Wednesday, April 2

Apples and Oranges

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

1. Jose got a weird and absurd email yesterday from an old friend comparing KEYS to the writings of David Foster Wallace, Chuck Klosterman, Bill Simmons and the lesser works of Herman Melville. (Note: KEYS stacks up nicely against Benito Cereno.)

The comparison is not only ridiculous because these men of letters probably never screw up “its” and “it’s” but also because each of them has an in-depth knowledge of his subject that goes far beyond anything Jose can offer. Klosterman really knows a lot about heavy metal. Simmons is, strangely enough, the best NBA writer around. Hermann Melville knows so much about whales that he can apply phrenology to them. And Jose? Jose doesn’t know that much about anything. These guys are specialists. Sure, they can do shtick, they make their living connecting their subjects to seeming unrelated topics, but at the end of the day, each has real, specialized knowledge on one or more subjects. Jose does not.

If these fellows are Josh Becketts, men who live on their fastball, yet can occasionally mix it up with a decent curve or change up, Jose is Daisuke Matsuzaka. Daisuke doesn’t have any pitch that is dominant, but he has about seven that are above average. Jose brings a similar approach to writing. Sure, Jose writes primarily about the Red Sox, but he’s not an expert. He can’t tell you about the prospects in Portland or compare the merits of two seam and four-seam fastballs. All he can do is contrast the two-seam fastball with the Paris Peace Accords with WrestleMania 2, with Suicide by Emile Durkheim. Could Jose give you great depth on any of those subjects? Not really. He can tell give you the overview of the Paris Accords and tell you that Suicide is about suicide, but he can’t write a book or even a good essay about either subject.

Where Jose does his work is in comparing apples to oranges. He makes comparisons that are against the laws of God and man, and somehow finds coherence in them.

What Daisuke did last night is not that different. Over his 6 2/3 of 1 run, 0 walk pitching, he succeeded on account of the very incoherence of his pitching approach. He was not a fastball pitcher, he was not a breaking ball pitcher. Rather, he was a guy who threw apples and oranges, pineapples and breadfruit, and he threw them all for strikes.

For Daisuke, as for Jose, it is not his brilliance in any one facet of his endeavor that makes him effective. It is his mastery of contrast; it is the genius of demanding that round pegs fit into square holes.

What the Red Sox need this season is for Daisuke to embrace the madness, to slide face first down the toboggan run of absurdity, to, in the words of Weird Al Yankovic, “Dare to be stupid. It’s so easy to do.”

2. In other news, new Yankees manager Joe Girardi ordered an ice cream freezer removed from the team’s clubhouse as part of a ban on junk food.

In related news, former Yankees pitcher and ice cream aficionado Corey Lidle told reporters “I’m glad I’m dead. Way better than playing for Girardi.”

Why won't the Yankees honor my memory?

3. The Boston Globe, “The Amazing Shrinking Newspaper,” reported today that with a payroll of $133,440,037 the Boston Red Sox have fallen to fourth in the majors in this year. This puts them behind the Yankees at $209,081,579, the Tigers at $138,685,197 and the Mets at $138,293,378.

This news comes as a shock to fans and pundits nationwide who have grown comfortable with the notion that the Red Sox have become “just like the Yankees.” To be honest, Jose feels bad for the folks who have become deeply invested in this narrative, so he thought he would give them a few talking points for how the Red Sox and the Yankees are exactly the same, while he waits to see that first column on how the Tigers are now nothing more than the Yankees.

Here goes:

  • They are both baseball teams.

Okay, got it?

The comparison was always flawed (note: read asinine). How could you argue the Red Sox were just like the Yankees, when the Bronx Bombers haven’t won a single World Series in the 21st century and the Red Sox aren’t owned by a convicted felon. See it’s just silly.

Still, if you feel absolutely compelled to argue that they are the same, Jose supposes you could point out that neither team has a single Swedish national on its 25 man roster.

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

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

you are awesome.