It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Terry Eurona won his 300th game as Red Sox manager last night, and Jose is genuinely happy for him, and, in a real way, happy for America.
We live in an age where cruelty is rewarded, not only rewarded but revered. In a time when Bill Parcells is lionized for his efficient, professional meanness, when CEOs are praised to the hilt for the callousness of their layoffs, when “you’re fired” is a beloved catch phrase more than a statement of lives and families destroyed, it is refreshing to see one of the genuinely good people have such success.
Despite the constant clamoring among this fan base, among every fan base for men of cruelty, for old school Dick Williams, Bill Fitch, Bobby Knight types who will bludgeon and brutalize spoiled, athletes into humble submission, these men are wrong for this day and age. And Jose is glad. It is a sign of progress, when personal viciousness is no longer a virtue.
And thus, Tito Eurona, surprisingly enough, is a man of today, a modern man and a modern manager. When Tito took this job, he said something to the effect of “I’m a nice guy, and I don’t want this job if it means I have to stop being nice.” It was a good sound bite, it was a sign of decency, but what one didn’t know was that it was a management manifesto, and a sound manifesto at that.
Pretty simple, pretty good. Don’t be a push over, but don’t be a d*ck. Air grievances privately, rather than on the back page of the Herald. Treat players fairly. Only criticize constructively. Do not tear people down.
Tito has not only won, he has not only been nice, but he has won by being nice. And he’s done it 300 times.
2. Last Thursday, Jose attended the battle of Japan with one of Jose’s People, Empyreal Environs, who has somehow, in the just the last 10 years, reached the level of delusion required to write about every single Red sox game (Note: The correct amount of time for it to take is 27 years.). Think about this. She arrived in Boston at the height of the Steve Avery era, and yet still chose, CHOSE, to descend into the madness.
While the conversation throughout the evening was scintillating, as one might expect from a meeting of Boston’s two premiere Japanese American baseball minds, one subject of conversation stood out as particularly exceptional—when is it okay for a Red Sox fan to accept a Yankee autographed ball?
The impetus for this particular discussion was Empyreal’s story of the difficult choice a friend had (note: Jose thinks it was a friend and not a relative… or Empyreal herself… Jose spent much of the evening in a haze, as one tends to when the $101 million starter walks 800 batters) as to whether or not to accept a Yankee ball autographed by among others, legendary alcoholic and peeping tom Mickey Mantle, despite his being a Red sox fan.
It got Jose thinking. Would he accept a Mantle ball? No. What about a 1996 Yankee ball? Please. A Lou Gehrig ball? Is ALS contagious? (Note: No) What about a Ruth ball? Red Sox era yes, Yankee era no. Braves era, absolutely. An Andy Stankiewiecz ball? Tempting on an ironic level, but still no.
So Jose gave it a lot of thought and determined that there is only one Yankee ball he would ever want (Note: Aside from Jim Bouton.). Jose would accept, hell, Jose would pay for a ball signed by both Thurman Munson and Corey Lidle. There. He said it. It’s tasteless, but he said it. And it was funny, as plane crash jokes tend to be. Actually, Jose would like one ball even more than that. If he could get a Yankee ball signed by Thurman Munson, Corey Lidle and…
Nuts, Jose really wanted to put Jorge Posada in there. He hates Jorge Posada…weasel faced creep, but damn it, Jose simply cannot wish death in a plane crash on anyone. Too bad. It would have been funny too. Maybe if Munson and Lidle had died peacefully in their sleep, Jose could have joked about having Posada’s name on a ball with them, but a plane crash? That’s too tacky even for Jose… barely.
3. Curt Euro, shockingly, called out Barry Bonds yesterday for cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes and cheating at the great game of baseball.
He was unusual in being willing to call out Bonds in earnest and publicly when disturbingly few active players are willing to do so. That said, his statement lacked balance. While Euro did list all of the things that Bonds does cheat at, he utterly failed to list the many aspects of life wherein he has not cheated.
Consider the following:
• Bonds has not, as best we know cheated at cards.
• He has never performed Cheat, by the Clash at karaoke.
• He is not a “pumpkin eater.”
• Not a big fan of Cheetos. (Note: Wait… that’s Cheetah, not cheater?)
• Not technically a member of the Guerrero wrestling family (Motto: Cheat to Win.)
• Has never hit opposing player with a steel chair.
On the other hand, Jose is pretty sure he has a Jessie “The Body” Ventura inspired tattoo reading “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.)
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.