Friday, April 4

In Service of Pseudoscience

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

1. Every so often one has the opportunity to do something to benefit the cause of science and, by direct extension, poke the Pope in the eye.

Galileo had his lenses, Newton had his apple, Einstein had his tram and now Jose has his stupid little Web survey. Okay, Jose admits that it is not, strictly speaking, his Web survey. It belongs to a friend, mentor, and fellow Red Sox fan, who has made the terrible, terrible mistake of pursuing a PhD in communications. Apparently the PhD program in fractions at the University of Washington was too difficult to get into.

Still, even pseudoscience is a kind of science, just ask the President, and thus Jose supports it uncritically.

So here is the deal. If you click on this link, you will get to answer a few basic questions about baseball. Once you have done that you will be directed to a sort of futures market for 2008 statistics. You get 10,000 hypothetical dollars (note: 9345 hypothetical Canadian dollars, 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 hypothetical Zimbabwe dollars ) that you can spend betting on 2008 statistics like the number of home runs Big Papi will hit or the numbers of herpetic lesions Derek Jeter will experience. What’s better still is that merely by participating, you will be entered to win two tickets to a Boston Red Sox game in 2008 and possibly the Nobel Prize in Communications.

But that is really aside from the point. What matters here is that this is your opportunity to benefit science without having medical students cut into your body and mock your genitalia after you are dead. Did you ever think that just by making pretend wagers online you could help cure cancer, land a man on Mars or, if you are very lucky, inadvertently destroy the universe?

That day has arrived, and Jose, for one, is glad that you are alive to see it.

2. The big news as the Red Sox return to the Eastern Time Zone is the hawk attack at Fenway Park. During a tour yesterday, a red-tailed hawk nesting at Fenway attacked a 13-year-old girl named, of all things, Alexa Rodriguez, drawing blood, but thankfully causing no serious injury.

Now the temptation is to make the easy jokes based on the victim’s name, but that’s pretty tacky.

Sure, you could run headlines like “Fenway Gives Rodriguez the Bird”, “For a Change A-Rod Gets Dropped,” “Color War: Red-Tail vs. Yellow-Belly,” or even “Ornithologists: Slapping not effective against hawks,” but that would be really, really silly.

We all know that the similar name notwithstanding, this poor, brave kid has absolutely nothing to do with the Yankees third baseman. You can tell because if the hawk had attacked the actual Alex Rodriguez there would be five million Yankees fans criticizing the hawk for not removing its beak before hitting the slugger in the head.

3. Jose wrote last week that Bartolo Colon skipped the trip to Japan because the hefty righty did not want to spend any time in a country run by an elected body called “The Diet.”

This left Jose confused today as to why Colon has not joined the team in Toronto. Canada is run by a “parliament” a name that not even Jose can stretch into a fat joke, so why would Colon be avoiding the trip? But then Jose figured it out. It’s not that Colon is avoiding Toronto, it’s that he desperately wants to spend time in Pawtucket.

The Pawtucket Wikipedia page points out that the film version of the David Mamet play American Buffalo was filmed in Pawtucket. Jose will bet just about anything (note: nothing) that Colon saw that and assumed it was a movie about hot wings. Hence his interest in Pawtucket. In addition Jose is almost positive that the Board of Aldermen for the city of Pawtucket is technically referred to as “The Smorgas Board.”

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


Ed said...

Dr. Melendez-
Thank you for this important contribution to the field of pseudoscience. I am gratified by your uncritical support.
As your friend's collaborator in this project, I feel I should point out that not all participants will be directed to the futures market, although all will be asked to provide some type of prediction.
As a Mariner's fan, I'd like to point out that the birds in Safeco Field are mostly non-lethal. Petra Martinez may wish to avoid the tour, however.
Ed Love
Michael G. Foster School of Business
University of Washington

Jose Melendez said...

Jose cannot believe that former Yo MTV Raps Host Ed Lover is commenting on KEYS.

This is the greatesting thing ever.

Ed said...

Thank you, Jose, for torpedoing my hopes for a respectable career in academia.

Pasta said...

The birds at Safeco field are mostly non-lethal, much like the Mariners offence.

Ed said...

Thanks very much to everyone except pasta (just kidding. pasta is right - the only thing the M's offense has in common with a raptor is that they are both toothless) for participating in the study.
The study is now closed. If you did not get a chance to participate in this study but would like to be involved in future baseball-related pseudoscience, shoot me an email at