Saturday, October 13

ALCS Game 2: The Strange Story of Fausto

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

1. Part 1 Fausto’s Lament and Mephistopheles’ Offer

‘Twas two thousand and six, at the end of July,
And Fausto was staring up into the sky
At a home run that drifted up into a cloud,
“God, am I truly cursed?” he then wondered aloud.

“My fastball is fast, and it moves when I pitch,
Yet they crush with naught but a flick of the wrist,
And it flies, then I struggle, start losing control,
As I’ve let these damn Red Sox dig out of a hole.”

And he went home that night and he tossed as he slept,
Then he sighed and he struggled and quietly wept.
'Til two days passed and then he had won back the ball
“'Twas a fluke,” then he said. “I am not bad at all.’

‘Gainst these Red Sox, I’ll rear back and show them my heat,
And for us save a win, and for them give defeat.
So he reared back and tossed out a treacherous ball
And nailed a batter and caused him to fall.

The he plunked still another, a walk and a hit,
Thus, the alchemist pitcher was spitting the bit.
As two runs crossed the plate and his team lost the game,
Then he sulked and he felt ignominious shame.

When he crawled into bed and he pouted that night,
He cried to the Lord, “Can I do nothing right?
Then he heard a strange sound, sniffed a troubling smell,
Like the brimstone that smolders in fiery hell.

He looked at the floor, at the foot of his bed,
Sat a fluffy white poodle, with eyes of blood red.
“It’s a dog,” cries young Fausto and rubs on his eyes.
I’ve go to confess, this is quite a surprise,

That a poodle has into my bedchamber crept,
It must be the doorman, he’s kind of inept.”
Then the scent, it grew stronger, the poodle changed shape,
And there stood the devil, with horns, hooves and cape.

“I heard Doctor Fausto, you angrily call,
To the Lord in your search for a better fastball,
But I’m not the Lord, though I’ve power to lend.
Of course, I will want something back in the end.”

“Why’d you call me Doctor?” young Fausto shot back.
“And why would I deal with the powers of black
Ness and evil, as if I’m a simpering fool?
I know all about your dark realm and your rule

Over souls that are damned, thus to bargain with you,
Is really not something I’m looking to do.
Because what could you give me, that now I don’t hold?
I’m strong, and I’m sharp and I’m not very old.”

“Good Doctor,” the devil did calmly respond,
“I’m not here to offer you brunettes or blondes
or redheads or wealth or inferior stuff,
I just heard you yelling about how life’s tough.

And I thought I could offer what you truly need,
Not help with your motion or even your speed,
But something deceptive, a good change of pace,
A pitch from my realm that will help you save face.

A slider from hell, you can throw when as wish,
The batters will struggle like air breathing fish.
It will start like a fastball when leaving your hand,
But when batters swing it will fall to the sand

And leave the embarrassed and looking like chumps,
And you’ll win respect from the fans and the umps.
Yes, I’ll be your servant, your own ‘pitching coach’
On this humble Earth I will guide your approach.”

“And how shall I pay for this service you’d give?”
Said Fausto “I’ll never, as long as I live,
Sign a deal that will make be your stooge or your slave,
And to kneel on this Earth at your feet knave.”

“Well what about this?” then the devil replied.
“I’ll make you an offer and you can decide
If it’s fair or its foul, like an ump on the line,
And if you don’t want, it well’s that’s really fine.

You can give up your hits, give up run after run
Go back to the minors, I’m sure you’ll have fun.
But before, you’re so righteous in sending me off,
I’ll make you an offer, that won’t make you scoff.

I’ll give you this slider, be your coach on this Earth,
And I will take nothing, for what it is worth,
‘Til you come to a moment of unrivaled joy,
Where you’ve pitched a game that will surely destroy,

Your opponent, a game that’s so fine and so good,
That ultimate bliss will be yours, understood?
Then insects shall rain on your joy and your bliss,
Then I’ll come and I’ll snatch up your soul with a kiss,

And you’ll come back with me and have to obey,
Be my servant, and pitch for my team when we play
‘Gainst the Angles, the heavenly team from the sky,
Who I cursed just last week with a case of pink eye.

But, if bliss never comes and if joy’s never reached,
And my rep as a prophet is badly impeached,
Then you will owe my nothing, however you pitch.
And I’ll stay on this Earth and I’ll work as your bitch.

So what say you Fasuto, so vain and so proud,
Will you take my offer and am I allowed,
To give you this gift that will make you an ace,
Or will you reject me and spit in my face?”

And Fausto pondered and thought of the good
Of a slider that left naught but splintering wood,
And imagined that this deal, it might be the one,
As ‘ultimate bliss,’ it cannot ever come.

“So I’ll get a great pitch, and I’ll be Cleveland’s ace,
Since bliss shall not come, I will stay in God’s grace,
And this fool of a devil will not take my soul.
He’ll just sit there and squirm as I get on a roll.”

“Mephistopheles,” Fausto Carmona declared.
“I will take up your offer, for I am not scared.”
Then a thick poof of smoke and a sickening thud
And there was a fountain pen dripping with blood,

And a thick sheet of parchment, outlining the deal,
Satan waited for Fausto to sign, which would seal,
Them in contract together, and sign it he did,
Satan laughed his eyes burning, and said “Then I bid

You goodnight Doctor Fausto, until you next pitch,
And I’ll give you the slider, that will make you rich.”
With a stamp of his hooves, first his left, then his right,
The devil did disappear into the night.

2. Part 2 The Gretchen Tragedy

It was 2007 and Fausto pitched well,
And he lived as we wished and had no fear of hell,
For he knew he would never know ultimate bliss,
Even holding his lover and sharing a kiss,

She’s a groupie who he had met out at a bar,
Then they screwed in the back of his luxury car,
He had seen her before, but she hadn’t seen him,
Because she liked the stars who were bright and not dim.

And he’d struggled last year, and he’d not been an ace,
So if he’d asked her out she’d have smacked up his face,
As she flirted with Hafner and Sizemore and such,
A bit, with Martinez, although not too much.

But this year when he pitched with slider from hell,
She started to see Doctor Fausto as well.
She came up to him and said “Buy me a drink?
I’m Gretchen and you’re Doctor Fausto, I think.”

And he kept pitching well ‘cause his slider had bite,
But then one tragic eve Gretchen started a fight
With poor Fausto, she begged him to come to her house,
And meet her old mother, a miserable souse.

He consented, but not without pouting and hate,
Because, truth be told, he had another date
For that evening, with whom he’d been hoping to score,
But for Gretchen, he guessed he would not start a war.

So they went to her house and they met her old mom,
As mom sucked down a drink that she called a car bomb.
But young Fausto was horny, for he’d planned a date,
So he whispered to Gretchen “Hey why should we wait,

To get busy, I think your mom’s gonna pass out,
Then we’ll go to your room, and I’ll whip it on out.”
But Gretchen was wise for she’d seen her mom drink
Thus responded, “She’ll last for a while, I think.”

But Fausto knew lot’s about drinking the booze,
Thus he thought “I know of a drink I can use.”
So he took some Tequila, some vodka and gin
And mixed in Unicum, Hungarian sin,

And brought it to mama a big frothing glass,
Then mom was unconscious, collapsed on her ass.
So then he and Gretchen snuck up to her room,
And made some remarkable va-va-va-vroom.

Then they came downstairs, and the went to the door,
And saw that the mom had fallen to the floor.
With a frothing of mouth and a drooping of head,
It quickly emerged that old mom, now was dead.

In following weeks, well the story got worse,
As Gretchen began to fall under a curse,
She threw up a lot and she didn’t feel well
Her innards they felt like the fires of hell.

So she went to the doctor to see what was up
And he asked her to go and pee into a cup.
When she asked why the doctor had done what he did
He said “Congratulations, your having a kid.”

Meanwhile Fausto was pitching with low ERA
And the Indians surged and they readied to play
‘Gainst the Yankees in Cleveland in Game Number Two
And then Fausto was pitching, so what could he do,

When he heard from his Gretchen, her medical news?
He said, “I’m the father, I think I refuse
To believe that, after all, you have been around
So no I ain’t gonna see no ultrasound.”

But Mephisto, he sent to look in on his girl,
And he sat near her bed, gave his moustache a twirl
And said “Gretchen, I think you’re in trouble by dear,
Our boy Fausto he is a big leaguer I fear.

And you’re just a woman, his object of lust,
With badonkadonk butt and a hell of a bust.
But you’re kicked to the curb now, you’ve nothing to give,
And I think that young Fausto won’t care if you live
Or you die as long, as you stay quite far away,
And, oh I don’t think I would bother to pray,
For you’ve sinned every day, and that’s rather a lot,
So I think that I’ll take you where fire is hot.”

Though Gretchen was shattered, she couldn’t be budged.
Thus Satan he yelled at her “You are now judged!!!”
And she cried as she thought of her loss of her love,
Then she heard a voice calling her up from up above.

“She is saved!” boomed the voice from the heavens on high
And she smiled although she continued to cry.
“And you devil,” God said, “Now be gone lowly knave
I’m not Joe Borowski, I know how to save.”

3. Part 3 The Pact is Concluded

Young Fausto, by Lake Erie was on the mound,
When he felt a strange feeling, both sad and profound,
Like something was lost, yet a burden was lifted,
So he pitched ‘gainst the Yankees as if he were gifted.

He mowed the Yanks down, he pitched a full nine,
But was troubled as Satan did send him a sign.
The game it was close and he gave up a run,
If his team couldn’t score, then he couldn’t have won.

He would lose, take an “L” in the box score that day
And his heart would grow heavy his mind would go gray,
But the insects descended in sickening clouds,
And with wild pitches a run was allowed

That tied up the game, and gave Fausto a chance,
To twirl with his slider and finish the dance.
So he fought through the flies, cause he knew they were friends
And he pitched to the inning that usually ends,

A ball game, unless the score stays even, tied,
At which point the bullpens will have to decide,
Who will win? Who will lose? Who will conquer Game 2,
And thus Doctor Fausto had nothing to do,

But relax and reflect on his brilliance that night,
How he’d owned the Yankees with throws from his right,
Arm of God. “But wait then” he suddenly thought.
My arm’s not from God it is certainly not.

Oh what have I done, I fear something’s amiss,
Did I just for a second, fell ultimate bliss?
“Yes you did,” said a voice, with its familiar call,
But the body was that of his friend Asdrubal.

“I’m Mephisto, that’s right,” said his teammate in gray.
“Who else could have S-D-R-U in his name?”
You felt perfect bliss ‘cause you mastered the Yanks?
Since I let you do it I expect some thanks.

Of course, you were foolish to feel such great joy,
It’s not like your looking at Helen of Troy.
You mastered a team that is good but not great,
But you felt that great joy, and, well, that sealed your fate.

And now your soul’s mine to do with as I please,
So now’d be a good time to fall to your knees.”
“Don’t send me to hell, cause I can’t stand the heat,”
Begged poor Fausto beginning to concede defeat.

“Oh don’t worry ‘bout fire,” Satan said with a grin,
“I prefer to use irony to punish sin.
So you will go to hell, but it won’t be all flames
No I’ll just let you pitch in ALCS games

Against Boston, with Ortiz and Manny and Lowell,
And laugh as you dig yourself into a hole.
Can you deal with the lightening fast Lugo on Crisp
When I take your slider back. What did you lisp.”

“Oh please Satan don’t take that one pitch from my arm,
These Red Sox are deadly and they’ll do me harm.?
“That’s why it’s called hell, so what can I do?
Except let you pitch against poor J.D. Drew.

But even that fellow who’s struggled so much,
Against you tonight will find the magic touch,
To crush balls to center to left and to right,
And then if you’re lucky, it will end your night.

Perhaps you will learn then, perhaps, you will strive,
And know that you’re not the best pitcher alive.
Perhaps in the spring of the following year,
You’ll play ‘gainst the Angles and they’ll sooth your fear.

They’ll burnish your ego and polish your soul
And take you to heaven and make you feel whole,
And up in God’s Kingdom perhaps you’ll pitch well,
But now facing the Red Sox, well, welcome to Hell.”

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

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.

Sunday, October 7

10/7/07--ALDS Game 3: Angles in the Outfield, Flies Over the Wall

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

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
-Ogden Nash "The Fly"

Jose is pretty sure that we know the answer to that one now.

Friday was a big day for those of us who have ever wondered if every thing on our crazy little sphere has a purpose, if each and every act and creature no matter how seemingly random or unimportant is part of some grand design.

If Ogden Nash were still here today, Jose wonders if he wouldn’t add a bit more to his two perfect lines? Jose has noticed lots of hack writers getting rich writing “sequels” to books by other people, as if “Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride” wasn’t just Jane Austen fan fiction.

Ergo, Jose thought he should give it a g

The Fly II
By Jose Melendez, a sequel to The Fly by Ogden Nash
(Note: Name borrowed by the film “The Fly II: Like Father Like Son”

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.

But God’s work’s never out of sight
Not here on this Lake Erie night.

A fly descends and brings his brood
And Joba Chamberlain is screwed.

They bite his face and ears and neck
His pitches turn to wild drek.

He walks a batter, Wild Pitch!
“God damn these bleeping flies they itch!”

A sac to third, he’s wild again
And no one’s warming in the pen?

But if the flies cost him control
How come Carmona’s on a roll?

When he K’d A-Rod with a curve
Was not old Alex quite unnerved

By flies or was it simply that
October still destroys his bat?

While half a continent away
The Sox and Angels start to play.

And flies affect this outcome too,
But not the ones that gnaw and chew

The necks of pitchers thick and stout
Who cannot get a batter out.

The flies in Boston split the night
And shoot up past the tower light

Off rounded bat on 1-0 counts
These flies on to the Mass Pike bounce.

Drosophila Walkoffengame
Is this sort of fly’s Latin name.

It doesn’t bite it doesn’t sting
This fly is naught but towering.

Though one’s a bug and one’s a ball
Both kinds of flies can end it all.

In Erie nights and Boston sky
We know now why God made the fly.

The weird thing is that it seems fully possible that Ogden Nash would love this shoddy bastardization of his work. The man was an Orioles fan, so you at least know he would like the part about the Yankees choking.

2. Before moving on to a third key that will also deal with the Yankees succumbing to insects, Jose feels obliged to do some serious writing about the Red Sox to prove that he is not Yankee obsessed and does not take more joy from Yankee losses than Red Sox wins.

But rather than focusing on the simplest story line, Manny’s home run, which Jose has already addressed in verse, he’d like to focus on a few other story lines from the evening.

• Terry Eurona--Managing Legend: We all know Tito is a good manager in the regular season, maybe even an excellent manager, but in postseason, it is like he is an entirely different guy, as mere excellence elevates to mathematical perfection. It is as if the man is Toyota Corolla, solid and reliable but unspectacular, that suddenly gains the ability to go 220 mph when you need it to take someone to the hospital.

Not a big car person? Jose isn’t either, so let’s try a different one. Maybe Tito’s more like the Hulk. The Hulk, of course is actually puny Bruce Banner when there’s nothing on the line, but when the stakes are high and the adrenaline flows, he becomes the super strong Hulk. So that’s another cut at it.

You don’t like comics either? Great. Why are you reading the KEYS again? Fine, Jose is inclusive, but just one more analogy. Tito in the regular season is like a chess computer program. It plays well, very well, when set to expert, and will beat average or even good players most of the, but in the playoffs Tito becomes Deep Blue, the IBM chess computer that makes millions of calculations per second, thinks hundreds of moves ahead and can beat the best straight up.

• Hideki Okajima--Regularity: As satisfying as Paps’ performance was last night, it was Okajima’s performance that was the most satisfying. After all of his recent struggles, he appears to be back to the way he was.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of relief Jose feels from Oki’s performance think of it this way. Imagine you have a high fiber diet and it keeps everything running smoothly, like clockwork. You know what Jose’s talking about; he doesn’t need to get graphic. Then one day, things just aren’t happening. The next day they aren’t either. You keep trying to use the facilities; you sit and you wait and nothing happens. Then, after a few days, when you are starting to feel genuinely concerned that there is something seriously wrong with your innards, you decide to try one last time before going to the doctor. Suddenly everything goes as smoothly and cleanly as ever. Imagine how satisfying, what a relief that would be? That’s how satisfying, Okajima’s performance last night was.

• Julio Lugo and DJ Dru--To die unsung would really bring them down: Last night, the two most disappointing Red Sox of the year not named Piniero, Romero, Pena, Hinske, Gagne or Mirabelli, did exactly what they were supposed to. (Note: That list is totally unfair. Dru was way more disappointing than anyone except Gagne.) Dru drove in two in the first, and Lugo got a single in the ninth and advanced to second on a well-executed hit and run to set up Manny’s game winning homer. Everyone forgot about the two of them between Manny’s home run and Dru’s brother playing much better than him in the post season for Arizona, but not Jose.

Both of these guys were heroes last night and when they next come to Fenway how about actually yelling “Drrruuuuuuuu” rather than “booooo” for once and yelling “Luuuuuuggggooooo” instead of yelling “Yuuuuggggooo” like you do when you disrespectfully compare him to a Fiat’s poor Balkan cousin.

OK has Jose filled his quota for Sox talk? He has? Now back to the Joba bashing.

3. A couple of days ago, Jose received a press release from a PR drone for a major non-Popeye’s chicken franchise.

The open letter is below, with a few minor changes to avoid promoting a company that has not offered Jose any free chicken.

October 5, 2007

An open letter to Steve Bartman:

As you know, the chatter about black cats, billy goats and curses has returned to the Windy City.

But like you (knock on wood) we don’t believe in hexes. And we don’t play the blame game. In fact, we’d rather lick fingers than point them.

But just to be safe, on behalf of die-hard Cub fans everywhere, we’d like to make you an offer we hope is too good to refuse.

If you promise to watch your beloved team from the comfort of your own couch, [Not Popeye’s] will provide you with the “Ultimate Stay At Home Party Pack.” It’ll include a feast of the Colonel’s World Famous Chicken plus all the side items, and your very own Limited Edition 42" 3-Pixel-Plus High-Definition LCD TV.

Take us up on this offer and maybe the 07 playoffs will be remembered for a feast of fowl at your home, rather than a foul ball at Wrigley Field.

After going 99 years without a World Series title, we think this [Not Popeye’s] offer could potentially be Cubdom’s secret recipe for success. We look forward to hearing from you. Enjoy the playoffs and here’s hoping for some good luck in ‘07!


[Some Rich Jerk]

President, [Not Popeye’s] Corporation

Jose finds this agitating. Who sits around and says “Hey let’s bribe some poor guy to further humiliate himself in order to sell chicken.” . One would hope that they would offer similar deals to Kyle Farnsworth and Alex Gonzales, who actually bear responsibility for the loss.

And you know what? Bartman is a classy guy and has donated all of the schwag given to him by various marketing jerks to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation out of love and respect for former Cub Ron Santo, a diabetes sufferer and one of the foundation’s major supporters. But he can’t give Fried Chicken to the Foundation can he? Kids with diabetes probably can’t even eat the probably sugar-laden chicken from Not Popeye’s.

And it’s not like it would keep the guy home anyway. If you want to keep Kevin Millar away from a game, sure, offer him chicken, if you want to keep Wade Boggs from a game, take away his chicken, but poor Steve Bartman? Please.

That said, as is often the case with marketing ideas, the problem may be more execution than concept. Except for the obvious criminality of offering bribes in an effort to change the outcome of a game, perhaps a different product offered to a player might be more effective.

Let Jose give you an example of a promotion that could influence the outcome of actual playoff games.

An Open Letter to Joba Chamberlain

As you know when summer turns into fall in Northern Ohio, the winds die down and swarms of flies descend upon Jacobs Field.

And like you, we don’t like getting bit by bugs. Thus, we at the SC Johnson Corporation were disappointed and embarrassed to see you slathering yourself in Deep Woods OFF insect repellent and still being swarmed by flies as you attempted to pitch.

Deep Woods OFF is a powerful insect repellent with 25% deet, and thus is highly effective, unlike that deet free nature crap. Our chemical engineers and entomologists met and concluded that the only way that many insects could have been attracted to you after using our product is if you smell like garbage.

Still, we want another chance to prove to you and the world that OFF is an effective product, so we would like to make you an enticing offer.

Should the series go to five games and you return to buggy Cleveland, we would like to dip you in a tank of 100% deet.

If you accept, we guarantee you will not have any problems with bugs, either because it successfully repels them or because rather than throwing wild pitches, you will be pitching wildly and unable to play, as excessive deet exposure is connected to between 14 and 46 cases of seizure according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

After going the entire agonizing century without a World Series, we think that this Deep Woods Offer could be the suck repellent the Yankees are looking for.

We’re hoping to hear from, and good luck at not catching West Nile Virus.


Some Other Rich Jerk
SC Johnson Corporation

See, that’s a good promotion. It’s timely, not four years out of date, it helps someone who smells like feces, not just some poor sap who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it could actually affect a game.

(Note to SC Johnson: If you would like to use this letter, Jose bill’s at $175 an hour. It took him 37 hours to write it.)

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