Saturday, August 25

Hot Sox on Sox Action Featuring Kinky "Knuckleballer"

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

1. F you Curt Euro.

That’s right, Jose said it, well he at least hinted at it. This is an upscale feature and Jose isn’t going to work blue. But seriously, F you.

Jose could forgive a lot. He is a forgiving man. He forgave all of the saves you blew in 2005. He forgave the fact that between being a major league pitcher and a Warquest geek you dangerously blur the line between jock and nerd, like you are some foolish Romeo trying to unite two feuding houses of Verona. Jose could forgive the diarrhea of the mouth and your poor play on Celebrity Poker Challenge. (Note: How dare you represent the Red Sox poorly in front of former Kids in the Hall straight man Dave Foley.) Hell, Jose could even forgive you for endorsing George W. Bush. Jose not only could forgive you, but he did forgive you.

But this? Nope. Sorry. A man can only take so much. That’s what Popeye taught Jose, when on break from schilling for the powerful spinach lobby.

Look what you’ve done. 6IP 3H, 1BB, 3K, 1ER. That’s your line from Friday’s nightcap. And do you know what Jose is doing as a result of this little display? He’s writing. That’s right, Jose is squandering precious August weekend hours, as if they are base runners with less than two out, WRITING, and it’s all your fault.

Jose doesn’t write on the weekends-- not since the 2005 playoffs, and probably not in the regular season either since April or May 2005. Jose used to write on the weekends. Surely you remember. Back in the halcyon days of 2004 Jose would write seven days a week if that’s how the games fell, eight days a week if there was a double header. But no more.

Jose got older, he got wiser, and, frankly, crankier. He started to realize he’s only got so much left in the tank. He’s got to conserve. You should understand this. How many pitches are left in that old arm of yours? 1,000? 10,000? 5? 10? You’ve reached a point in your career where this is only so much you can do, so you have to pick your spots and so has Jose.

Jose is writing today because the rules of the game thread demand it. The Sox win Jose starts a thread. Thems the rules. Of course, if the Sox don’t win, no problem, Jose gets to sleep and spend all of Saturday drinking beer and trudging through episodes of Alias’ dreary fifth season. But you had to go out and pitch beautifully. You had to get beyond that early home run to settle into a sweet summer groove. And for what? To pick up a half game on the Yankees? To convince Red Sox fans that the Euro has not gone the way of the Drachma?

The American labor movement battled for generations, people died in Haymarket Square and starved as they marched picket lines in places like Lowell and Lawrence, to give the American people, working people like Jose, the weekend, that precious two days of sloth and gluttony that God had imagined us squeezing entirely into Sunday. And with a fistful of fastballs you have taken that away from Jose, and by extension, the American worker.

Thanks for nothing. (Note: Thanks for everything. Awesome game. Jose loves you!)

2. This is interesting. Jose tries to learn something new every day, it’s just something he does. Sometimes he learns a new word in German, other times he learns a new fact about cranberry farming. Sometimes it’s important stuff, and sometimes it’s obscure, but what matters is that now, even into the dotage of his 30s, Jose is still learning. And yesterday he learned something fascinating.

Did you know that it’s possible to win both games of a double-header? It is. The Red Sox just did. Jose had no idea. As long as he can remember, it seemed like the Red Sox always split double-headers, so Jose guesses he just started to assume that a spilt was the only way it could be.

It made sense and fit in with everything Jose knew about double-headers. For instance, think about that two-headed monster on Sesame Street. The two heads were never in agreement, and were frequently pulling in opposite directions, though they would occasionally work together to spell out words. Alternatively, consider the flag of the fictional country of Grand Fenwick from the play “The Mouse that Roared.” On it was a two-headed eagle with one head saying “Aye,” the other “Nay.” That’s how Jose always imagined a double-header. And a double-headed coin? Well that’s just plain counterfeiting.

Is it any wonder that Jose though double-headers had to be splits?

But Jose is glad to finally know the truth. He suspects this is one of those things that will feel strange for a long time and then he will eventually come to accept it as it becomes more and more familiar, like the monster seats or the Yankees finishing in a distant second place.

A typical Red Sox double-header
3. Among the most amazing things about yesterday’s double-header victory was that they got both games in. The weather forecasters had projected that there was an 80-90% chance of rain throughout the day. And contrary to what one might think, they were not wrong. There was an 80-90% chance of rain. Yesterday, the reality on the South Side of Chicago just happened to be in that 10-20% chance of no rain. And yet we all assumed it would rain. Why wouldn’t we? That was the overwhelming likelihood? That’s the funny thing about percentages. When the imbalance grows, we mortals start to think of the merely unlikely as impossible. The weather forecasters made perfect forecasts, the outcome was simply the improbable one.

We as baseball fans all believe in playing the percentages, at least the wise among us do. But it is worth remembering that even the right decisions, the statistically wise decisions can have negative, or even disastrous outcomes. Grady was a fool to leave Pedro in, and his foolishness led to disaster, but had Pedro slid through the 8th unscathed, the outcome would have been far better, but the decision still would have been nonsensical.

It is not a mathematical law per se, and even if it was, Jose wouldn’t know, he’s sort of dumb about math, but as the gravity of the situation increases, the small risks become much greater. In most situations in life, Jose would be giddy to have a 97% chance of success. But what if he was having an angioplasty? Suddenly that 3% chance of failure would seem huge, and the 3% risk of sudden death would seem far more distressing than the 74% chance that DJ Dru will not get a hit in any situation.

Jose is not really sure what he is getting at here. He supposes he is just trying to remember that good decision-making is no guarantee of success in baseball as in life, that the best team does not necessarily win the contest any more than the best weather forecasts guarantee rain. Perhaps there is luck out there in the universe, perhaps the gnarled hand of fate tugs at the threads of our future and makes the improbable the inevitable, but Jose will leave the luck to the gamblers. He will stick with the National Weather Service, he will stick with Tito and keep playing those damnable percentages.

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

Friday, August 24

Hot Sox on Sox Action Featuring "Mature" Pitcher

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

1. As Jose writes this, he is going to assume that the Red Sox are going to win Game 1 of today’s day-night doubleheader. Why not? Starting game threads comes pregnant with responsibility, namely the responsibility of starting game threads, and it is not as though Jose can sit around in the middle of the day writing KEYS. Unlike, Cesar Crespo, he has a job.

Thus, he is going to simply assume that someone bought the KEYS thong requisite for a victory and that the matchup of St. Josh a Beckett and Judy Garland is enough to ensure the victory.

But what to write? Jose usually depends on the events of the game the night before to drive the KEYS and with Jose writing this before the first game, that is simply not an option. So instead, Jose thought he would offer a bit of a tutorial on how he comes up with KEYS, sort of a behind the scenes “The Making of KEYS TO THE GAME” piece. Ideally, Jose would do this by watching himself write KEYS and writing about writing KEYS as he writes KEYS, but there is a problem with that, as Jose is only one man. On the upside, that still makes Jose one man more than Roger Clemens.

The process of writing KEYS typically begins the night before a game, as Jose observes the evening’s contest. Much like a reporter, Jose jots down notes for the piece to be published the next day as he watches. However, Jose does not do it exactly like a reporter. For instance, Jose watches without under contempt for the people in the stands. Jose uses a complicated note taking system which involves writing observations on the backs of receipts, business cards or parts of his anatomy whenever he notices something that could be good for the next day. Alternatively, when a writing implement is unavailable, Jose uses a backup system of turning to whoever he is with and saying “remember this.” Jose knows it doesn’t sound too professional but it is exactly the same system used by Carl Bernstein. One of the great untold secrets of Watergate was that Bernstein had “Deep Throat is Mark Felt” written on his arm, only he accidentally used indelible ink, so the great secret was printed on his bicep for 30 years.

Jose, of course, learned from that experience and did not use indelible ink. While this sounds like a good idea, it is somewhat problematic, as Jose typically takes a shower post game and washes off all of the good ideas he has had over the course of the evening. On the upside, it also washes off ideas like nicknaming DJ Dru, DJ Pew. And thank God for that. The other problem is Jose occasionally hands out business cards without always checking what’s on the back, leaving him in constant fear of inadvertently handing an important colleague a card with something like “Bowel cancer: Good analogy for A-Rod?” on the back. On the upside no one would ever figure out what it said as Jose’s penmanship is so poor as to make his normal handwriting a far more difficult code to break than anything produced by the enigma machine.

Thus, freshly showered and shaved, Jose moves into the second part of the routine, combing through evening game stories for new ideas. After reading the stories, Jose goes to bed meditating on the content as he moves through immigration to Queen Mab’s realm.

When Jose is lucky, he has lucid baseball dreams, providing content for the morning’s work. When he is not, he has lucid dreams about needing to complete his senior year of high school or losing his teeth.

When Jose awakens in the morning, he lays in bed for ten minutes or so processing the previous evening’s game, and then it’s time to hit the papers. This is where the serious work is done. Most of Jose’s content emerges during this time as he goes through a simple routine.
  • Look through the opponent’s roster and see if anyone has a name who can be made fun of.
  • Read the quotes in all Red Sox articles to see if there’s anything that can be taken out of context.
  • See if there is any actual news that requires comment.

By the time Jose has gone through this process he usually has one or perhaps even two KEYS in concept. Thus, Jose sits down and pounds out the first two KEYS of the morning as he downs his first three or four cups of coffee.

Then comes the rub. Jose sits there straining desperately to come up with a third KEY, wondering why on Earth he didn’t decide to make KEYS a two part exercise back in May of 2004, and knowing that he has about ten minutes until he has to get ready for work. Feeling as stressed as Calvin Schiraldi in October, Jose works through the following failsafe cycle:

  • Can he compare yesterday’s game to Survivor Series 1992?
  • Does Mike Lowell have anything in common with The Mighty Thor or possibly the Micronauts?
  • What mean can Jose say about DJ Dru?
  • What about feminine hygiene? Anything? What about comparing Manny Ramirez to one of those belts women used to hold hygienic pads in place back in the old days “sort of silly, but important?”
  • F*** A-Rod.

By then Jose usually has three hastily constructed KEYS and nothing left to do except add in the typos you all love so much. And if he’s not done by then, screw you guys. Jose’s not getting paid, he doesn’t owe you anything

2. Jose has been reconsidering his support of capitalism lately. Maybe it’s not so great after all. Jose has always been pro-capitalist, though not a laissez faire fellow. Communism always seemed sort of stupid and childish to him, but maybe he had it backward.

What has prompted this reconsideration is the fact that Jose learned this week that MonDonald’s has gone out of business. MonDonald’s is a Mongolian knock off of McDonald’s that Jose has written about before and long aspired to visit. But no more. Shielded by the nurturing Stalinism of the world’s second communist state, MonDonald’s was able to grow and thrive, but in the brave new capitalist Mongolia, there is simply no room for a humble business that aggressively poaches on intellectual property. For shame.

Imagine of the Cincinnati Reds were to suddenly shut down the Red Sox on the grounds that the name was nothing more than theft of the Cincinnati Red Stockings brand first used in 1871. Would you feel good about? Would you be happy that the almighty trademark had come above honor and tradition?

Neither would Jose. It’s why he refuses to call the WWF the WWE and why he weeps for Mongolia.

3. The Red Sox signed utility infielder Royce Clayton to a minor league contract. Jose is happy about this on several levels. First, Clayton provides good insurance for the utility spot. Second, it gives the organization two names Jose can make Clay-midia jokes about for the first time since Cla Meredith was dealt to San Diego in the ill fitted Mirabelli deal. Jose likes having that kind of organizational depth. Finally, Jose really likes his versatility. Jose can quip about how we have a guy who is a badass Brazilian dude who always wins UFC or compare him to a luxury car. That’s exactly what you want out of a utility man.

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

Thursday, August 23

Hot Sox on Sox Action

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

1. Sometimes it’s good to get back to your roots. It’s not so much that it’s good to reconnect old names with old faces, or stroll down memory lane, or wallow in the cheap high of nostalgia; it’s just that sometimes it’s good to get down in the mire in which you were conceived so you can see exactly how far you’ve risen above it. Looking down from the treetops, where one spends days swinging from branch to branch, is no match for actually descending from the safety of the canopy and wiggling one’s toes in the primordial ooze.

This wiggling of toes in ooze is what Jose is doing today. On this good day, as Virgo arises from the still warm embers of Leo, Jose has returned to the bosom of the Sons of Sam Horn (SoSH) Game Thread where he was born and grew and came of age.

A few of you who read KEYS on blogspot, perhaps even more, do not know about SoSH Game Threads. Bless you. It is like being blissfully unaware of war or robbery or pain. But blissful though ignorance may be, it is transient, jerking roughly into the sharp steel of knowledge. And this KEY shall be that blade.

Each game day on the SoSH board, an internet misfit starts an electronic thread dedicated to chronicling, in real time, the events of the day’s game. Since this tradition began, thousands of posts, millions of words, have been devoted to the travails of our Red Sox, and 90 percent of them are things like “score” or “f*cking Tito.”

As in so many otherwise meaningless pursuits, complex codes of conduct have emerged to imbue significance to what is fundamentally a squandering of God’s gift of life.

  • A game thread may not be started until midnight of game day in Eastern Time.
  • A new game thread may not be started until the old game is complete.
  • The same poster begins a thread for each game until the Red Sox lose.
  • No matter what he does, a poster named “SexyBanana” is not allowed to start game thread—ever.
  • All of these rules are periodically invalid when anarchy seems like a good idea.
  • If Curt Euro wants to get drunk and start game threads where he talks about the size of his teammates’ testicles, that is fine.

Once the rules are observed a game thread follows a basic format until the game begins.

A. The thread starter posts about how there will be a big winning streak because he is starting the thread.
B. SoSHers desperately search for and post stupid pictures that some how connect to the thread starter’s handle.
C. Borderline pornography gets posted.
D. Pictures that mock the opposing team (note: dead oriole, dead blue jay, dead… athletic) are posted.
E. More borderline pornography.
F. Jose posts KEYS.
G. Still more borderline pornography.
H. Inside joke from SoSH’s elusive Pinsetting and Gutterballs forum.
I. MoVaughn’sTruck posts Red Sox game notes.
J. Lineups are posted.
K. Lineups are complained about.
L. More borderline pornography
M. First pitch.

After the game begins, the thread varies a bit more, as one would expect, depending on whether the Sox are winning or losing, but much of the basic storyline is consistent. So let’s assume it’s a home game and walk through the sequence.

A. Sox take the field
B. Complaint that the Sox pitcher looks bad.
C. Retort that Sox pitcher looks good.
D. Much cursing
E. Demand that the offense start hitting
F. Complaint about whoever is hitting second.
G. Come on Papi
H. Yankees update.
I. 15 posts about how worthless DJ Dru is.
J. Server crashes
K. Server comes back in the fourth inning.

This continues more or less for six or seven innings until the game nears its conclusion. If the Sox are getting killed, the number of posts per minute declines precipitously. If not, the server continues to crash periodically. Let’s pick up the sequence in the late innings.

A. Complaint about the starter being left in to long.
B. Complaint about starter being taken out to soon.
C. Gnashing of teeth about who is warming up.
D. Question of why Papelbon isn’t being brought in in this “high leverage 7th inning situation”
E. Cursing at Mike Timlin.
F. Apology and explanation of how poster has always loved Mike Timlin.

Eventually, for better or for worse, the game ends, but with decidedly different paths depending on whether it was a win or a loss. For a loss the sequence is:

A. We can still come back, only two outs.
B. Come on, come on.
C. F*ck you whoever made the last out.
D. Complaint about how this is a terrible loss
E. Yankees update.
F. Calls for players to be traded/manager fired.
G. Complaint that the sky is falling.
H. Riposte that everything is fine.
I. More complaining until midnight
J. At midnight a new poster start’s the next day’s thread.

Of course, if they win the path is quite different.

A. Water.
B. Pictures of polluted bodies of water are posted.
C. Poster kevlog posts pictures of fireworks.
D. More pictures of untreated sewage pop up.
E. Yankees update
F. Insistence that this was a huge win.
G. Agreement.
H. Predictions that this will start a long winning streak.
I. Agreement
J. Someone talks about how drunk they are.
K. Agreement.
L. The poster who started the day’s game thread starts the next day’s after midnight, usually congratulating themselves for the victory.

2. The reason Jose has gone through the tedious exercise of explaining this is that today, for the first time since 2004, Jose is starting a game thread. These game threads are where KEYS began, where Jose found his voice. He original started KEYS in May 2004 in the SoSH game threads after his first SoSH bash at Copperfield's and then Fenway. Back then, Jose was just trying to find a way to distinguish himself as a poster without the burden of having to become insightful. Thus he started a quippy little daily posting in three parts. It was crap, but you’d know that if you’d bought the 2004 KEYS Book. (Note: Happy ending guaranteed.) It was only a couple hundred words back then, and it was in the first person. Jose must have been crazy. Who talks in the first person?

But within a few weeks, Jose had switched to his popular third person, after noticing how everything Ricky Henderson said was funny because it was in the third person, and those 200 word postings began to swell to 600, 800 1,200 words.

Eventually, Jose built to house his KEYS, to give him a year round home, but he never stopped posting in the game threads. Sure he started posting only two KEYS in the threads as part of his ruthless campaign of self-promotion. (Note: That reminds Jose, he is pretty sure that if someone buys a KEYS thong each day Jose is starting a game thread, it will keep the Sox winning. It’s in the Bhagavad Gita.) But today, Jose has returned to his roots, posting not one, not two, but all three KEYS in the SoSH game thread, as he tries to defy Thomas Wolfe’s painful cliché that you can’t go home again.

3. But enough of the narcissistic introspection. That’s not what KEYS is about. KEYS is about cold hard analysis of the games themselves, about providing insights that you will not get anywhere else. Thus Jose offers the following reasons why the Red Sox will win tonight:

  • Passed balls by A.J. Pierzynski. The game is at what former Bruins goalie Reggie Lemelin would call “U.S. Cellaller: Field, and we all know that U.S. Cellular has terrible reception.
  • The White Sox have a guy named Danks starting, which almost certainly means, which almost certainly means the first pitchers out of the pen will be Dark and Dreary, and those guys aren’t even on the Major League roster right now.
  • St. Josh a Beckett is pitching tonight and the White Sox do not have a single player named Fitzurse, de Moreville, de Tracy, or le Breton. (Note: Look it up. You know you want to.)
  • The White Sox have a guy named Boone on the roster. He is useless, because, as any Lost fan knows, Boone died in 2004. Also he had sex with his step sister.

See that’s the kind of penetrating insight you only get at KEYS. The factors are all stacked up in favor of the Red Sox. Sure, Danks is a rookie lefty, which makes him Sandy Koufax against this Red Sox line up, but what would you rather rely on for your game predictions, solid historical evidence, or about players’ names? If you’re reading KEYS, you know that how one’s name relates to a saint who’s been dead for 800 years is far more relevant that one’s ERA+, ERA- or ERA*. ERA/ may be more important, but only barely.

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

Wednesday, August 22

Filthy Pitches

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

1. Jonathan Papelbon has a new pitch. He calls it the slutter. Really.

It’s too easy isn’t it? It’s like making fun of former Congressman Dick Swett.

This is the sort of thing Jose normally hates, like the name Coco Crisp, because it makes things far too simple for those who are less adept and wordplay than Jose. It just lowers the bar. Still, he can’t help but be enchanted by the name of this fastball-slider hybrid.


Slutter, slutter, slutter, slutter, slutter.

It just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

Well, if Paps is going to go the misogynistic route for his new patented pitch, we should probably go that way on a few other famous pitches right?

A friendly note to sensitive readers. This is likely to get unpleasant and make you think less of Jose, a lot less. Consider skipping this and moving on to KEY 2, a delightful little satire on the state of Florida. Please. Jose can’t stand your accusing glances and the sense that you are totally disappointed in him.
  • Mariano Rivera’s Cut Fastball: The Nasty Whore(side)
  • Tim Wakefield’s Knuckle Ball: The Five Knuckle Shuffle (note: not technically misogynistic, just dirty.)
  • Pedro Martinez’s Change Up: The Filthy Martinez
  • Dice-K’s Gyroball: The Hooker With the Heart of Gold (Note: Because they both sound appealing, but don’t actually exist.)
  • DLowe the Paranoid Android’s Back Door Curveball, You Know the One He Got Terrence Long With: The Back Door Hooker

Thanks Papelbon. Look at what you’ve made Jose do.

2. A curious piece of news emerged yesterday as Curt Euro expressed interest in playing in Tampa next year if the Red Sox do not resign him.

At first, Jose found this perplexing. Curt is an ultracompetitive guy, he loves to win, so why would he consider going to the worst franchise in Major League Baseball. Sure they have some young talent, but that’s been the case for years and they’ve never been anything other than awful. And yes, Joe Maddon seems like a good manager, but it’s not like Curt would ever go to a team for the manager, right Tito?

Jose kept rolling it over and over in his head. Why? Why? So he can play in a dome? So he can be on a 90 game loser? And then it hit Jose like a Pedro fastball to that little b*tch Jorge Posada. It was a lesson from his frequent trips to “the continent” as the aristocrats call it. Euros love Florida. Inexplicably, Euros absolutely adore the place. All over Europe, travel agencies promote places like Fort Myers and St. Petersburg as exotic destinations for Euros looking for a taste of the new world. So Jose figures Curt is no different, the lure of sun, sand and seniors is simply too much for him, or any other Euro, to resist.

3. Jonathan Papelbon last night became the first pitcher in Red Sox history ever to have two 30 save seasons with the team. Moreover, he became the first professional athlete of any kind in Boston to have two 30 save seasons since Andy Moog. (Note: Jose doesn’t watch much hockey and more, but the Bruins have probably had a goalie or two somewhere in there who isn’t that horrible. Or maybe not. At least Jose is sure that Blaine Lacher never had consecutive 30 save seasons.)

While the accomplishment sounds underwhelming when one first hears it, it is shocking that Papelbon is the first to do it given some of the names who have closed for the Red Sox, such as Jeff Reardon, Lee Smith, Tom Gordon and Dick Radatz. This is of course, in sharp contrast to Red Sox who have had two 30 blown save seasons, which Jose figures must include Heathcliff Sloccumb, Jeff Russell, Ken Ryan, or maybe it just felt like they blew 30 a year.

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

Tuesday, August 21

Antibiotic Resistant Baseball

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

1. DJ Dru is not a problem.

He’s not. Sure he’s batting .262 with 6 HR and 45 RBI on August 21, but he is not a problem.

No, he is THE problem.

Everything going wrong with the Red Sox is DJ Dru’s fault. The lack of scoring? Dru’s fault. Mediocre right field defense? Dru. Papi’s torn meniscus? Dru’s fault. Somehow. Rococo Crisp getting hit by a moose? Dru was probably in the costume. It’s all his fault.

Imagine the Red Sox right fielder, for a moment, as an antibiotic. Dru was signed to his prodigious contract because the old right fielder, Mosey Nixon, was basically amoxicillin. Sure he was terrific back in the day, a nice moderate spectrum right fielder, who did a lot of things, but not everything, well, but he had become completely useless due to overuse and adaptation by his adversaries. So what did the Red Sox do? In the words of Hubert Lewis, they wanted a new drug. So with old, inexpensive Amoxicillin Nixon rendered all but useless, they chose to throw a lot of money at the expensive new broad spectrum antibiotic, the ciprofloxacin that is DJ Dru. He was supposed to be far more effective, good at everything, and damn it all if he was so expensive that insurance wouldn’t cover him.

So we swallowed hard and took our cipro exactly is directed. We only used it at designated times; we were so careful. And then… it didn’t work. Despite all of the expense and the side effects, the so-called five tool antibiotic didn’t get the job done. DJ Dru didn’t hit for power or average, he didn’t steal bases and he didn’t do particularly good work with the glove. Jose supposes his throwing arm has been fine. So where does that leave us? That leaves us with cipro effectively treating our most minor problem a metaphorical urinary tract infection but leaving our pneumonia, syphilis, septicemias, legionellosis and atypical lycobacterioses, all robust and expansive. In other words, it leaves us completely f*cked.

DJ Dru, like cipro was brought in to address a whole host of nasty problems, yet he has solved almost none of them. We get no power from our right fielder, we get no five hitter, we get no big hits, we get ho hum defense. And when a team, when a body, is giving so much and getting so painfully little, things can deteriorate quickly.

So what do we do? Do we try another cycle of cipro and hope to God it works or do we cut our losses and shell out a ton of money for vancomycin the antibiotic of last resort, which will cost a ton, and will probably work, but still might not? (Note: Not that Jose knows who that would be. Andruw Jones?)

Medicine, they say, is as much an art as a science, and so too, it appears, is player evaluation. All of those statistics, all of those numbers said Dru would flourish in Boston, despite what former fans and managers had said about him. But in the grinding art of player procurement, that small chance of morbidity is still infused with painful statistical significance.

2. As long as we’re talking about bacterial infections, Jose would like to commend SoSHer pedros hairstylist for coining the term Gagnerrhea, a wonderful way of describing painful and embarrassing condition that has been Eric Gagne’s Red Sox career thus far. Jose plans on appropriating this outright and is preparing a whole routine of STD related nicknames. So far he’s got Claymydia Buchholz (note: because when he’s going it feels like he’s on fire), Joba(cterial vaginosis) Chamberlain (note: absolutely filthy) and of course Nongonoccal Urethritis Clemens.

3. Not only have the good people of Red Sox Nation lost all the glory that was Wily Mo, they have lost access to his myspace page as well. The Nationals slugger set his myspace page to private after sources including Jose and later the harpies at the Herald’s Inside Track posted the address.

Of course, Jose wasn’t the first to post it. No blogger Dan Lamothe of Redsoxmonster found it a good few weeks before Jose and the Track and then wrote a smarmy little letter to the harpies accosting them for failing to cite him.

It is exactly these kind of petty, self-promotional nonsense that Jose… applauds and commends. Time and time again Jose has gotten what the PR pros call “earned media” by sending snippy little letters to people who have in even the vaguest and most unrelated way used an idea that sort of resembles his. Remember Jose getting in Eric (K)neel’s ESPN column by complaining like Paul O’Neil after a call third strike down the heart of the plate about the use of the term “Balki Arroyo.” You see, in the internet, as in baseball, petulance pays.

Ergo, in order to simplify further complaints, Jose is going to offer a few phrases that he considers proprietary even though he has no trademark whatsoever, makes no money from this blog and doesn’t really care.
  • It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
  • I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.
  • Curt Euro.
  • Rococo Crisp
  • J.D. Drew is the worst free agent acquisition since Matt Young. No check that, he’s the worst free agent acquisition ever. He has no power, he doesn’t hit for average, his defense is worse than advertised and he eats like a pig. He probably smells bad too.

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

Monday, August 20


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

1. Believe it or not, there is a problem with baseball.

It’s kind of boring.

It is. Let’s stop fooling ourselves and admit it.

Jose loves baseball as much as anyone— no more than anyone, but the critics are right, the game is boring. Jose has always known this, and sometimes he has even admitted it. Indeed, from time to time, Jose has been known to argue that baseball is the greatest of sports precisely because it is boring. In football or basketball if you are distracted for a moment or two you can lose the entire flow of the game. Also, they angry up the blood. In soccer, looking away for a moment at any time can result in missing the sum total of the day’s scoring. But baseball, with its leisurely pace and long season lends itself to a lacksidasical approach to watching in all but the most important of games, and Jose is nothing if not lacksidasical.

The historical notion is that this relaxed tempo has made baseball the most old-fashioned of sports, a leisurely pastoral game designed for the slow pace of the late 19th century. Jose could not disagree more. While baseball may have been born in a more plodding age, it is the absolute best game for the information age. You know why? Multitasking.

Baseball fandom was made for multitaskers. Because baseball, unlike other sports, does not require one’s undivided attention, it is the perfect sport for the era of blackberries, connectivity and all of that other techno-Al Gore- mumbo jumbo. Who can do one thing at a time anymore? Who dares to drive a car without listening to the radio and/or shooting out the window? Who would imagine washing dishes without talking on the phone? Who would ever walk to work without trading on the Hang Seng wirelessesly? Suckers and back numbers, that’s who. And baseball is perfect for this on-the-go lifestyle.

It used to be that Jose would read a magazine or the paper while watching the game. But those days are long gone. Jose has now taken to watching DVD’s on his laptop while watching the game with the sound off (note: this has the added benefit of ensuring that he does not hear the gyroball song ever again.) As a result, Jose is able to entertain himself twice as efficiently. Hell, you could blow through an entire season of Weeds in the time it takes to watch one Red Sox-Yankees game. (Note: Though of course, Yankees games are one of those categories that require undivided attention.) Sometimes, Jose will even go for the trifecta and watch a DVD with the game on while reading a magazine.

Jose’s only regret is that computer-based video systems did not exist in the early 1990s. He’s pretty sure he could have watched entire episodes of Lost in between Jeff Gray pitches.

2. There is enough bad news in sports today, what with dog killing quarterbacks, crooked refs, juicing sluggers and pro wrestling deaths by the fistful. Jose would like to focus on the positive. He really would. But just when you think you’ve found a great story, something uplifting to focus on, that pedestal crumbles to dust.

Jose was going to use this space to write about Brandon Webb’s remarkable pursuit of Orel Herschiser’s consecutive scoreless innings record. Webb has pitched 42 straight without yielding a run, stilly two complete games short of Herschiser’s number. But then he checked his email last night. Scandal city.

Waiting in Jose’s Inbox was an email from none other than Brandon N. Webb advertising Jose incredible low, low prices on prescription drugs. The drugs available included the typical assortment of male prescriptions in addition to Ambien and Xanax. The best part was that one gets four free Viagra with every order!

If Webb is running an internet pharmacy, that is not only a gross violation of U.S. law, but circumstantial evidence that he might be involved with some of the more pernicious substances floating through the Major League ranks.

Now you’re probably asking yourself “Why would a Major Leaguer making big money risk it all by running a pharmacy business on the side?” Well, first it’s not unprecedented. MLS star Joe-Max Moore ran an internet pharmacy with his father. Second, it is not as though Webb did not take precautious to disguise his identity. In the email, Webb cleverly changed his middle initial from “T” to “N,” which would through most professional journalists off track, but not someone with Jose’s keen investigative senses.

So there you go. Brandon Webb, you are a crook and possibly a cheat. Jose is onto you and he will rarely, if ever buy prescription drugs from you. If Jose absolutely must get his prescriptions from a major leaguer, he will get them from Jason Giambi like everyone else.

3. While the Doug Mirabelli injury on Friday was disappointing, it did give a chance for upstart Kevin “Kid” Kash to make his Red Sox debut. According to wikipedia and a few other sources, Kash learned to catch the knuckleball under the tutelage of former tag team champion and Rock ‘n’ Roll Express legend Ricky Morton.

So what does Kid Kash bring to this team? Well, aside from having the 4th worst OPS plus among hitters with 300+ plate appearances since 1967 (note: thanks to SoSher CaptainLaddie for that stat), he offers decent skills at throwing out runners and a whole slew of humorous Kash-themed wrestling maneuvers such as the Money Roll, Bankruptcy , K.O.D. – Kash On Delivery, the Money Drop and the Bank Roll.

Keeping with the carefully crafted Kash persona, Jose suggests that every time he throws out a runner we refer to it as “foreclosing on a subprime mortgage,” every time he gets a hit, which will be rarely, we can call it “paying dividends,” and each strikeout will be known as selling short.

Also, when he uses the men’s room, we’ll call it liquidating his assets.

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

Sunday, August 19

Classic KEYS

Below is a classic KEY 1 from 2004. It is among the most beloved KEYS ever written and seems appropriate for a day when the Sox are wearing the Red unis.

Now included, for the first time ever, is the picture that didn't go with it back in 2004 because Jose was too stupid to use pictures.