Thursday, September 27

Twins in the Pen

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

1. Does Jonathan Papelbon have an identical twin? Jose knows he has a brother Josh who is in the minors, but they’re not twins. Do they look a lot alike maybe?

The reason Jose asks is that he’s got a really great idea—the Red Sox should focus on developing relief pitchers who are identical twins. Yes, Jose knows that even though twins share the same genetic code they are not the same people and that just because one brother is a standout closer does not mean that his twin will be, but that is irrelevant. You only need one twin who can pitch and one who can sit on the bench and be identical for Jose’s strategy to pan out.

Jose was at Tuesday’s game when Papelbon came in with two out in the eighth and got the final out on a first pitch pop up. The Sox added a few runs in the bottom of the eighth, so Papelbon was done for the night and Brian Corey came in to pitch. Corey was awful, he eventually got out of the inning, but not before yielding two runs and a ton of hard hit balls. Jose started hyperventilating at the thought that the A’s might some how make it a game and Papelbon would already be done for the evening. And that’s when it hit him. Like an apple falling before Newton or Archimedes hanging out in the tub, Jose had a moment of pure and profound vision and understanding—twins!

Imagine for a moment, if Jonathan Papelbon had a twin in the bullpen, let’s call him Demosthenes Papelbon. And let us imagine that Demosthenes was not a good pitcher. Let us even say that he was Toby Borland bad. Sure, Jonathan would be out of the game, but if the Red Sox needed him in the ninth, he could simply change uniforms and enter pretending to be his brother Demosthenes Papelbon. The DNA is the same, so how could anyone prove anything? This could even allow the Red Sox to play righty-lefty-righty in certain situations.

Jose has no idea why he never thought of this before. Twins have been used to great effect in other sports. Tiki and Ronde Barber have both been stars in the NFL, and referee Earl Hebner suspiciously replaced his twin brother Dave in a Hulk Hogan-Andre The Giant match up in 1988 thereby ensuring a win for Andre.

And with the steady increase of the numbers of twins born in recent years, why shouldn’t this be a strategy? And what about conjoined twins would they count as one or two players on the field? They could cover more ground couldn’t they. Okay, Jose is now addressing issues posed by a Greg Kinnear movie. He will stop this silliness.

2. Congratulations to the New York Yankees on clinching the American League Wild Card. You must have had a very nice time spraying champagne all over each other. Sure, you and your fans were critical of the Red Sox for celebrating the wild card like they’d, you know, won something in 2003, 2004 and 2005, but that’s fine. It’s not like hypocrisy is reserved for U.S. Senators or anything.

In fact, Jose would like to salute you by paraphrasing a quote uttered by President John F. Kennedy when meeting a group of Nobel Laureates. Kennedy said, though he is quoted a few different ways by different sources “This is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Thus, in the spirit of your wild card celebration, Jose offers this toast to the New York Yankees.

Last night was the most extraordinary collection of alcohol that had ever been gathered in the Yankee clubhouse with the possible exception of when Mickey Mantle drank alone.

3. Baseball metaphors are great. They work for sex (getting to second base) they work for politics (a terrific speech is sometimes called “hitting a home run”), so why can’t they work for urination?

Small bladders are the curse of the Melendez bloodline. Jose, for instance, has the bladder of a nine-month pregnant woman. If he could change anything about his body, it would be the size of his bladder. Ergo, when Jose and his brother Sam go to a game together, there are likely going to be a few bathroom breaks. Which is why Tuesday’s game was so extraordinary. Jose only went once during the game, which is solid for a game where he had two beers pregame but none during the contest. But Sam, Sam performed the astonishing feat of going an entire game without going to the bathroom. From first pitch to last out, he maintained his poise, declaring only after the game was complete “Sam has pitched a no-hitter.”

This prompted some debate about whether this was really a no-hitter. Certainly there were some similarities. He did not talk about it in the middle for fear of jinxing it, and it probably provoked some anxiety by the ninth, but was it really a no hitter? Jose says yes. Whatever else it was, it was a grand achievement and deserves to be in the Urination Hall-of-Fame in Flushing, Queens (Note: Thanks Simpsons). What it was not, however, was a perfect game. After debating whether a perfect game would be not even thinking about urinating through nine innings, we concluded that the analogy seemed inadequate and too psychological. Ultimately, the achievement must be about what the body does regardless of the stresses on the psyche. In baseball a perfect game is no less perfect if the pitcher was nervous about blowing it.

Thus, we settled on defining a perfect game as not going to the bathroom from the moment one leaves home or work, until the moment one steps back into the safety of one’s home bathroom. It is rare, it is difficult and I suspect that there has not been one in Fenway Park history.

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


Fletcher Austin McGuffin said...

For the record, Fletcher also has a small bladder, though he likens his to that of "An 80 year old infant".

Anonymous said...

Jon Papelbon has 2 younger brothers that are twins. Josh and Jeremy.