It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME. In his New York Post column today, George King compared the streaking Yankees (note: they’ve won two in a row!) to a drunk struggling to make it through his first days of sobriety, constantly reminding himself that the goal is not to be sober forever, but simply to “make it through the day.” If this analogy were correct, Jose would declare that the relapse is coming any day now, and that the men in pinstripes will, very soon, find themselves once again passed out in a Bronx gutter, their mouths bloodied, their wallets missing and stinking of Rubinoff Vodka, cheap Kyrgyz perfume and failure.
But Jose does not accept the analogy. The Yankees are nothing like an alcoholic slogging timidly towards a better life. If they were, they would be following the twelve steps, and they decidedly are not. Just look.
1. Admitting that they are powerless over bad baseball—that their lives had become unmanageable.
Do you remember any Yankee suggesting that they weren’t “better than this?” Or that the team was unmanageable? They have a manger right there.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity.
They’ve got the great Power in Georgie Porgie Steinbrenner, but Jose is pretty sure restoration is not typically what he does with sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn their will and their lives over to the care ofGod as they understood Him.
Money does not count as God. Sorry Roger.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves.
Yeah. Not the most reflective bunch. Think Johnny Damon is going to give up skanks, Derek Jeter is going to give up looking in the mirror, Jason Giambi is going to give up HGH or Jorge Posada is going to give up being a little bitch any time soon?
5. Admitted to God, to themselves, and to another human being the exact nature of their wrongs.
Note to Yankees: Your agent does not count as a human being.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of charachter.
See step 4.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove their shortcomings.
Humility, not really at a premium in the Bronx.
8. Made a list of all persons they had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. Have all of the women in Boston with the now unfashionable Damon shirts gotten that apology call yet? Has Balki Arroyo gotten a call from A-Rod apologizing for striking him? Has Doug Mientkiewiecz returned the World Series ball?
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Come on, this is the same as step 8.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when they were wrong promptly admitted it. Trying to release a steroid riddled Giambi six years after you signed him, when he had stopped producing is not prompt. You were wrong sure, but not prompt in admitting it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. Signing Carl Everett would be a huge move towards step, he knows exactly what God wants.
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, they tried to carry this message to bad baseball players, and to practice these principles in all their affairs.
Jose eagerly anticipates the Yankees intervention for the Kansas City Royals, where they will gather together the 15 remaining Royals fans, each of whom will explain how the Royals have hurt them.
So, as you can see, even if the Yankees are indeed like alcoholics, they are not exactly skipping down the 12 steps to recovery.
No, if anything, the Yankees remind Jose of the patients in the De Niro/Williams film Awakenings. In the movie, patients suffering from sleeping sickness who have been catatonic for years, suddenly regain consciousness when given a drug called L. Dopa. But here’s the catch: They don’t stay conoscious. No matter how much the dosage is increased, the patients cannot remain permanently lucid and return to their vegetative state. There is no noble struggling against personal vice for these New York Yankees, only brief awakenings followed yet again, inevitably, by a return to unfathomable lethargy.
2. Jose noticed a lot of empty seats in the rain soaked final innings of last Saturday’s nightcap drubbing at the hand of the Braves—a lot. And for that Jose has a message.
For shame. For shame. FOR SHAAAAAAAMMMMMMEEEE.
You shame yourself, and you disgust Jose. You claim to be true Red Sox fans, the best baseball fans in the world and yet you are deterred by a 14 run deficit and driving rain? Pathetic.
Do you know how many people have told Jose that they missed the Mother’s Day miracle because they left after the eighth inning? They are even worse.
A real fan never leaves early no matter the situation. A fire in the stands? Tough it out, you’re allowed to bring in a bottle of water now. An earthquake? Like that didn’t happen every time Rich Garces ran in from the bullpen anyway? A nuclear disaster? Well, going home isn’t really going to help, now is it?
Jose didn’t even leave early during Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, or as he prefers to call it “the worst night of his life.” No, real fans never give up, they never leave early. They do, however, occasionally forget that they have tickets and miss a game entirely. For instance, it turns out Jose had tickets to the Mother’s Day game, but didn’t realize it. Whoops!
But this is what they call a “good problem,” like too much pitching. Jose has so many tickets to so many games, that he can afford to occasionally forget a game all together. So for those of you who rant and rave about your inability to get any tickets, kindly remember Jose lighting his gas grill with unused tickets while you suck it.
3. For the first time in many moons, the Celtics will draw more interest tonight than a Red Sox-Yankees game, as the not-so-greats gather in Secaucus, New Jersey for the NBA Draft Lottery.
While the Celtics have the potential to rapidly turn around their ailing franchise by landing the first or second pick, Jose is deeply concerned for two reasons. First, as a religious Mormon who is philosophically opposed to gambling, Jose sort expects Celtics GM Danny Ainge to opt out and accept the fifth pick in order to be faithful to his values. Second, it can’t be good that Tommy Heinson, the Celtics representative at the lottery keeps saying “I hope I win those lifetime Red Sox season tickets.”
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.