Thursday, April 17

Why Obama Should Come on KEYS

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

1. Jose read last night that ESPN had decided not to allow Bill Simmons to interview Barack Obama on his podcast because ESPN doesn’t do politics. What a shame. This probably means we won’t see Hilary Clinton on the Budweiser Hot Seat (note: owned by Cindy McCain) either.

This is terrible as it means we will have no way to learn how 90210 influenced Obama’s position on the estate tax or whether he would consider sending Rocky to fight Al Qaeda’s top boxer in the caves of Afghanistan. (Note: Jose doesn’t know how much 90210 would influence anyone’s position on the estate tax, but certainly The Simple Life should.)

So to make matters right, Jose though he would extend a formal invitation to Sen. Obama to be interviewed right here on KEYS TO THE GAME.

Obama should accept for the following reasons:

  • It will help him with the critical Hispanic vote, provided no one realizes that Jose is actually a Japanese-German Jew.
  • Because Jose is an Obama partisan, he can be counted on to not ask tough questions about lapel pins and people he may have once sat 30 rows away from at a White Sox game.

If Sen. Obama accepts the invitation, Jose would like to be prepared so he has tried to come up with some good questions. He encourages you to send additional ideas.

  • You are a fan of the Chicago White Sox, a team that 80 years ago included members who did business with organized crime as part of a plot to throw the World Series. Do you renounce and disavow them?
  • You have stated that you would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran if elected. Does this include the Iron Sheik, who once said, and Jose quotes “Amereeka? Ha Ptut”?
  • In what ways does the “surge” in Iraq resemble Grady Little’s decision to leave Pedro in?
    Which baseball player are you the most like a) Derek Jeter (multiracial) b) Benny Agbayani (Hawaiian) or c) Bruce Chen (confusingly Chinese but Panamanian?
  • Which team does your opponent, Sen. Clinton most resemble a) The 2004 Yankees (looked like a lock but then completely choked) b) the 1996 Red Sox (off to a terrible start, but then coming very close to taking the division with the help of gritty white “dirt dogs” like Darren Bragg c) the 1919 Cincinnati Reds (winning because of massive corruption on the South Side of Chicago or d) the 2006 Washington Nationals (Not very good and secretly born in Canada.)

2. Jose supposes that he is now obliged to mention that the Red Sox are playing the Yankees and whatnot but as Bartelby the Scrivener would say, he would prefer not to. To be honest, Jose is starting to think that the pundits are right and the Red Sox-Sox Yankees rivalry is really tired and overplayed.

Think about it. The rivalry was fun but after the Red Sox won the World Series, it was like, who even cares any more? It’s like when you’re looking to have sex for the first time. You keep wanting it and wanting it and then once you finally have sex, and you’re like “Okay that’s done, I never need to do that again,” which is why the human population is dwindling at an alarming rate.

Let Jose give you another example. You now how sometimes you find a $20 bill just sitting there on the sidewalk? It’s pretty great right? But now imagine that you found another $20, you probably wouldn’t even want to pick it up; you’d be so bored with the whole thing. Maybe you’d pick up a five for novelty, or even a penny (note: The Devil Rays of American currency) but a 20? No way.

That’s why Jose isn’t even going to watch the game tonight. Nope, tonight Jose is going to go to a show. He will save his TV watching for when the Red Sox are playing a fresh and exciting team like the Baltimore Orioles thank you very much.

3. One of the big political stories in the last few weeks has been Barack Obama’s gaffe at a San Francisco fund raiser when he suggested that many small town Americans are “bitter.” Hilary Clinton, in an ever more desperate effort to remain in the race, has latched on to the issue as she campaigns in Pennsylvania, going so far as to hand out stickers to people attending her campaign events reading “I’m not bitter.”

Ummm… Jose hates to be the one to raise the issue, but… has she ever been to Philadelphia or any of the towns that fall within the Phillies/Sixers/Eagles/Flyers catchment area? The people of Philadelphia and environs are pretty much the bitterest people on Earth, way more bitter than oppressed Tibetans. Ed Rendell, the Governor of Pennsylvania and former Mayor of Philadelphia was once photographed throwing snowballs onto the field at an Eagles game. That’s bitter.

When she forces Philadelphians to wear “I’m not bitter stickers” she is making liars out of every single one of them. It’s like forcing citizens of China to wear a sticker saying “I’m not Chinese” or members of the 2004 Yankees to wear a sticker saying “I’m not a choker.”

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

Tuesday, April 15

Change of Life

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

1. One of you asked, on Friday, where Jose had gone, why he had forsaken you, if you will.

It’s a good question, and as is the case with many good questions, there are a variety of reasonable answers. For instance, if one were to ask why Joe Borowski is still the Cleveland closer, the answer could be that he is Eric Wedge’s illegitimate son (note: this is not that realistic as the WWF has taught Jose that most illegitimate sons are midgets), that someone got confused after hearing his name only through the first syllable of his last name and thought they had Joba rather than Jobo, or something as simple as Eric Wedge suffering from a severe form of retardation. In the case of the good question of why Jose missed an all important April series against the hated New York Yankees, he can, likewise, offer a variety of answers. Perhaps it’s because of something you did or perhaps it is because an April series against a team that hasn’t won a championship in eight years seems unimportant.

Either of those answers would be a good answer, but neither of them would be a true answer. The true answer is that Jose is preparing for a major change of life. How big a change? Think of it as bigger than converting from catcher to first baseman, but not as big as menopause. (Note: Jose really didn’t want to bring up menopause, but as soon as he used the phrase “change of life” he kind of had to.)

Jose is leaving Boston.

Okay. Maybe it’s bigger than menopause, or even bigger than Menopause the Musical.

Jose is not leaving Boston because he wants to. Far from it. He is leaving Boston because he has to. He is doing it for you.

When Jose started this blog in May 2004, he was armed with nothing but the stunning grasp of cross-cultural minutia that only a liberal arts education combined with tens of thousands of hour of watching television ranging from the cartoon “Wheeled Warriors” to “Cop Rock” can provide. (Note: This is a lie. Like everyone else who ever lived, Jose never watched Cop Rock.) These tools served him well. They served him long. But, to stick with the tool metaphor, with repeated misuse cutting low branches off of Christmas trees, even the sharpest steak knife will grow dull.

The KEYS, and frankly the Red Sox, have grown tired and redundant. Year after year, it is the same. Jose makes quips about wrestling and comic books; the Red Sox win the World Series after a spectacular ALCS comeback. Lame. Just boring, repetitive and lame. (Note: Not lame.)

Thus, Jose has made a decision that it is time for him to get some new tools, possibly a jigsaw of allusion or a nail gun of enjambment. Jose is going back to school.

Staring this fall, Jose will be attending one of the several worthwhile universities in the country that is not in Boston and studying new and varied fields, reading texts exotic and subtle so he can more accurately compare their authors to Alex Cora.

But what does this mean for the KEYS? How will this affect you the reader? Well, there are a few ways this could play out. The one that appeals the most to Jose is the Keyser Soze option wherein Jose simply walks away and then all of a sudden starts talking in the first person, thereby undermining everything you thought you knew about him, and then gets in a car with Indians reliever Masahide Kobayashi and is never heard from again. The other possibility is that Jose will simply cut back to a reduced schedule, writing a couple of times a week, rather than at his current, grueling pace.

The truth is, Jose is not sure what will happen between now and the end of the season, or even when he will leave Boston. Perhaps he’ll stay until September, or perhaps he’ll open a small mission is rural Laos and teach the villagers that David Oritz is more powerful than their so-called gods. It could really go either way.

2. Among the stories emerging from the first 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox vs. 2000 World Series Champion Yankees series of 2008 was the strange tale of a David Ortiz jersey churned in with the concrete at the new Yankee Stadium. Apparently, a Bronx construction worker who was a Red Sox fan mixed it into the concrete in order to curse the new building. After an absurd five hours of jack hammering, the Yankees found and removed the jersey.

While the news reports have largely fixated on the mystical aspects of the story, Jose is far more interested in the architectural angle. What this story reveals is the dramatic conceptual flaws in Yankee architecture. The biggest single flaw is the decision to build the stadium out of concrete. That is just foolish. By building the structure out of hard, heavy, inflexible concrete, the Yankees guaranteed that any response to this sort of mischief would be a debacle.

Compare this to when the Red Sox built the new Fenway Park. By refraining from using concrete and instead opting to use supple, flexible abstract as the principle building material, the Red Sox ensured that they would avoid all of the problems that the Yankees are facing and would not place a burden on the taxpayers.

If some idiot Yankee fan tried to mix a Jeter shirt in with the abstract that makes up the new Fenway, you can be certain that it wouldn’t take nearly five hours to find it.

3. Jose keeps seeing advertisements for this new vaccine called Zostavax which prevents shingles. Why anyone would invest money in a drug that is specifically designed to help lisping pitchers combat base hits is beyond Jose, but he will confess that he doesn’t really understand the pharmaceutical business.

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