It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. As the Sox struggle into the second half, their lead over the Yankees dwindling to a pathetically narrow seven games, one is tempted to ask “What’s missing?”
Sure, the Sox are missing power, decent outings from two-fifths of their rotation and production from shortstop and right field, but there’s something else. They’re missing a song. Every championship caliber team has a song. Jose has written about this time and again. (Note: Remember in 2004, he wrote up elaborate “My Francona” lyrics.) But what does this team have? Nothing. Nothing yet, that is.
Jose is not going to decide on the song today, but he is going to put forth some suggestions. You should too. Jose particularly encourages his international guests to send ideas. Perhaps there’s a raga that would suit this team well? Maybe some Mongolian throat singing? Just please no Peking opera. That stuff sucks.
Here are Jose’s thoughts thus far:
• Some Good Things Never Last—Barry Manilow
• Please Don’t Be Scared—Barry Manilow
• I Go Crazy—Barry Manilow
• Let’s Hang On—Barry Manilow
• Ready to Take a Chance Again—Barry Manilow
• Summer of ’78—Barry Manilow
• Weekend in New England—Barry Manilow
• It’s a Miracle—Barry Manilow
• Trying to Get the Feeling Again—Barry Manilow
• Could It Be Magic—Barry Manilow
It’s a pretty good list don’t you think? It covers the full gamut of emotions this team has caused, from exultation to heartbreak. Now, Jose knows what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Those are all Barry Manilow songs.” And you’re right, but Jose assures you it’s just a coincidence that the ten songs that best typify the 2007 Red Sox are by the singer/songwriter who, according to an email Jose got from Ticketmaster this morning is playing at the Boston Garden on September 7 at 8PM. Or maybe it isn’t. The only things Jose buys through Ticketmaster are Sox tickets and wrestling tickets, so if Ticketmaster sent Jose this email, perhaps there is a natural synergy between The Red Sox and the adult contemporary legend.
Actually, the more Jose thinks about it, the more it makes sense. Barry Manilow is exactly like the 2007 Red Sox. He’s successful far more often than he’s not. While he’s had a lot of hits, only a few of them have been really big. And despite being incredibly popular, he’s kind of boring.
Anyway, send in your nominations for 2007 Red Sox theme song and Jose will vaguely consider writing some parody lyrics, because Jose Writes the Songs.
2. ESPN has drawn some criticism lately for their stupid new SportsCenter feature “Who’s More Now?” which as best Jose can tell, was inspired by that master of nowness, Gerald Ford. Ford famously said “Things are more like they are now, then they have ever been.”
No wonder he won reelection.
Still, Jose recognizes that if ESPN is doing something to connect with its audience, it’s probably shrew, shrewd enough in fact that Jose should appropriate it to court his own target demographic, 83-year old natives of Austria.
Thus, it is KEYS TO THE GAME’S distinct pleasure to present the inaugural edition of…
(Jeff Probst coming in by jet ski)
“Who’s More Then?”
In "Who’s More Then?" Jose will take a hip, irreverent look at the sports figures who shape our world and identify who is more then. What does it mean to be then? Well, it means to capture the essence of yesterday, of old times gone, both glorious and tragic.
In today’s episode Jose pits Johnny Pesky versus Don Zimmer.
Hair Cuts: Pesky boasts a loveable mop of silver hair, that if dyed would look as good on a 50 year old as on his aging scalp. Zimmer has the same crew cut, if a bit thinner, that’s he’s probably had since 1942. Point Zimmer
Affiliation: Pesky is a Red Sox and has been since he first put on the uniform. Zimmer, has been seen in a new fangled Tampa Bay uni. Point Pesky.
Changing perceptions: While Pesky was once scorned for “holding the ball” on Slaughter’s mad dash, he has become a beloved figure. Is there anyone who doesn’t still hate Zimmer for 1978? Point Zimmer.
Fisticuffs: Pedro kicked Zimmer’s *ss. Johnny Pesky never has, and never will, take on a wiry Dominican. Point Pesky.
Internal makeup: Pesky still has all the bones he was born with. Zimmer has a plate in his skull. Point Pesky.
Well there you have it. As James Earl Jones’ Terrance Mann said it Field of Dreams
“Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”
That’s John Michael Paveskovich, and he is definitely more then.
3. We can all agree that Julian Tavarez is insane, but there are two different kinds of people with mental illness. The first are “high-functioning.” These are the sorts of people who can hold down a job, keep up a relationship and get through six innings without giving up more than three runs. These folks have their problems, say with bowling or touching Japanese teammates, but they do okay in the world. Julian Tavarez used to be one of these.
But now he’s the other type, low-functioning, the sort of person whose illness is truly debilitating, think Rick Ankiel or Matt Young. And it’s sad, but it’s not hopeless. We just need to accept that this is what Julian has become over his last four starts, and start working to make it better. Julian needs our love and support right now. And he needs the Red Sox to put him on the DL so he can get his affairs in order, check his meds, do some group, and come back when he’s able to function.
Maybe we could get him some time with Nurse Rachet or something. Jose hears she’s pretty good.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.