Thursday, February 22

Manny on the Auction Block

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE TO SPRING TRAINING.

1. “Manny headed to Atlantic City?”

That was the teaser that popped into the lower left hand side of Jose’s humble 27 inch screen as Lost reached its conclusion last night. He began to panic. Atlantic City? Atlantic City? Jose rushed off to grab his computer hoping against hope to figure out how this could have come to pass. Why was this happening? Who could we get in return?

Then Jose remembered—there is no Major League team in Atlantic City.

Phew… Crisis averted.

If the Red Sox were sending Manny to Atlantic City, the only thing they could hope to get in return would be Boardwalk and Park Place, which when you think about it, is still a better return then Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron.

Calmed, Jose returned to watch the final few minutes of his television program, before it occurred to him, if Manny isn’t being traded to Atlantic City, what exactly is the big news about him going there? Is he going to compete in Miss America? Nope, that hasn’t been in Atlantic City since 2006. Since Manny lives at the Ritz Residences, did the recent acquisition of Ritz-Carlton Boston by Taj Hotels and Resorts confuse him into thinking that he now lived at the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City? Possibly.

But no, the real story is that an ad has claimed that Manny will be attending a classic car auction in Atlantic City this weekend. This is big news. Huge. “Rich eccentric to attend expensive auction.” Sounds like front page above the fold stuff to Jose.

But it’s not that Manny is going. No, it’s that he’s going when he should be at spring training tossing medicine balls around and ignoring the press from up close rather than at the distance to which he has grown accustomed these last few months. We’re supposed to be concerned because Manny quit on the team last year, remember? We’re supposed to be furious that he is failing to fulfill his obligation to the team.

But what about his obligation to the car auction? Did any of you jerks ever think about that? These guys advertised Manny Ramirez, so what do they do if he ditches them, reneges on his commitment in order to get in a couple extra days of stretching? Wouldn’t he be quitting then? Wouldn’t he be ducking out on his obligations? We’d problem see Atlantic City television stations teasing “Manny to Florida?” And the Boston media would relentlessly pound him for failing to take commitments to small businessmen seriously. The poor guy can’t win.

But there’s a solution here. The Red Sox should just move Spring Training to Atlantic City. Sure it’s a little colder than you might like, but setting up a facility there shouldn’t be too expensive. Jose hears there are properties on Baltic Avenue, available for like 60 bucks.

Your next Spring Training destination.

2. In other news, DJ Dru doesn’t care what you think. According to both Dan Shaughnessy, who hates Dru because he hates everyone, and Gerry Callahan who hates Dru because he’s black (note: don’t tell Callahan Dru’s white; if Callahan learns that he hates a white guy, his head might explode), the new right fielder is completely indifferent to what you, Jose, Tony LaRussa, Curt Euro, the Grand old Duke of York and Jesus Christ think of him.

When asked if he cares what his mother thought of him, Dru was purported to say “that old hag can go f* herself.”

The result is that Jose is confused. More so. He had thought that the story line was supposed to be that Dru was a player who would struggle in a passionate town like Boston, that he was one of those players who simply wasn’t cut out for northeastern baseball. But now everyone’s saying that he doesn’t care what people think of him, that he is an unresponsive jerk, who is indifferent to the concerns and condemnation of the average fan.

So which is it? Is DJ Dru an oversensitive wuss who will crumple under the steamy salt lamps of Boston Baseball or is he a self involved jerk who is indifferent to everyone and everything around him? He can’t be both, so the media should really pick one and run with it… unless they want to work some sort of Cybil, multiple-personality angle on him, but those never seem to work out very well.

How about this. Dru could become an alcoholic, who is really sensitive when sober but a raging narcissist when drunk? That would have the added benefit of moving him a step closer to fulfilling his destiny of becoming the next Mickey Mantle.

3. Jose was all set to sell you guys out. He really was.

A week or so ago, Jose got an email from a PR flack suggesting that KEYS readers might be interested is some device one of his clients was marketing that sends real time sports scores directly into your genital organs so your gametes can keep track of the Bentley/Stonehill Lacrosse game, or whatever your pleasure is.

Sure, it came to Jose’s junk mail box, and sure Jose usually empties said junk mail box without a thought, but he had a good feeling about this one. So he did the only thing he could think to do; he looked for free merch.

“Sorry Jose has a policy against promoting products that he has not used and books that he has not read,” he wrote, hoping desperately to be offered a bribe.

But it was not meant to be. And it’s a shame, Jose was totally ready to sell you all on the virtues of a potential wonder product, but instead he’ll just have to stick to promoting products he truly believes in like male enhancers, cheap internet valium and Edgar Renteria. (Note: What do these three have in common? In each case, one does not get what was advertised.)

I’m Jose Melendez and those are my KEYS TO SPRING TRAINING.

Tuesday, February 20

Better Late...

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE TO SPRING TRAINING,

1. Manny is late. Well, not yet, but he will be. We know because Julienned Tavarez told us so, and why would he lie to us? And as usual people are going to make a big deal about it. Jose, however, will not be one of them. You know why? Because being late just isn’t that big a deal—unless you’re Bridget Moynahan. (Note: Zing!)

Since Manny’s late arrival and the former Tom Brady gal pal’s late period are the two biggest sports stories of the day, Jose thought he would explain all of the reasons why the tardy sloughing of Bridget’s uterus (note: due to impregnation) is a far more serious story.

  • Manny didn’t wait three months to tell anyone he was late.
  • These nine missed periods will change Bridget and Brady’s life, Manny’s lateness won’t change a thing.
  • Brady actual broke up with Bridget. Manny despite his best efforts is still with the Red Sox.
  • No one has characterized Moynahan having her ex’s baby as “Just Bridget being Bridget.”
  • Manny’s tardiness is unlikely to have an adverse impact on a future bid for Senate.
  • No one is suggesting that Manny’s lateness is a result of “skipping pills.”
  • No one has blamed Bridget’s lateness on her mom having surgery.
  • Dan Shaughnessy regards being a day late for camp as a far graver sin than having a child out of wedlock.

See. Now is Manny being late really such a big deal? No. It’s not like he’s contributing to the breakdown of the family and ultimate collapse of western civilization like some other people we could mention.

2. Other major Red Sox spring training news comes not from Fort Myers, but from the Indians camp, wherever the hell that is, as former Red Sox closer Keith Foulke took a break from watching Canadian junior league hockey to announce his retirement. The news came as elbow pain replaced knee pain and back pain at the top of Foulke’s “reason’s I’m pitching like sh*t” list.

Jose is not prone to weepy goodbyes, but in Foulke’s case, he will make an exception. Foulke’s overwhelming workload, and his overwhelming brilliance in the 2004 post season is, with the possible exception of David Ortiz’s heroics, the single biggest reason the Red Sox were able to end their 86 year World Series drought. And it may have cost him his career. Sure, we have no evidence that Foulke’s astonishing post season pitch count led to his injury problems, but we do know that he was dominant through the 2004 post season and disasterous thereafter. So let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume that he sacrificed his body, his career, to save the season.

One of the popular writing tools in the new sports journalism is to compare players to girlfriends, Manny is the dumb blond you keep around because the sex is amazing, Mark Bellhorn is the charming deaf/mute and Roger Clemens (note: as characterized by Bill Simmons) is a cheating, treacherous so and so. So what is Foulke? Given how many members of Red Sox nation saw fit to boo Foulke for his miserable performances even after what he did in 2004, Jose would say Foulke is the girlfriend who jumps in front of pail of hydrochloric acid flung at her boyfriend thus saving him from disfigurement at the cost of her own beauty. He thanks her profusely, and waits on her hand and foot while she’s in the hospital. But then a few months pass, the reconstructive surgery doesn’t go so well, and he gets frustrated that she doesn’t want to have sex because she’s insecure about her appearance. So he starts telling her she’s ugly and a lousy girlfriend who’d rather watch hockey than make love. She responds by saying that she would rather join a convent, then have sex with some Johnny Burger King. And the next thing you know she’s gone off to date some guy in Cleveland who figures the scars will heal with time. But they don’t so she throws herself into the Cuyahoga and burns to death or drowns, whichever comes first.

So does the guy she saved send flowers to her grave? He’d better. Jose doesn’t want to be the guy who doesn’t, and neither should any of you, so let Jose offer the following oratorical funeral wreath.

Thank you Keith Foulke for what you did in 2004, for pitching brilliantly when you had nothing left, for catching Edgar Renteria’s come backer to end the Series and even for giving up that double to Papi in Game 4 of the 2003 ALDS. Also, you were great on that episode of Lost.

3. Over in Tampa, the Yankees training camp seems to be in turmoil as Bernie Williams has declined to show up because he has to compete for a roster spot, general partner Steve Swindal is dealing with the fallout from his DUI, and Alex Rodriquez has addressed his deteriorating relationship with Derek Jeter.

While conceding that his once close relationship with his “blood brother” Jeter was no longer so close, A-Rod offered a deal to reporters. "Let's make a contract,” said the third baseman. “You don't ask me about Derek anymore, and I promise I'll stop lying to all you guys."

Following the comment, Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, told reporters that such a “not lying” contract, would demand compensation of upwards of $25 million per year for the next 10 years.

I’m Jose Melendez and those are my KEYS TO SPRING TRAINING.