Friday, August 5

8/5/05 -- Balkie vs. Radke

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

1. Man-E-Faces Ramirez sat yesterday following a horrific collision with shortstop Edgar Renteria on Wednesday night. Lest anyone assume that Manny is faking, the Globe printed a picture of Manny’s blood filled right eye on the front page of the sports section. (Note: Jose is eagerly anticipating certain bigots on WEEI claiming that Manny is just wearing contact lenses that create the illusion of blood in order to get out of playing.)

Jose knows exactly how this feels. When he was a sophomore in high school he took a thumb to the eye while playing pickup basketball and ended up with a crimson eyeball for the better part of a month. Jose wavered for a few days between wearing an eye patch and sunglasses to school before finally settling on the sunglasses because they made in far easier to sleep in class.

Here’s what Jose learned from the experience—bloody eyeballs are gross. People are tempted to look at them, but are disgusted by what they see. They unsettle people; they disturb them. This can be a weapon Manny, and Jose urges you to use it. When you step in tonight against Twins starter Brad Radke open your eyes wide and make sure he gets a good look; consider bringing a magnifying glass to the plate so he’ll be sure to see every ruptured corpuscle. If the doctors have proscribed ointment to deal with it, why not put it in while standing in the batter’s box? Talk about how it oozes. Do you think Radke has the constitution to deal with that? This is a psychological advantage Manny. Use it.

For the complete KEYS visit

Thursday, August 4

8/4/05 – And Batting Clean Up Roberto Petagine

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

Have you ever had a few too many beers and done something you wish you hadn’t? Not Jose. Never. Well at least not until last night. Jose is ashamed to admit it, but after his fifth or sixth beer he got a little tipsy and… God it’s embarrassing even to whisper it . Uggh…

It’s not that Jose is anti-wave. In fact, he sort of likes it within certain well defined boundaries. The wave is fine whenever the opposing team is batting in the fifth, sixth or seventh innings as long as the Sox have the lead. But Jose, as best he can recall, gave it a shot in the eighth inning with the Sox at bat. Just bad form… terrible.

But there is an explanation for all of this. This was not about starting the wave. That would be lame. This was about starting a delayed wave, which is a sophisticated Dadaist commentary on contemporary mores. Jose’s brother Sam Melendez is the inventor of the delayed wave concept, an idea marvelous in its simplicity. All one has to do is wait until three seconds after the wave goes by and then stand up and do the wave. The Wave, as anyone who saw the after school special “The Wave” about a high school where a history starts a fascist movement called The Wave to show his students that Nazism could happen anywhere, is a metaphor for from the breakdown of individual identity when one submits to the compact unity of a fascist state. The delayed wave is a rejection of complete submission to the dominant strain of social organization without rejecting the organizing principles themselves. Or it is something that is amusing to do while drunk. Both characterizations are good.

Last night we had almost all of section 36 organized to do the delayed wave, and then the idiots trying to start the wave in the sixth inning couldn’t get the job done. Jose was left in the uncomfortable position of trying to start a wave in order to create the possibility of the delayed wave. This is like trying to hit a sacrifice fly as the first batter of an inning. It is simply absurd. And so, the internal contradictions of Jose’s plan collapsed the intellectual superstructure of the idea leaving a smoking intellectual carcass in the bleachers.

(Note: Jose would like to point out that if we had traded Manny last night’s painful collision between Manny and Edgar Renterria would not have happened. Not only, would Mike Cameron have been in the collision rather than Manny, but ER would have been much less hurt, as Mike Cameron’s head is famously soft and malleable.)

For the complete KEYS visit

Wednesday, August 3

8/3/05 –Jose goes for 10-1

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

(Note: For those of you who wasked about KEYS merchandise at the Bash it is available here.)1. Now that Man-E-Faces Ramirez has claimed “It’s Just Manny Being Manny” as his own personal tagline, Jose thinks it’s time that we look at the potential marketing opportunities. To that end, Jose Melendez is proud to present some possible ad copy.

“Hi, I’m Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez. I like hitting the ball, hiding in the wall and eating delicious tuna salad. But when I eat my tuna salad, I don’t want it made with Miracle Whip or oil, for me it’s not tuna salad unless it’s made with real Mayonnaise—Hellman’s Mayonnaise. So the next time you’re at the super market remember: Hellman’s—It’s Just Mayonnaise Being Mayonnaise.”

“This is Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox. Like a lot of you, I’m a big fan of the fine arts. But when I want some culture, I’m not looking for pointillism, cubism, Dadaism or any of this modernist crap. That’s why I like to visit the impressionist galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts. Because at the MFA it’s just Manet Being Manet.”

“Shalom. This is World Series MVP Manny Ramirez. The high holidays are just around the corner and you know what that means? Wine. Whenever Gabe Kapler, Kevin Youkilis, Adam Stern or Theo Epstein chat with me about Rosh Hashanah dinner they always ask me ‘Manny, I was thinking about trying a dryer sacred wine tonight. What do you think?’ And I always give the same response. ‘Stick with Manischewitz in delicious concord grape, boysenberry and black cherry flavors. Sure, it’s a sweeter wine, but isn’t sweet how you’d like your new year to be? Remember with Manischewitz, the first name in kosher wines, It’s Just Mani [schewitz] being Mani [schewitz].’”

For the complete KEYS visit

Tuesday, August 2

8/2/05 – Jose goes for 9-1

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

1. Strike up the band—

And play something peppy. How about the “Popeye the Sailor Man” theme? Yes, Jose knows you’re a classically trained musician and you studied at Julliard, but this is Jose’s dime and you’ll play what you’re told.

Let Manny be Manny,Though he’s kind of uncanny,Cause he’s still a Red Sox man. (Toot, toot)
Yeah…that’s the stuff.

(Note: Come on. You know that “I am what I am bit was written about Manny. It has to have been.)

Apparently, the Red Sox made several efforts over the weekend to trade star slugger Man-E-Faces Ramirez prior to the trading deadline. Really. Yes, yes, Jose knows it sounds crazy, what with them being in first place and all, but it actually happened.

Jose had no idea, of course, as he tends not to read the sports page, just foolish men distracting themselves with vulgar games to Jose’s mind. But then, while reading the op-ed section of the Boston Globe today, Jose noticed a piece by noted conspiracy theorist Joan Vennochi sandwiched in between the latest picayune jape by Thomas Oliphant and James Carroll’s latest highly literate condemnation of God knows what.

Now, Vennochi has been known to be a little out there, so Jose checked carefully with some of his inside sources, and it turns out it’s true. The Red Sox really did try to trade the modern day Jimmie Foxx.

Even considering trading Manny and prospects for Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron is a sign of madness. And now that management has acquired light fielding outfielder Jose Cruz Jr., Jose is worried that things could get much worse.

Jose is deeply concerned that Cruz may go on one of those anti-psychiatry rants that his brother Tom has been on lately, and convince Theo and the Magi not to take the meds they so desperately need to escape delusions like the hallucination that the proposed deal was even remotely acceptable. If that happens, who knows what they might do next. They could even do something as irrational as leaving Roberto Petagine in Pawtucket until September call ups.

For the complete KEYS visit