Friday, April 6

Rock, Paper, Scissors

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

1. He really is “The Devious One.”

Forget about the snazzy array of fastballs, sliders and change ups Mr. Matsu showed yesterday in his American debut, forget about the fact that, for the first time since Pedro left town, a Red Sox game had that “any time this guy pitches something amazing could happen” feeling. Forget it all. What struck Jose was the mind games. Devious, indeed.

According to the Red Sox radio broadcast, prior to the game Mr. Matsu apparently announced that his first regular season pitch in the Majors was going to be a fastball. He came right on out and said it. That is, of course, insane. David DeJesus is a legitimate Major Leaguer, and near .300 hitter, and you’re just going to tell him what the first pitch is? It is lunacy, it is irresponsible, it is… brilliant.

It’s like Rock, Paper, Scissors really. For years, Jose could not beat his brother at RPS. Couldn’t do it. Whenever there was an important decision to be made, like who would get the window seat on an airplane, or who would get mom’s liver in a pinch, we’d go RPS, and Jose would lose. Every time he would lose. Maybe he could pick out one win in a best of three series, but he was absolutely the pre-2004 Red Sox. No matter what he did, no matter what he tried, he always came up short. But then he learned to be devious. One day, he heard a story on NPR about the world Rock, Paper, Scissors championship. In it, the reporter went up against a professional, who told her, in a very intense manner, before they began “I’m going to throw rock.” And here’s the amazing thing. He did throw rock. And he won.

He told her what he was going to do, he did it, and she responded by doing the one thing that would guarantee defeat, throwing scissors. Jose was amazed. Since then, he has adopted this strategy. And his fortunes have changed considerably. Now he reliably wins RPS showdowns with his brother by declaring “Jose is going to throw rock” before each throw. And in his brother’s eyes, in that brief second before the throw, Jose can tell what he’s thinking, whether he sees the loyal and honest brother, who surely would never lie about something as inconsequential as his next throw, or whether he sees the aggressive older brother, twisting his arm behind his back until he tapped out in backyard wrestling matches. And with that knowledge, Jose can identify the right throw to make.

This is basically what Matsuzaka did yesterday. He looked David DeJesus, straight in the eye, told him what he was going to throw, and then threw it.

The truth. How much more devious can you get?

Because while it was the truth in that case, the truth sets up the future lie. He did what he said he was going to do, making it all the more astonishing at some key point in the future when Mr. Matsu will reveal what he plans to do and then NOT do it. Even the home run DeJesus hit in the sixth (note: by the way, he fouled off Dice-K’s first pitch) was probably an ultimate setup for something big down the road. At least, that’s Jose’s story.

But this is far bigger than DeJesus.

Sometime in the future, Mr. Matsu will casually tip a pitch, let some critical batter know his plan, perhaps at the biggest moment of his career. And at that moment, the batter will know, will be certain, that the fastball is coming. After all, Matsuzaka told the truth to David DeJesus. And he’ll see it in slow motion, the ball flying out of Dice-Ks hand, spinning toward the plate.

“He did it, he really did it,” the batter will think. “He tipped fastball, and now it’s coming. I’ve got a bead on it, I’m going to crush, it. I’m going to be the hero.”

His shoulder makes the violent transition from cocked to swinging, his weight shifts from back foot to front, and the slab of ash whips around like a… well, like a whip. Collision imminent, bat to ball, he tenses his forearm ready for the recoil, and then…
Back to full speed. The ball drops. Drops heavy, like a ton of bricks on Jupiter. Woosh. Strike three, side retired.

And there’s the batter, twisted, contorted, with nothing to do, nothing to think save “But he tipped fastball. He told me he was throwing fastball.”

Rock, paper scissors shoot.

God, the truth can be devious.

2. With all of the attention that has been lavished on Matsuzaka thus far, all of the in depth analysis of his pitches, his background, his wife, the origin of his first name, foods that have been named for him and so on, you’d think someone would have paid attention to his atypically spectacular ass. But no.

Not until someone asked Rococo Crisp to comment on how Matsuzaka looked from center field, did anyone bother to point out “He’s got a nice butt.”

How has this not been news? Jose can say, as a nominally Japanese guy, that we are not known for our butts. We are not a proud-assed people. And yet, Matsuzaka has the stamp of approval from his center fielder. This is nothing short of astonishing. It is as improbable as the birth of a two headed pig, the emergence of an eight foot tall man or Alfonso Soriano taking a walk. Jose never thought he’d see it in his life time and yet here it is. For decades we Japanese have been know for our craftsmanship, our austere elegance and our mastery of kung fu, but now, at long last, we are finally, finally know for producing one great ass.

The pride of a nation

3. According to the bloated harpies at the Inside Track, Megatron Lowe, has been conducting a revisionist campaign to rewrite the story of his failed marriage. According to Lowe, he did not begin to engage in sexual intercourse with Fox Sports Net reporter Carolyn Hughes until after his marriage had ended, despite strong evidence to the contrary. “We just made out,” said the formerly Paranoid Android (note: in Jose’s imagination). “And it’s been established by Congress that oral does not is not adultery. So no big deal.”

Lowe added “Also, I never got taken out of the rotation for the 2004 playoffs, I asked to go to long relief. And I won two games in the 2003 ALCS. Also, I am the Sultan of Freedonia.”

In related news, Derek Lowe is still a hero, a legend really. He’s a sort of sleazy adulterous hero, but a hero nevertheless.

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

1 comment:

mary mary said...

Good ol' rock. Nothing beats that!