Monday, January 8

Rites of Passage, Lefts of Passage

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.

1. In our society, as in every other, there are rites of passage, key points that mark major achievements or moments of transition in one’s life. Some are complex ceremonies marking specific accomplishments. A bar mitzvah marks the transition to adulthood as expressed in religious participation. First communion marks arrival at an age where one can choose salvation. Graduation marks the paying of tuition on time and not drinking oneself out of college. Other rites of passage are quieter, without formal pomp yet pregnant with a quiet importance: getting a driver’s license, signing a draft card, casting a first vote, attending a first Red Sox game. And yet there are other rites of passage that lack the ceremonial significance of a graduation and the silent dignity of pledging to kill and die for one’s country if called upon. It is a passage in this third category that Jose has made today. Yes, Jose’s soul is calm with solemnity, his chest expanded with pride… today Jose got his first subpoena.

Now, Jose does not want you, the little people, his faithful readers, to worry that he is going to think he’s better then you just because he has been subpoenaed and you have not. Sure, important government officials, after careful study, have determined that Jose may have information so critical, so important that it could take away a man’s freedom or his money, but that does not mean that Jose is any better than you. No, he is not better, just more important.

And so Jose will share something with you. Because most of you will never be important enough to be subpoenaed, Jose, from his experientially advanced positions will tell you what it’s like.

Being subpoenaed is a little like having a line drive hit directly at you. It is exciting, it makes one feel special and it is potentially dangerous, if one is not careful. Jose doesn’t know yet, but he expects the aftermath is comparable too. In both cases only two things can happen, either everything goes back to normal or one ends up facing serious bills for professional services. (note: legal or medical).

For those of you who are concerned about what Jose has gotten himself into, allow him to reassure you. Jose is not in any kind of trouble, yet he feels that it is best not to offer any specifics until the process is over. He will let you know this much, however. He has not been called in as a character witness against Karim Garcia from his bullpen brawl of some years back. He will not comment on whether it has anything to do with Ugueth Urbina’s machete incident.

2. Jose was originally going to fill this key with all kind of quipy headlines about Randy Johnson’s departure from New York. But then Jose thought better of it and realized that Jose’s readers are sophisticated, worldly sorts. The kind of folks who would get little pleasure from a series of one-liners like “Yanks No Longer Randy, Yet Still Unsatisfied” and other puns concerning states of sexual arousal and male genitalia and, as a last resort, tall jokes.

Instead, Jose will offer some keen analysis on what the Yankees get from this deal. Unfortunately it looks good for the pinstriped pea brains. First, it instantly makes their locker room less ugly. Second, in minor leaguer Alberto Gonzales they pick up a sitting Attorney General who has authorized the use of torture. You know, Steinbrenner has longed for the authority to waterboard for decades (note: how many times did he express a desire to strip Dave Winfield naked and point at his genitals?), and now he has it. A-Rod should be feeling very, very uncomfortable. Third, the Yankees pick up another quality relief arm in Jose Vizcaino and a promising your arm in Ross Ohlendorf. Finally, the acquisition of minor leaguer pitcher Steven Jackson gives the Yankees a prospect who, in addition to having a mean streak, a nasty three point shot, and gun charges pending against him, is also the owner of the role playing game company which produces Car Wars, which is a lot of fun if you are a nerd. Though on the downside, when all of the Yankees are in the clubhouse pregame rolling die to determine whether their turreted recoilless rifles have inflicted any damage on the Killer Kart opposite them during their autoduel at Double Drum in Waco Texas, Jose strongly suspects that everyone will gang up on A-Rod and spray his make-believe car with machine gun fire and flechettes.

Between the torture and the role playing games, it looks like a good trade for the Yankees and a bad trade for Alex Rodriguez.

3. Last week, the Red Sox signed former Mariner’s starter Jor-El Piniero to a $4 million, one-year deal, with the hope that he could be converted into a closer. There’s been a lot of skepticism about this move, but let Jose go on record as saying he loves this deal. Loves it!

Sure his ERA has gone up in every year since 2001. Yes, his K-Rate is way down, and his performance has never really recovered since he suffered an elbow injury. But, if you want to focus on all of these sabermetricy, moneyball, statistical stuff, you aren’t really getting the full picture. Let’s look at the facts:

FACT: The guy is Superman’s father
FACT: He will be the first Red Sox ever to be played in a film by Marlon Brando, though Brando has been rumored as a potential lead in “The El Guapo Story.” (Note: Much like Rich Garces, just because no one’s seen Brando for a while, it doesn’t mean he’s dead.)
FACT: As long as the sun doesn’t turn red, it’s a good bet that he’ll recover from his injuries.

So why shouldn’t the Sox take a chance on him. Would you take a chance on a pitcher named Peter Parker? Or Bruce Banner? Of course you would. In fact the Red Sox can sign any comic book character they want as a closer and Jose will be happy. Unless, it’s Matt Murdoch. Daredevil sucks.

It's like Jose's seeing double

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.


Adam said...

Yay Car Wars! I have happy memories of whiling away weekends playing that while I was in high school.

The nerdliness here would be complete if the next entry contained a Magic: the Gathering reference.

Jose Melendez said...

Hello? Car Wars is cool, because technically it's not a role-playing game, since you play the car, not the character

Magic is for nerds.

Actually, quick story. Jose had a tournament when year and a first round match up pitted the most experienced player among us versus a friend's cousin, who was in town from DC. The cousin ended up running around outside of his car after it was disabled. As his opponent’s car closed in on him, the cousin declared. I take out my bowie knife and through it through the windshield killing you. The opponent was not amused.

Anyway, 15 years later the cousin went off to fight in Iraq, and we all took comfort in knowing that as long as he had a bowie knife, he was pretty much invulnerable.

Jenn said...

I know many people who still own a lot of magic cards. And still buy them. I won't name names.

And also, I have never been to a Red Sox game. Even after living in Boston for six years. Isn't right is it? Maybe Fall 2007.

Don't have a seizure Jose.

Jose Melendez said...

So you haven't been to a Red Sox game, but have you been subpoenaed?

Also, in China do they have pirated magic cards and if so, do they have the same powers as real magic cards?

Adam said...

I think I disagree about whether you play the car as opposed to the character in Car Wars. The driver has attributes and needs to make rolls when performing difficult maneuvers, and the character can gain experience assuming he is not shot up during the duel (which usually happened to me). Essentially, the car is a really fancy, multifaceted piece of equipment which can be "un-equipped" as indicated in the above comment about getting out and throwing the Bowie knife.

Jose Melendez said...

Then why did Yankees farmhand Steven Jackson also produce a role playing game called GURPS Autoduel. GURPS of course being Genric Universal Role Playing System or possibly "Gene Upshaw's Really President of a Sports" union.

Adam said...

Because he felt like it?