Wednesday, June 27

Who is Daisuke Matsuzaka?

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

Ages of Empire

Today’s volume: Daisuke Matsuzaka

After Jose joined Manny yesterday in taking a well-deserved day off, the series ends today with Jose’s imperial analysis of the Japanese phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka. Now at first, Jose was tempted to equate Mr. Matsu to the French Empire, because France is where the gyroscope was invented in 1817. But of course, Jose then remembered that the French Empire was gone by 1817 and it was just the kingdom of France, which doesn’t fit the bill. Maybe when Jose compares each member of the starting rotation to a kingdom, he will come back to this.

But what are we to do then with Mr. Matsu? The best Jose can come up with is to compare him to the Skrull Empire. The Skrulls, of course are a race of short, shape shifting aliens that possess a vast empire in the Andromeda galaxy and have been known to tangle with the Fantastic Four. Maybe some were hypnotized into thinking they were cows. Jose figures they are the best analogy for Matsuzaka because like him, they are green, and their shapeshifting abilities are evocative of Matsuzaka’s curious transformations from pitcher who only seldom walks anyone to pitcher who walks everyone and back.

The best Jose could come up with?

On the other hand, this is a total cop out. Jose has promised you imperial analogies for the Sox rotation and he has to resort to fictional empires for two of the five? Lame.

Okay, so Jose will start thinking through the various empires listed in Civilization, the best video game ever that hasn’t injured Joel Zumaya, and come up with something real.

Any ideas? Anyone?

All right, Jose’s got it. Mr. Matsu is like the Incas because he loves the mountains and can’t comprehend the wheel. No, wait. He’s more like the Aztecs because he enjoys ripping out the hearts of his enemies and is vulnerable to European disease. Or is he more like the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth because when people look back at him, they’ll be surprised to find out that he was once a really big deal?

Damn it.

That’s the problem with Mr. Matsu isn’t it? He’s still an enigma. Even almost half way through the season, Jose is not totally sure what we have in him. Will he be a Mongol horde dominating with sheer power? The Greeks dominating for long past their military prime through the subtlety of their thought and artistry? Or perhaps the British Empire combining a variety of tools, the ruthlessness of arms with the soft power of culture and intellect. Or perhaps he will not dominate at all. Perhaps rather than being an empire, he will be one of those many nations that does not dominate but simply persists, like the Kurds, the Jews or the Armenians, that battle adversity for generations to often thrive, sometimes struggle, but never dominate.

That, or maybe he’s the Vikings because they both enjoy eating fish.

2. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards delivered an absolutely cutting rebuke to professional b*tch Anne Coulter the other day. Edwards asked Coulter to end personal attacks, such as suggesting that it would be good if John Edwards were killed by terrorists and joking that he had a bumper sticker reading “ask me about by dead son” on his car.

The normally nimble, if evil, Coulter seemed uncharacteristically flustered, and while incapable of shame, at least appeared chastened at being called to task by the mother of the child whose death she had mocked.

This got Jose thinking. Who’s going to do this to Dan Shaughnessy? Shaughnessy is the Coulter, of the Boston sports scene. Thin and lanky? Check. Hate-filled and borderline racist? Check. Adopts a vicious persona in order to sell books? You betcha. Prominent Adam’s apple? Indeed.

So who is going to call out old Dan? Who will be the Elizabeth Edwards to his Coulter Bean… err… Anne Coulter?

Just attacking these sorts of folks has no affect. They love to be attacked, to be called names and to have their competence questioned. It raises their profile, it gets ink and it moves merch. No, the only way to deal with them is to go face to face with them, and rather than yelling and screaming, rather than fighting them in their medium, simply ask them to stop their disgraceful behavior. They won’t, of course, but when, on television, they are forced to look into their adversary’s eyes and defend the awful things they said, they are exposed for who they are, cruel, opportunistic bullies.

When Edwards confronted Coulter, she was left with nothing to say but ask if Edwards wanted her to just stop talking and writing. Implicit, is that if she could not be mean, if she could not be vile, she would have nothing to say, not word one. If she could not call 9-11 widows harpies and rejoice in mocking parents for their dead children, she would have nothing, she would be nothing.

If Manny Ramirez were to go up to Shaughnessy on camera and ask him to stop the stereotyping, if Pedro were to ask why Shaughnessy has nothing to say about Roger’s special treatment in New York, but was so quick to brand Pedro a diva, what would he say? “Do you just want me to stop writing?”

Dan, Anne, if that’s what it takes, you bet. One can criticize without being cruel, attack without seeking to destroy. Can you? Maybe not, but then leave the discourse to someone who can.

3. Seeing that his baseball career might be nearing an end, embattled Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin (note: who else wants to contribute to the gold watch?) gave the Boston Globe some thoughts on his plans for future employment.

To the surprise of many, the statuesque Timlin suggested that he may take up exotic dancing, claiming that he planned to “Strip everything off.”

But, Timlin added, being a quality adult entertainer is not easy. From dealing with wardrobe to working on dance moves, Timlin expects the new career to be challenge.

"Obviously, completely redoing your whole get-up is not easy, because you have routines and you have things you do,” explained the righty. “But that's what we're trying to get done."
Timlin also expressed concerns about having his anatomy compared to other dancers saying “As time goes, if you look over anybody's ‘stats,’… they're swinging the ‘bat’ really well. So their confidence is really high.”

Sox skipper Tito Eurona thought Timlin’s girth would not be an issue, telling the Globe “Here's a guy that's handled a real heavy ‘role’”

(Note: All quotes are real and taken from an Amalie Benjamin piece in today’s Globe. Jose can not help it if she put them in the wrong context in the paper.)

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

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