Tuesday, May 1

Like Triangle

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

1. Lots of observers have commented on the curious fondness of Julienned Tavarez for Mr. Matsu. It’s funny and kind of endearing to see the effusive (note: read insane) Tavarez fawn over the Japanese pitcher, who while he seems to be touchy feely by Japanese standards, is still unsure what to make of his Dominican non-so-secret-admirer.

Still, today’s Globe Red Sox Notebook wherein Tavarez says “I told [Matsuzaka] I think you’re one of the greatest pitchers I’ve ever seen,” is embarrassing in its mushiness. It reads like a sixth grade mash note. But it gets worse. Jose recently uncovered this transcript of a locker room conversation between the unlikely friends.

JULIAN: Hi Daisuke.

DAISUKE: Oh hi Julian.

JULIAN: How’s it going?

DAISUKE: Umm… okay. Still getting used to life here. How about for you?

JULIAN. (Slyly) Good… Hey, I really liked watching you pitch the other day.

DAISUKE: Oh thanks.

JULIAN: It was just so exciting, the way you exercised such, such command over all of your pitches.

DAISUKE: (looking uncomfortable) Uh… yeah, I had my good stuff.

JULIAN: You sure did, and you knew exactly when to use it. You knew right when to use the hard stuff, and the perfect time to go with something a little more… subtle.

DAISUKE: I… I guess I try to mix it up.

JULIAN: I guess it’s just your grip. You’ve just got these amazing hands. Strong, supple.

DAISUKE: I’m feeling really uncomfortable.

JULIAN: Do you mind if I touch your hands? I want to feel where the magic comes from?

DAISUKE: Uhhh…(looking for a way out) I not speak Engrish.

JULIAN: Los manos, los manos lucido.

DAISUKE: Umm… I also not speak Spanish?

JULIAN: Just let me touch them. Please?

DAISUKE: Julian you’re cool and all, but I don’t want you coming on to me. I don’t like you that way.

JULIAN (Punches him in the face) What?!? What the hell is wrong with you all I say is I want to feel your rugged manly, magical hands and you make it all dirty?

DAISUKE: (On the floor clenching his jaw) Ughh…Crap… Sorry, must be a cultural misinterpretation. Would it help if I taught you the cutter to make it up to you?

JULIAN: Teaching me the cutter is a start, that and some sex. Lots and lots of sex.

DAISUKE: But I thought—

JULIAN: Cultural differences!

See, incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. Jose even felt uncomfortable transcribing it. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with a pock marked Dominican lunatic prone to violent outbursts falling in love with a Japanese colleague, and making awkward, clumsy passes at him. Not at all. It’s just that Tavarez seems to be aiming a little too high. Let’s be honest, Daisuke is out of his league. If he’s got an Asian thing, he should focus on Okajima. Though he might be getting out of Tavarez’s league too. Maybe we could get Wendell Kim to hang out with him.

2. Speaking of Okajima, when he was originally brought to the Red Sox, there was rampant speculation that he was signed as much to provide friendship and companionship to Mr. Matsu as to pitch. Of course, little did the Red Sox know that Julienned Tavarez would be providing Mr. Matsu with all the friendship he could stand. Thus, with his primary purpose gone, Okajima has been forced to focus on his lesser role of pitching brilliantly.

But don’t be fooled. No, don’t be tricked into thinking that Okajima’s original role was to be a lights out set up man. He and Mr. Matsu are, as some SoSHers have suggested, BFFs, best friends forever, and not even Tavarez can tear them apart. You want proof? You say it’s kind of BS to assume that just because two guys come from the same country and work at the same place they’re BFFs? Well, the proof is in the necklace. You know that necklace that Okajima wears to every game. With Jose’s years of training in the arts (note: and crafts) he can tell, with 95 percent confidence, that that is an authentic gimp friendship necklace made at a summer camp sometime between 1983 and 1989. And Jose has every reason to believe that necklace came from Mr. Matsu. Of course, there is one other possibility. Jose has been hearing rumors that Tavarez has been making friendship necklaces for everyone, just so he can tease J.C. Romero, saying “I have 23 best friends on this team, and you have none. Loser.”

3. But you don’t want to hear any more about Julienned Tavarez’ creepy Japanese fetish. No, you don’t come here for that, you come hear for insight on tonight’s match up with the Oakland Athletics and the return of Lenny DiNardo. Jose hopes that the fans treat him right. Jose has heard that the Red Sox are preparing a video tribute of Lenny’s greatest moments to play pregame, you know, like they did with Pedro last year. Jose thinks it will include that one pitch where his fastball hit 86 mph, and maybe that time when he didn’t get shelled. Hopefully they’ll also do a retrospective on his Rule V induced trip to the disabled list in 2004.

But let’s not get lost in the drama. This Oakland As team is far more than just Lenny DiNardo. It is the retirement home for formerly great hitting, badly broken down catchers with both Mike Piazza and Jason Kendall on the roster. And Jose is holding out that they may sign Todd Hundley before game time.

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

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