Monday, September 10

Let's Go to The Video Tape

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

1. Over the weekend Jose saw a nifty little indie flick called “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,” about the battle to be the all time Donkey Kong champion.

In the film, challenger Steve Wiebe, a middle school science teacher breaks the Donkey Record set by Holyoke native and hot sauce Billy Mitchell in 1982, but the record breaking performance, videotaped at Wiebe’s Redmond, Washington home, is disallowed because it is a video tape of an uncertified machine. Also, because of corruption. It was like Tim Donaghy was refereeing.

Yet, when Wiebe breaks Mitchell’s record at Funspot in New Hampshire, a video tape sent in by Mitchell with an even higher score is played immediately after Wiebe’s record setting performance and is validated by officials as the true record. So in one case, a video tape is disallowed, while in another case it is allowed. The most remarkable think is that Tim Tschida wasn’t even the official making the decisions.

But Jose does not mean to relentlessly and needlessly summarize for you a movie that you should all go see. No, Jose is trying to make a point here. As it becomes clearer that the Red Sox and Yankees will both make the playoffs and a meeting in the ALCS becomes possible, we need to prepare for a Yankee bid to skip the ALCS games and send in video tapes instead.

Jose can see it now. The Red Sox show up for Game 1 at Fenway. The crowd is jumping, the national anthem is electric, but where are the Yankees? They are absent, too smug to even take the field. Instead, there is only a video playing on the jumbotron of the Yankees crushing the Orioles 15-2, or some such lopsided score. The officials consult and Tim Tschida rules that since there is no way the Red Sox would have gotten 15 runs off of Wang, the Yankees will be awarded the game.

Alternatively, Jose could see a situation where the Red Sox are up 3-2 going to the ninth and the Yankees demand to play a video tape of A-Rod’s game winning home run off of Papelbon earlier in the season rather than actually playing the inning.

Jose is not saying that this is going to happen. Jose is just saying that there is precedent and we should keep our eyes open.

2. Jose has thought a lot about the whole Michael Vick dog fighting thing this summer and it keeps bothering him. While dog fighting is brutal and wrong, Jose cannot help but think that there are a lot of folks out there who care way more about animals than humans. This is f’d up. For instance, Jose went to a Darfur fundraiser over the weekend and listened to Harvard Professor Samantha Power recount a story of why Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder had claimed that there wasn’t more interest in the Rwandan Genocide even as hundreds of thousands were slaughtered. Schroeder, a smart lady, pointed out that her office got hundreds of calls on endangered species in contrast to the few they got on Rwanda. Nothing happened not only because of political cowardice, but because of the will of the people—the people cared more about animals that Rwandans.

Jose is not saying it’s necessary, but he would gladly let bald eagles clutching maces in their talons fight nunchuck toting whooping cranes to the death in order to stop genocide. If you care more about people than whooping cranes, call 1-800-GENOCIDE and tell your representatives to support intervention in Darfur.

There is one addendum to this though. Jose is not totally convinced that this is about animals in general rather than dogs in particular. People seem to really like dogs, way more than cats. And unlike ferret ownership, Rudy Giuliani does not regard dog owning as a form of mental illness.

So Jose asks you this: If Michael Vick was not running a dog fighting ring and instead was running monkey knife fights would he still be in the NFL? Jose says yes. While monkey knife fighting is only legal in international waters, as indicated by The Simpsons, it is not harshly punished in the U.S. In 2006, two Missouri men were arrested for organizing monkey knife fights, but did you ever hear about it? Nope.

3. In other news, contrary to published reports former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will not be visiting DRays starter Scott “Disputed Province of” Kazmir prior to this evening’s game. Sharif’s plan to visit Kazmir and advise him on taking a more aggressive strategy against the Red Sox were thwarted when he was deported to Saudi Arabia this morning.

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

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