Thursday, July 21

7/21/05 – Sox vs. Bizarro Sox

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

1. As we creep towards the trade deadline, a rumor has emerged that the Red Sox are working on a major three way deal with Minnesota and Florida.

The proposed deal would send Umlaut Mueller and Kevin Millar to Minnesota for J.C. Romero and Joe Mays. Mays would then be shipped along with Balki Arroyo to the Florida Marlins for pitcher A.J. Burnett and, god forbid, Mike Lowell. Let’s break down the possible consequences of this trade.

• A major shift from scripted programming to reality television. By dumping the loveable Balki from “Perfect Strangers” and replacing him with Burnett, the guy who created Survivor (note: or stole it from European television, both are good) the Red Sox are finally casting their lot with reality TV, albeit five years too late. This one has T.V. Tom Werner’s fingerprints all over it.
• Destabilizing the Merrimack Valley. Do you really think that you can acquire Mike Lowell and not Brian Lawrence without repercussions? Not bloody likely.

• Trot Nixon will need a new number. Why, because the Red Sox must, absolutely must give J.C. Romero the number 7 once worn by Ed Romero or all of Ed’s fans won’t be able to bring their old replica jerseys out of the mothballs. Sorry Trot, this has to happen.

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• Improved performance for Wade Miller. With Wade Miller free from the constant distraction of having to explain that he’s the one with no umlaut and no “a” in his name, he will be able to fully concentrate on actually pitching… and maybe even in the first inning.

• Decrease in the price of gas. With Kevin Youkilis becoming a permanent member of the big league club the decrease in trips between Boston and Pawtucket should put a major dent in the demand for gasoline, thereby lowering prices.

Wednesday, July 20

7/20/05 - Tony Graffanino debut spectacular

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez drew some heat yesterday for disappearing into the left field wall of Fenway Park on Monday night and missing the better part of a pitch as a result. When asked yesterday why he had gone into the wall, Ramirez defied the conventional wisdom, that he had gone in to cool down with the help of a mist sprayer, by stating that he entered the wall in order to urinate in a cup.

Assuming that this is true, and why wouldn’t it be, Jose would like to take this opportunity to publicly condemn Major League Baseball. Jose is all in favor of random, unannounced steroid tests, but having them in the middle of the game? That just seems extreme, unnecessary and more than a little bit silly.

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Tuesday, July 19

7/19/05 -- Balki vs. Fossum

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

1. On his recent trip through the Balkans, Jose, never much of a linguist, only managed to pick up only a few words of Albanian. He learned that “po” means “yes” and that “yo” means “no.” (Note: Do Albanians think that Rocky ended with Balboa rejecting dumping his wife with the phrase “Yo, Adrian?” What about Yo MTV Raps? Did they think it was a show protesting the evils of rap music?) The only other words he learned were “Katastrophe,” “catastrophe” in English, which is quite useful in describing the Sox recent performance, and “boston” which means “watermelon.”

Boston does not mean watermelon in all Albanian dialects, just in the Kosovo dialect. Apparently, it also means watermelon in Serbo-Croatian. The term is said to originate from Turkish. Jose found this discovery a bit ironic, as this year’s Boston baseball club has born an uncanny resemblance to the juicy red melon. Much like a watermelon, the Boston Red Sox look from the outside quite substantial, but when one really presses the contents, one discovers that much of the substance of the team, much of what looked so solid, disappears and all that remains is a pulpy red mess.

Jose assume that if Boston is a word for a fruit in Kosovo Albanian, our other rivals’ city names must also mean some sort of fruit. Jose hasn’t looked it up or anything, but he has a few guesses.
New York, Jose presumes, is Albanian for pomegranate, and like the pomegranate, the New York club is excessively expensive, decadent, mostly made from useless material (note: seeds, Jason Giambi, same thing) and when one looks inside, deeply divided.

Baltimore is Albanian for coconut. At first it doesn’t look like it’s going to be any good, but then you crack it open, sample it and discover that it’s a lot better than you expected. Then it gives you the trots, and you realize that maybe it wasn’t so good after all.

Toronto is Albanian for star fruit. Every time you see it, it looks intriguing and even though it was bad the last time you tried it, you think maybe this time it will be different, maybe this time it will be good. It is not, and neither are the Blue Jays.

Tampa Bay is Albanian for moldy, rotten, foul smelling oranges. They look bad, they smell bad and they only get worse with time.

Yes, Jose knows that comparing American League East teams to fruit is absurd, pointless and frustrating, but so is talking about the Red Sox, so fruit it is.

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Monday, July 18

7/18/05 – Jose returns from DL

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

1. After an unprecedented 20 days on the disabled list, Jose returns to action today. He rejoins a Red Sox team that has lost five out of six against division rivals and badly needs his assistance. But will he be the same Jose as before his injury? The early results are discouraging.

While Jose professes to feel better than ever, he has not looked sharp in side sessions or simulated games thus far. His grammar has been a little shaky, his quips lackluster and his spelling, never one of his strong suits, has been abysmal. Since he has not yet looked like his old self, there has been some discussion that management, rather than asking Jose to write full KEYS, will have him write relief KEYS for a while, in other words, letting someone else write the first KEY or two and then coming in to write the third KEY if the game looks close coming down the stretch. There are even some rumors that Jose was the first to suggest this approach.
While Jose has offered to do anything that will help the team, some Red Sox have suggested that the idea is foolish at best.

When asked to comment on the situation (note: or even when not asked to comment on the situation) centerfielder Johnny Damon said, “You’ve got a lot of upset people in here. I don’t think he’s ready to be our closer. I think SoSHers like kevlog or Nuf Ced are the choice as the closer. I mean, not only does Jose not have long luxurious hair like me, he’s also not even really Mexican. By the way, did I mention that I love seeing my name in the paper. Not that I can read or anything, but I just like people telling me it’s there.”

Added first baseman Kevin Millar, “If you try to take my starting job away from me, I’ll cut you.”

Also at issue, is Jose’s rehabilitation routine. Rather than go to team physicians, Jose is rumored to have sought care in the Balkans, undertaking a course of treatment that was said to include drinking no fewer that 15 tiny cups of macchiato every day, while fending off questions as to why he did not know that former Albanian Prime Minister Fan Noli is buried in Boston.

Jose would like to address these rumors directly. Yes, he was in the Balkans, but not for himself, for the good of the team. How is it for the good of the team? Well, if studying strategies for bringing a lasting peace to one of the world’s most unstable regions isn’t important to the Red Sox, Jose doesn’t know what is. Do you really think the Red Sox can be successful without successful final status negotiations in Kosovo, a complete implementation of the Ohrid Framework agreement in Macedonia and a dramatic decrease in corruption in Albania? Let us not forget that Ted Williams missed what would have been some of his best seasons fighting in World War II, which was a direct consequence of World War I which started in, you guessed it, the Balkans. So unless you want John Papelbon to end up in the U.S. Air Force right when he’s coming into his prime, cut Jose some slack.

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