Friday, October 12

ALCS Game 1: The Factory and the Saint

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

1. Picking on the Indians would be easy. It would be incredibly easy. Jose could do all of the requisite casino jokes, and that dot versus feather thing that taunts two completely unrelated ethnic groups at the same time. He could even claim that the Trail of Tears runs not from Georgia to Oklahoma but from Boston to Cleveland. As the series goes on and Indians hitting struggles, as it surely will, Jose could further exploit the Columbian confusion between those indigenous to the Americas and those from the subcontinent, by suggesting that the Indians have outsourced their hitting to Bangalore, where a .266 hitter like Travis Hafner can be hired for a mere $10 a day. From there, it gets worse, much worse.

These are easy jokes to make, painfully easy jokes, and they are the inevitable consequence of the Majors not only continuing to have a team named the Indians (note: which is borderline) but to allow them to continue using the incredibly racist, yet oddly seductive logo of Chief Wahoo (note: which is well over the line). But it is not the right line of attack for mocking this Cleveland squad.

This Cleveland team is an opponent worthy of respect. For starters, they vanquished the fearsome Yankees, their number one starter is famine resistant and they are immune to insect infestation. (Note: Jose has a new theory on the bugs. Back when Jose was a propagandist for the agricultural biotechnology industry, he was constantly pitching these magic crops called Bt crops, Bt corn, Bt wheat and so on, which were immune to many insect pests. Basically, scientists had spliced a gene from a naturally occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, which is toxic to many insects, into the crops. Is it possible that Cleveland is a BT ball club? Have they had bacteria spliced into their genes to make them insect resistant? Maybe someone can convince George Steinbrenner that the Indians are BT, and then Geroge will spend all winter keeping Jeter and friends locked up in a lab while shooting BT plasmids into their arms, possible resulting in the creation of a whole breed of Yankee freaks… you know more so.)

But Cleveland has other potential advantages too. This will be the first ALCS involving anyone named Grady since 2003. Whatever the Red Sox do in this series they, absolutely must not allow Cleveland Centerfielder Grady Sizemore to make any bullpen management decisions for Tito. (Note: Yes, everyone on earth is doing the Grady thing, but what did you want Jose to say, that this will be the first ALCS involving a player named Jhonny since Johnny Damon forgot how to spell his own name? Don’t laugh, you know Damon screws up sometime and spells it like that?)

Cleveland also still has clubhouse attendant Frank Mancini, who Manny Ramirez tried to bring to Boston when he signed. Not only, is Mancini probably mixing Manny’s protein shakes for any Indians who asks, but he has given pairs of Manny’s batting gloves both used and unused to Cleveland first baseman Ryan Garko. Jose doesn’t even want to know what he’s doing with Manny’s old jockstraps.

As you are beginning to see, the Indians have some serious strategic advantages over the Red Sox in the event of drought, infestation and clubhouse attendants.

This means that not only can the Red Sox not depend on any match up advantages in the above categories, but that if they are to win this series, they are going to be stuck relying on having superior hitting, starting pitching, relief pitching and defense.

Yes, it’s scary but before you start panicking, there is one statistically important category in which Boston solid trounces Cleveland—number of Indians. In Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox have the only full-blooded American Indian in the majors today, and one of only 48 in Major League history, by Jose’s count. Ellsbury, the Majors’ first Navajo, is the first full-blooded American Indian in the bigs since the Lakota tribe’s Bobby Madritsch pitched 4.1 innings for the Mariners in 2005 and the first American Indian to bat since Lumbee catcher Dwight Lowery had 7 At Bats for the 1988 Twins.

Frankly, the only way the Indians can even hope to counter the Red Sox’s advantage in American Indians is if they start knitting scarlet hosiery while in the clubhouse, and you know what? Jose doesn’t think they have the needles for it.

2. This could have been the “Battle of the Brothers.” It could have been the baseball equivalent of Cain vs. Abel or Kane vs. The Undertaker, but Bud Selig wouldn’t have it. No, when Cablevision tycoon Charles Dolan, brother of Indians owner Larry Dolan tried to buy the Red Sox from the Yawkey Trust, old Bud put the fix in, or so they say. He had direct it to a “hyper competent owner” with a “deep understanding of the game.” What a shame. We could have had the man whose son hired Isaiah Thomas as GM of the Knicks as head of our team, instead.

This raises the interesting question of how on Earth this splendid Cleveland team was assembled with a Dolan on watch. Larry Dolan as Charles’s brother, is, siply enough, the uncle of Charles’ son James, who has led the disintegration of the Knicks. Ergo, Larry should have about 25% of the same DNA as James. Did he somehow avoid the poor judgment of general managerial talent gene? (Note: Is that gene dominant or recessive? Are there multiple alleles?) If James were running the Indians, he would never have hired the sound of mind Mark Shapiro to build the team. Who would he have hired instead? Well, the temptation is to think that he would have gone on the Isaiah model and hired a beloved star who turned everything he touched to crap, Pete Rose maybe or Jose Canseco, but Jose doesn’t think it would have gone that way. Jose suspects he would have hired former Mets GM Steve Phillips as the least competent GM available and then promptly traded Fausto Carmon for Victor Zambrano.

3. This was going to be the musical section of today’s KEYS, where Jose parodied one of the great hits of C&C Music Factory in honor of Cleveland starter C&C Music Sabathia. But then Jose looked up the lyrics to the Factory’s greatest hits, “Things that Make You Go Hmm…” and “Everybody Dance Now” and realized that aside from the refrain, he has no recollection of how either of those songs went, and he’s pretty sure no one else does.

This left Jose without a third KEY with a beat you can dance to, so he decided to go for the next best available C.C. First he thought he would do a parody of a Surgeon General C. Everert Koop anti-smoking lecture, but then he realized that not only is Koop short one C, but that the rhythm of his anti-smoking lectures was almost completely undanceable. Thus, Jose went on to a third option, C.C. Deville of the glam band Poison, and Jose figured he could parody their greatest hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” But why would Jose bother to rewrite the entire song when only the refrain really matters. You know it.

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn

But what the hell can Jose do about it? How can he change even that refrain to describe a chunky lefty with a slanty cap?

The best Jose could come up with was

Every rose has its thorn
Matsui’s is looking at porn
Just like every Indian’s gonna look forlorn
Every rose has its thorn.

And let’s be honest, that’s awful. Yes Hideki Matsui is famously a porn addict, so that’s kind of funny, but he doesn’t even play for the Indians, and what the hell does anything there have to do with Sabathia.

And then it hit Jose. He’s been focusing on the wrong name for the entire time. Rather than getting wrapped up in the name C.C., he should have been focusing on the last name all along—Sabathia is absolutely close enough to use Black Sabbath, for that to work.

And Jose knows War Pigs super well since it is in Guitar Hero II, and it lends itself to fat jokes! So without further adieu, a musical tribute to C&C Black Sabathia Music Factory.

For those of you who don't know the music.

Carsten Charles on the mound
He must weigh three hundred pounds
Got his cap a bit askew
Abe’s half blind, what’s his excuse?

Can his infield scoop the ball?
How does one say Asdrubal?
Kenny Lofton’s speed will smolder
If he don’t mess up his shoulder., Ninety nine yeah.

Mosey Nixon seem so far away
From the hitter he once was
Why would he see pitches from the right?
Pitch him lefty just because

Time will tell the power of their arms
Pitch Borowski just for fun
Man has got a scary E-R-A
Wait until the blown save comes, yeah!

Games could go as long as Proust
C.C.’s Gretchen now to Faust –Oh
That don’t rhyme cause it’s said Proost
Mispronunciation’s loosed.

And if he leaves with a lead
It’s Borowski all weak-kneed
Red Sox onslaught can’t be staved
Unlike Gretchen he’s not saved
All right now.

And there you go. Admit it an ALCS game is just not an ALCS game without at list thinking about it’s connection to German epic poetry.

Tomorrow: Why Goethe’s Wanderers Nacthlied (note: Wayfarer’s night song) is about Manny’s base running in night games.

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

1 comment:

Liza said...

Great post, Jose, but I would like not nitpick a little bit: Jacoby Ellsbury is not a full-blooded Native American. His mother is, but his father is Caucasian. He's the first Navajo to be in the majors, but Joba Chamberlain's just as Native American as he is.

Sorry if that comes off really obsessed with details or anything. This post was really interesting to read, thanks!