Friday, May 30

How a Blind Man Sees the Red Sox

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

1. For the past few weeks Jose has been away from the Red Sox, isolated far away from his beloved Boston on a continent that both begins and ends with the letter “A.” (Note: Sorry Europe, everyone else stays in the game.) While being away has its share of hardships, being unable to attend games foremost among them, it is not without its advantages. Most notable Jose has the rare opportunity to view this Red Sox team with fresh eyes, or more accurately, no eyes.

Remember the parable of the blind men and the elephant? A few blind men are feeling up an elephant and they each get a dramatically different idea of what an elephant is based on the part of the beast they are fondling.

The man feeling the elephant's flank says, “Ah, an elephant is like a tree.”

“No, no,” says the man feeling the tail. “An elephant is like a stalk of wheat.”

“You’re both wrong,” says the man touching the trunk. “The elephant is like Ron Jeremy.” (Note: Kapow.)

While Jose, as a general rule is no better than equal to one blind man or two deaf-mutes, at this level of remove, Jose has the opportunity to equal at least three blind men, making him the equal of an entire NBA officiating crew, but without a gambling problem.

So how would a group of blind men see the 2008 Boston Red Sox at this juncture, you know, assuming that they actually weren’t blind at all, but were just really, really narrow minded so they could only see part of the team at a time.

The first blind man, let’s call him Ray, would feel up Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz and say “Ah, the Red Sox are like a locomotive, powerful and right on track.”

The second blind man, named Stevie, would grab hold of Jacoby Ellsbury, Rococo Crisp, and Julio Lugo and say “The Red Sox are like a Dalmatian that mated with a brown-haired thoroughbred horse, black white and brown and fast as hell.” Stevie does not have a great grasp of speciation.

A third blind man, called Usher (note: Doesn’t some African-American musician have to learn to play piano and then go blind once Stevie is gone, or maybe even now, since Ray is gone. Aren’t they like the Sith, there are always two, no more, no less? And you know it won’t be 50 Cent, unless he gets shot in the eye. Who already plays piano?) would grab hold of the middle relief and say, “No, no, you’re wrong. The Red Sox are like a vacuum cleaner, they do nothing but suck.”

But then a fourth sightless companion would come along, let’s call her Helen. Helen would grab hold of the starting rotation. She’d run her hands carefully over Beckett, Dice, Lester, Bartolo, Clay and Wake. Somewhere, Derek Lowe would be watching, lamenting his Sox days gone and wishing that the hot blind chick would be running her hands over him. And then Helen would pause thoughtfully and, twinkle in her glassy eyes, offer the true essence of the Red Sox. “Mmphellesss,” she would sagely state. “Mmmmphelless, waaaattaaahhhh.”

And that friends, is what the 2008 Red Sox, truly are.

2. Okay, that’s great. Now that Jose has made a Helen Keller joke the day after sending a link to KEYS to a prospective employer, he will have plenty of time to write. Good thinking Jose!

In the country where Jose is currently stationed, let’s call it Freedonia, there was recently a failed coup attempt and the former president alleged to be involved, let’s call him Groucho, was sent off to jail. While Jose is, as a matter of principle, deeply opposed to the overthrow of democratically elected governments, he does kind of wish that this sort of “Freedonia model” might be exported to Major League Baseball.

Yes, Jose knows that Buddy Leroux tried it once before, but he made a fatal mistake, he failed to get the army behind him before overthrowing Jean Yawkey and declaring himself Owner. If Buddy had stormed Yawkey Way with three highly trained and loyal divisions, there is no way, Mrs. Yawkey could have taken the team back. She was just a little old lady. There’s no way she could have handled more than two divisions.

But just because it failed once, doesn’t mean that it will fail again. Jose, of course, does not wish to see a coup in the Red Sox organization. We are blessed to be ruled by a benevolent triumvirate that keeps us up to our necks in wine and orgies. Well, keeps the players up to their necks in wine and orgies anyways. Or maybe, Jose was just thinking about Derek Lowe again. (Note: Apologies to DLowe the Paranoid Android, there is no evidence that he ever cheated on his wife with more than one woman in a single sitting or that he was a wine drinker. DLowe always seemed like more of a vodka drunk.)

No, Jose would kind of like to see a coup inside the Yankees organization. The way Jose sees it going down is that former Yankees GM Bob Watson using the armed divisions he must get as MLB’s discipline czar, would overthrow Brian Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner and appoint himself GM for Life, President of the New York Yankees, First Citizen of Yankee Nation and Lion of the Bronx. Then for a fa├žade of legitimacy, he would replace Hank as principle owner with Hank’s own father, the recently deposed George Steinbrenner.

George would call a press conference to declare his dramatic return. As he looked directly into the camera, a twinkle in his glassy eyes would offer the true essence of the Yankees. “Mmphellesss,” the senile old man would sagely state. “Mmmmphelless, waaaattaaahhhh.”

3. Jose would like to offer a hearty thank you to Hillary Clinton. Yes, Jose has been kind of tough on her these past few months, but he now wants to put aside the bitterness and offer a heartfelt thank you.

Thank you, Hil-Rod (note: remember you said wrestling fans can call you that) Thank you, thank you. Hil-Rod. Thank you because by comparing the Democratic Party’s refusal to recognize the votes in the meaningless, non-sanctioned Florida and Michigan primaries to Jim Crow and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, you have now made it totally acceptable for Jose to compare any event in baseball’s preseason to historical events such as the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre at Katyn.

Just as your husband made it socially acceptably to receive oral sex from interns under a desk, you have made it acceptable to trivialize monstrous events in human history by comparing them to contests that don’t count.

Thank you so much. Already, Jose is writing the story explaining how Julian Tavarez punching Joey Gathright in the face in a preseason game a while back is the same as the Darfur crisis.

Again, thank you for this wonderful contribution to our public discourse.

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