as he had dreadlocks, whereas anyone with even the slightest understanding of hair styling knows that Arroyo had cornrows.

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Friday, May 20

4/20/05 -- Shark vs. Bear

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

1. Jose had a cyst removed from his right leg yesterday. It was thoroughly unpleasant, and he wasn’t really expecting it. Jose went in assuming that the doctor would simply say "Ah yes, you have a cyst, let’s make an appointment to do something about it" and then send Jose on his way. Jose had lived with the thing for ten years, he could have waited a few more weeks. But the doctor went right to work cutting it squeezing it and pulling it out of Jose’s leg. It was sort of like watching Gaylord Perry handle a baseball. So now, the thing gets sent off for a biopsy to find out exactly what it is. Is it a green pussy infection or a collection of disgusting, useless fatty cells? In other words Jose needs to wait to find out if he had Eric Byrnes in his leg or David Wells. By the way, if anyone was even considering worrying about Jose don’t. There was no chance that he had Jose Offerman of the leg – in other words no cancer.

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Wednesday, May 18

5/18/05 -- Revenge of Wells

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

1. Yes, yes, Jose knows the game has already started, but who knew it was a day game? Clearly not Jose.

Jose is not completely sure, but there is some evidence that Balki Arroyo will spend the next six days in a psychiatric ward. According to Sox manager Terry Eurona, “This is a forced vacation.” Jose knows that the official line is that Arroyo was suspended, but that always seemed a little absurd. Arroyo protects teammates from brutal plunking and he gets the suspension? Right. Let’s be honest, a mental institution seems like a far more logical explanation. And what else could “forced vacation” mean?

Jose’s only concern is that they may give him a lobotomy while he’s in there. Jose is pretty sure Mark Bellhorn used to be all chirpy and smiley until he got “suspended.”

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Tuesday, May 17

5/17/04 – Antipope Clement XV vs. Zito

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

1. Jose would like to come clean about something. Last year, he claimed that the Melendezette had taught him to taunt Ichiro with Japanese language shouts of “Hey Ichiro, your mom is hot.”

This is not true. It is no more true than Pudge Rodriguez being the Most Valuable Player in 1999 or Titanic being the best film of 1997. It is may be even less true. Those things at least have a little trophy vouching for the lie. Jose’s got nothing. What Jose should have said is that the Melendezette TRIED to teach him to say that. She tried, but much like Trot Nixon when it comes to left handed pitching, Jose just can’t learn. Jose’s actual Japanese ability is limited to saying “watashi wa beeru o nomemasu” -- I drink beer. This statement is not a lie, but it is a mediocre taunt at best.

Jose should have come clean about this sooner, especially since the Sox are now done with Seattle for the year, but this is better than never… marginally. Besides, as it turns out, it wouldn’t have mattered if he had taunted Ichiro on his mom’s hotness anyway. Ichiro wouldn’t have understood it.

Last weekend, Jose hosted two guests from Japan, his best friend from when he was eight years old, who he had not seen in 14 years, and his friend’s wife. Since the Sox were playing Seattle last weekend and Jose’s friend is a big baseball fan, Jose regaled him with stories of his alleged taunt of Ichiro. His friend did not understand at all, and with good reason. First, what the Melendezette had tried to teach Jose means “Hey Ichiro your mom is cool” rather than hot. (Note: The Melendezette told Jose this at the time, but he didn’t want to hear it… he wasn’t going to say it anyway, so what difference did it make?) Second, it simply did not make any sense in that context to a Japanese person. Why would you say someone’s mother was attractive if you had never met her? If you had met her and she was hot, why would this be an insult? Even after an extremely lengthy explanation of the American tradition of insulting someone by remarking on the attractiveness of his mother, he still found it incomprehensible.

“He would not have understood,” Jose’s friend responded with certainty.

Apparently, the Japanese lack our rich cultural heritage of mother jokes. It’s a shame. Instead, they must settle for kabuki, chanoyu and pachinko.

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Monday, May 16

5/16/05 – Balki vs. Saaaaarloooos

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

1. Jose would like to formally apologize to Manny Ramirez. On Friday Jose did a joke about Manny’s mom being ashamed of his fielding, and then, almost immediately, it came out that his mom is sick. Having a sick parent is nothing to joke about, so let Jose be clear.
Manny, Jose is sorry. He wants you to know that that joke was about you, not your mom. And he wishes her a full and speedy recovery

However, Jose doesn’t feel like everyone shares his concern. The news that Manny has been distracted by his mother’s illness, an illness he could not remember the name of, set off some rather unsettling speculation that Manny might be using family problems as an excuse. It even resurrected old rumors that Manny may have lied about his grandmother passing away to get out of a few games before the All-Star break a few years ago. Jose will never ever go there. As a lesson from the life of his mother taught him to know better.

In her youth, Jose’s mother went on a date with an assistant professor or teaching fellow or some such thing, and he told her that when he had given an exam that week, 10 students were absent claiming that a grandmother had died.

“Why didn’t you call them on it?” asked Jose’s mother.

“Because what if someone’s grandmother really had died?” the professor replied.

Next week Jose’s mother had to cancel their second date because her grandmother really did die.

So that’s the question: What if Manny’s grandmother really did die? What if his mother really is sick?

Unless there is concrete proof that he is lying, all insinuations should just stop. It’s mean and it’s wrong. Now let’s move on to speculating about Tony Castrati’s recent unexplained absence.

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