Friday, June 8

Jose's Back... Back Again...

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

1. A lot of you (note: none of you) have been wondering where the KEYS have been for the last two days. After all, they were game days, it was a weekday, where the hell was Jose? Well, Jose figured that if the Red Sox bats could take a few days off, there is no reason that Jose couldn’t take a few days off as well. And Jose only skipped two days, unlike the four day break for the bats.

The other motivating factor for Jose’s break was fatigue. Jose was not really planning on staying up for all of those west coast games. In fact, he was pretty firmly committed to going to sleep at a reasonable hour. So he followed a carefully proscribed ritual.

10:00: Turn on game.
10:01: Curse out Julio Lugo for grounding to second.
10:30: Go get popsicles.
10:35: Go get more popsicles.
10:50: Curse out Julio Lugo for grounding to second.
11:00: Wonder who killed Manny Ramirez and replaced him with weak hitting doppelganger.
11:01: Flip to Cartoon Network to see which episode of Futurama is on.
11:02: Conclude Futurama episode has nothing to do with blurnsball, and flip back to game.
11:20: Get craving for Chef Boyardee Ravioli
11:21: Fight off craving with more popsicles.
11:25: Pop into Sons of Sam Horn game thread to post expletive.
11:35: Yawn.
11:50: Curse out Julio Lugo for grounding to second.
12:00: Go to bed.
12:01: Turn on radio
12:02: Switch back on forth between WEEI and WRKO to find game.
12:03: Curse Glenn Geffner
12:04: Close eyes.
12:05-end of game: Lay there eyes closed in horror as Sox fail to score against: Dan Haren, Lenny DiNardo, Joe Kennedy, Kiko Calero, other guys who suck.(Note: Yes, Jose knows Haren does not suck.)
After game: Fall asleep angry.

So Jose would wake up tired, angry and pretty much completely unable and unwilling to write a KEYS.

2. This is interesting. You probably didn’t know, but it turns out that Curt Euro had a no hitter through 8 2/3 last night. Really. Don’t feel bad about not knowing, there no way you could have. After all, no one brought it up. Jose got home during the eighth after a long day in Brockton and sat down to watch the game, and the announcers were all like “Curt is pitching well. He’s pitching really, really well.

“Duh, he’s got a one nothing lead in the eighth, of course he’s pitching well,” Jose thought to himself. It’s really bad commentary to just say ‘he’s [pitching well over and over again.’”

Obviously Jose figured it out when Shannon Stewart hit a two out single in the ninth, and Orsillo mentioned that it was Oakland’s first hit of the day, but before then, there was absolutely no mention that there was a no hitter going. It was strange. A no hitter’s pretty special right? Wouldn’t you think the announcers would say something like “Curt Euro has a no hitter through seven which puts him a mere six outs away from a remarkable feat.” But no they said nothing. It’s awfully unprofessional if you ask Jose.

And Jose kind of wonders if Curt even knew? He was just sitting there alone on the bench, no one even talking to him. He must have been lonely. Jose knows he’s not the best liked guy in the clubhouse, but it isn’t right for them to ostracize him like that. Besides don’t you think he’d like to know that he had a no hitter in progress?

The way every one was tiptoeing around it you’d almost thing there was a curse or something. But obviously no one believes in that stuff. The more logical explanation is that Remy and Orsillo are bad announcers and the Red Sox are all jerks who hate Curt Euro.

3. This weekend, Jose is going to see the Boston regional of the U.S. Air Guitar championships. Basically, guys dress up like rock stars, take to the stage and pretend to plan imaginary guitars. Jose knows this sounds absurd, but before you get all judgmental, and call it “Stupid” or “Crazy” keep in mind that the Red Sox have been pretending to swing imaginary bats all week and no one’s said boo.

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

Tuesday, June 5

Weirded Out and Disturbed

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

1. Weird day yesterday. Weird, disturbing day.

Why was it so weird and disturbing? Let’s do it in the form of a quiz.

Which of the following weird and disturbing things actually happened yesterday:

A. Jose learned that George “The Animal” Steel is a born again Christian.

B. Joel Piniero pitched critical innings.

C. Jose learned that Takeru Kobayashi’s hot dog eating record had been shattered.

The answer is… A… and B… and C.

Any of those things alone would be enough to screw up a perfectly good day and knock Jose’s chakras way out of alignment, but taken in combination it is the proverbial “boot to the head.” Really, it was like a “perfect storm” of weirdness. Jose is pretty sure it drowned George Clooney and everything.

Okay, deep breath. Jose needs to work his way through this. He needs to process.

First, George. Oh, George, oh George. Jose read your testimony and he is glad that Jesus cured your Crohn’s Disease. While it is not his religion, Jose respects your faith. Jose likes Jesus, and he can imagine you saying “Jesus… Nice.” In your disjointed growl and it makes him smile.

But Jose does have a question. If you are part of a church that believes in the literal story of biblical creation and rejects evolution, how do they explain you? You sort of have a Cro-Magnon thing going. And what about your fellow wrestler The Missing Link? Do you tell him that he doesn’t exist? Also, Jose knows that God forbade Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge while allowing them to eat from any other tree in the garden, but did He say anything about turnbuckles? Someone call St. Augustine, big theological minds are needed.

Second, Joel Piniero? JOEL PINERO? Jose was never a believer in reincarnation, but it is like Rudy Seanez has come back to us, but with a cheesy little beard. Jose was all set to write Piniero and Romero are like the new Seanez and Tavarez, except with no chance that Romero would become a beloved lunatic, but then Romero had to go and work his way out of a jam, so Jose will stick to hating Piniero. It’s not that Jose hates Piniero as a person. Jose’s not a hater. It’s just the walks, dear God the walks. If only Project Bread could get as many people to walk as Joel Piniero, hunger would be completely eliminated.

Third, upstart Joey Chestnut ate 59.5 hot dogs and buns in a qualifier for the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating competition, setting a new world record. At first Jose was horribly disappointed that Kobayashi, his fellow Japanese guy, had been defeated marking the first time he had ever lost an eating competition to a human being. (Note: A bear beat him once on FOX.) But then Jose discovered that Chestnut had set the record in a qualifier that Kobayashi had not participated in. Big deal. This is like saying that the Yankees starting the season 0-3 and then sweeping a four game set against the Royals equals the Red Sox 2004 ALCS comeback. If it’s not head-to-head on the grandest stage of ‘em all, it doesn’t matter.

So anyway, Jose is a little disoriented and a little scared. If these sort of things can happen, God only knows what else is possible. You could even see a $70 million right fielder getting pinch hit for with the game on the line.

The Animal wins another convert.

2. With Dustin Pedroia getting thrown out at the plate by a good furlong in the 10th last night, Jose thinks the question of who is faster, Trusty Dusty, or Youks is pretty much settled. Youks is the Flash or possibly Quicksilver in comparison with Pedroia.

But that does not mean Pedroia needs to feel bad. For starters, he is the American League Rookie of the Month and there are still lots of things that he is faster than:

  • Dial Up internet
  • Many species of tortoise
  • Glaciers
  • The pace of health care reform
  • Any Molina you wanna bring.

3. With the Red Sox hitting their first real rough patch of the season, having dropped four of the last five, Jose can say, for the first time, that he is genuinely happy to see Lenny DiNardo.

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

Monday, June 4


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

1. Jose was asked yesterday which he planned to watch, the Democratic presidential debate or the Red Sox-Yankees game. It’s an interesting query and a challenging dilemma. Two of Jose’s great loves going head-to-head, politics vs. baseball. It’s sort of a shame that there wasn’t a new Marvel comics movie and WWF RAW on at there could have been a fatal fourway for Jose’s attention.

The decision was more difficult than one might think, as the debate and the game had a great deal in common. Thus, Jose had to go through a difficult calculus to make his decision. Let’s call it a hedonic calculus in the Benthamite tradition, because hedonic calculus sounds super cool, way cooler than integral calculus.
  • The irrelevance factor: Which has more bearing on the future, a debate eight months before the first vote is cast or a game between a first place team and a fourth place team 13.5 games out? Point: Democrats.
  • The irrelevance factor part 2: Who is more likely to have an impact in the next five months, the Yankees or Dennis Kucinich? Point: Baseball
  • Pitching: Who has better pitching the Yankees or the Democratic Party? Bill Richardson used to play baseball. Point: Democrats.
  • Lame media moderation: If Wolf Blitzer and Joe Morgan traded jobs would anyone notice? Who pisses Jose off less? Joe Morgan actually offered a good point on Papi’s inability to get power from his legs. All Blitzer has is a creepy beard. Point: Baseball.
  • Blonde ambition: Who is more ambitious A-Rods trollop or Hillary Clinton? While Hilary thinks women can find power at the polls, A-Rod’s mistress is certain women can find power on a pole. Point: Baseball
  • Exciting conclusion: The Red Sox-Yankees Game ends poorly, with an A-Rod Home Run on an 0-2 count. The debate ends with journalist Eric Alterman being arrested. Point Democrats.

So Jose added up the pluses and minuses, subtracted the demerits from the merits and, then watched the game regardless of his calculation. Come on, it’s Red Sox—Yankees, it only happens 18 to 25 time a year.

2. Jose knew A-Rod’s “mine” cry seemed familiar, but it took Jose a good three days to figure it out. “Mine” is the wholly owned trademark of George “The Animal” Steele. As you will recall, in his later years, the hirsute wrestler began carrying a hand puppet named “Mine” to the ring with him. So regardless of whether A-Rod’s play was “bush,” his trademark infringement was absolutely bush. (Note: A-Rod actually has a lot in common with Steele. Steele had a green tongue, A-Rod has blue lips, Steele was obsessed with Miss Elizabeth, A-Rod is also obsessed with coked up eye candy; it keeps going and going.)

And even if A-Rod was telling the truth (note: he wasn’t) and just said “Ha” that doesn’t get him off of the trademark infringement hook. As everybody knows, HA! was the original name of Comedy Central, and they had a major trademark dispute with Henson Associates, the Muppet company. With all of this trademark infringement, the next thing you know A-Rod will be rounding the bases yelling “I feel like chicken tonight” or “you deserve a break today.” Actually, check that. If he’s going to steal a corporate motto, it’s far more likely to be Pantene’s “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” To which Jose would borrow his cousin Sherry’s long ago response to those shampoo adds “We don’t hate you because you’re beautiful, we hate you because you’re a stuck up bitch.”

3. Congratulations to Bob Ryan on his column today which poked holes in the non-stop 1978 garbage that dominated the weekend series at Fenway. Ryan suggested that a better analogy is 1965, a year when the Yankees fell to pieces and stayed that way. It is a good analogy, but not the best. Jose would offer 1912, when another overpriced behemoth fell apart. Yes, Titanic is the perfect metaphor for the 2007 Yankees. Indeed, Jose can hardly wait until they kill Leonardo DiCaprio in the final game of the season.

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