Tuesday, April 17

Making It To the Show

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

1. Jose has arrived.

At long last, in his fourth season of toil in the seedier districts of Red Sox blogdom, Jose has at last emerged into the mainstream alternative press. The first hint came prior to opening day, when Jose’s blog email received a press release from NPR informing him that they would be airing an interview with slugger Gary Sheffield on the subject of the steroid scandal. Needless to say, Jose dismissed it as spam, assuming that NPR stood for the Nigerian Petroleum Resource, and that Gary Sheffield, his career nearing a close, was figuring to raise some money by offering large finders fees to anyone who would send him checks. It appears now, though it remains unconfirmed, that NPR may have stood for National Public Radio, and the story may have been legit. Whoops.

What has changed Jose’s mind is an email he received on Sunday morning from The New Yorker, the esteemed intellectual magazine that is best known for it’s cerebral black and white cartoons, which, as a saying of undermined origin has it, could all be better captioned “Go f*ck yourself.” It seems that in the years since Tina Brown fled the smoldering ruins of the magazine, it had abandoned its policy of writing exclusively on Spike Lee and Woody Allen, and had rededicated itself to its previous, long-standing editorial policy of publishing non-fiction articles on subjects about which Jose gives a sh*t. In this, case Manny Ramirez.

The New Yorker, validated Jose’s existence, by sending him an advanced copy of the Manny story by Ben McGrath, scheduled to run in the April 23 issue (note: the one with the clever drawing on the cover) and a press release offering Jose the invitation interview McGrath. Okay, technically, it was an invitation to anyone getting the release, but Jose will pretend it was just him, because that makes him feel loved.

The excellent and lively profile, enriched by an unprecedented nine minutes of interview time with Manny (note: nice job Ben!) offers a number of fascinating revelations, including:

  • When then Sox GM Dan Duquette asked Manny why he sometimes stepped into the batters box after ball four, Manny responded “I don’t keep track of the balls. I don’t keep track of the strikes, either, until I got two. Duke, I’m up there looking for a pitch I can hit. If I don’t get it, I wait for the umpire to tell me to go to first. Isn’t that what you’re paying me to do?”
  • David Ortiz’s comment for the story? “Manny Ramirez is a crazy motherf*cker.

Sadly absent, was any comment on the rumor that Ramirez is from Mars and simply groks hitting.

Of course, now as Jose rereads the press release, he notices that the issue is currently on the stands, so much for having the inside track. Guess Jose isn’t so big time after all.

(Note: That said, Jose is going to try to send some questions about the article off to author Ben McGrath. Post your questions in the comments section of KEYS and Jose will send them along. Unless they’re stupid. Then he promises nothing.)

Stranger in a Strange Land

2. Jose went to the Patriot’s Day game yesterday with a nervous Sam Melendez, Jose’s brother, who was wracked with anxiety about whether delays to the start of the game would force him to leave early to see his marathon running girlfriend romp through Kenmore Square. As we passed the time waiting for the rain delay to be lifted and the game to begin, Sam taunted Jose with what he assured him would be some “great KEYS material.”

“Fantastic,” responded Jose. “Jose loves things that write themselves.”

Sam dangled the material coyly, allowing anticipation to build until the third inning when he finally saw fit to reveal his insight. His suggestion, his comic vision, was that when it came time to sing Sweet Caroline in the eighth inning stretch, Red Sox fans should belt out “loving me, loving Drew” instead of “loving me, loving you.”

Umm… okay.

Sam explained that this would honor right fielder DJ Dru and was totally funny when he was at a game once sitting next to some guy named Drew.

Jose remained underwhelemed.

“Jose supposes he could use that,” he responded slowly. “Maybe in a KEY about how you gave him this really unfunny idea. Really, that idea is like a Wily Mo Pena at bat this year. Lots of anticipation, even more disappointment.” (Note: Okay, Jose didn’t actually use the Wily Mo metaphor, but at least he’s going to come clean now, lest Seth Mnookin write one of his holier than thou, “hey, this guy is totally making things up” articles about Jose. Jose needs to fend those off, lest anyone learn the awful truth that he is not actually a Puerto Rican former big league reliever.)

But Sam Melendez was not to be denied. He thought for a moment and then fired back.

“Even though ‘loving me, loving Drew’ is funny, how about this. Since we’re platooning Coco Crisp and Wily Mo Pena in the outfield and neither of them can hit these days, can’t we just call them Kokomo for short?”

Yes. Yes, we can. Song lyrics to follow.

3. An open letter to the two women outside that bar who told Jose that game time had been postponed until 1:05.

Dear Two Women,

Thanks a lot. As you know, Jose hates entering the ballgame before it starts on a rainy day, lest he get stuck sitting in the rain swilling $7 beers for three hours before game time. So it was incredibly thoughtful of you, as you saw Jose and his brother walking by about to leave the marathon to go to the park for the 12:15 start, to ring your cowbells loudly and announce that first pitch had been delayed until 1:05.

Even though first pitch had not been delayed until 1:05, Jose really appreciates it, because had he gotten there on time, he might have seen the first seven runs of the nine scored that day, and why would he want that? Jose goes to games to see pitching and defense, not run scoring. What a shame that Jose’s brother snuck into the bar to urinate and saw that the game had started, or we might have missed two or three inning, and kept the game to two hours. Oh well. What’s done is done.

Anyway, thanks again, and please let Jose know if he can ever return the favor. If you need him to tell you what time a plane departs, whether you’re supposed to cross the street on red or green, or how often to take your heart medication, he’ll be happy to help.

Your pal,

Jose Melendez B.A.

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

No comments: