Monday, October 13

ALCS Game 3--We Need to Be More Desperate

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

1. On Saturday, for the first time since 2003, Jose missed parts of a Red Sox playoff game. There were innings that he did not see on television, that he did not hear on the radio, that he did not even follow on Gamecast.

Jose was in Chattanooga, Tennessee on vacation and was doing what one does in Chattanooga, namely, going out to eat ribs. Jose had made the perfectly reasonable assumption that at any rib joint, the ALCS would be on at the bar. He was wrong. Apparently, in Chattanooga people would rather watch a college football game between two non-local games that will probably give everyone watching it eye cancer than a critical contest in the national pastime.

Jose wasn’t sure what to think. At first he was angry. How dare these people claim to be the real Americans, when they won’t even watch the national pastime? Any yokel can wear a flag pin, but sitting through a 5 and a half hour game? That takes some real patriotism and commitment to country.

Next he felt pity. How sad that these people don’t know the joy, the salvation that comes from Red Sox baseball.

Then he felt angry again. Finally he felt hungry, so he relied on the four different varieties of pork ribs to sooth his agitated soul.

The point is that when Jose left his hotel room, the Red Sox were up 2-0 with two outs in the bottom of the first, and when he returned, seven home runs later, they were down 8-6. Perhaps, the Tennesseans were on to something. Yes Jose missed five innings, but what had he really missed? Heartbreak? Anger? Despair? A $500 tab for smashing a hotel television?

By almost every normal standard, it would appear that Jose had made the right choice. He avoided pain (the blown lead) and received pleasure (ribs). He should have been a happy man. And yet he wasn’t.

Jose looks forward to this; we look forward to this. We crave the opportunity to feel. We are addicts. And like any addict we have built up tolerance. It is no longer enough to enjoy the elation of victory. We need it to hurt, to drag us through excruciating pain to create an ever-sharper contrast with the pleasure. We came back from 3-0 against the Yankees. We came back from 3-1 against the Indians. We will not feel truly alive in this series until we have to come back from down four games to the Rays. And that is where the danger lies. You can’t go down by four games. It is against the rules. It is up to the Red Sox to remember that in the relentless pursuit of thrills, of greater and greater highs, getting down four games is the overdose of playoff baseball—exciting but fatal.

2. Following St. Josh a Beckett’s second straight horrendous post-season outing, it is probably safe for us to assume that his oblique is not fine and that he is seriously injured. This is a problem, a big problem, but it is not unsolvable. There is precedent for remedying this. It’s just a few simple steps:
1. The team physician invents a procedure that temporarily fixes a strained oblique.
2. The physician practices the technique on dead people.
3. Beckett receives the procedure before each remaining start.
4. Beckett bleeds out of his wound and on to his jersey.
5. People talk about how heroic Beckett is.
6. Red Sox win the World Series
7. Beckett puts on 40 pounds.
8. People who don’t like Beckett start suggesting that the blood was fake and he just spilled marinara sauce on his shirt because look at him, he’s a fat slob.
If the Red Sox pursue these simple steps, Jose is pretty sure the old Josh Beckett will be ready for Game 6.

3. Sons of Sam Horn Stalwart Tudor Fever raised a great question the other day. “What is ‘Kotsay’ Pig Latin for? Jose is not a Latin Scholar, his second tongue is Gibberish, but he still knows enough—he thinks—to give it a try.

So we decline it right? And then decline it again? And we remove the “ay,” move the “s” to the front. And we get “Skot.” Suddenly, the reason for Kotsay’s inability to hit becomes clear—he’s a Scott. Think of the Scott’s in Red Sox history, Scoot, Williamson, Scott Sauerbeck, Scott Cassidy, Scott Bankhead and Scott Taylor were all pitchers. Scott Fletcher wasn’t a pitcher, but he hit like one. That leaves us with Scott Cooper, the worst two-time All-Star in MLB history as the upside for Scotts.

Of course, there is some evidence that while our translation is correct, our interpretation is lacking. Skot, is the translation of Kotsay’s last name, so perhaps the better historical analogy is George Scott. If Kotsay can hit like Boomer, that would help.

On a related note, since Jason Bay’s name ends in “ay” it is presumably Pig Latin as well, but what can it possibly be Pig Latin for? It would have to just be “B” right? In which case it’s good he’s playing in Boston, because if his name is “B” and he had a “”P on his head, like in his Pirate days, it might really confuse people.

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

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