Thursday, August 14

Jose's Routine

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

1. Last night, Jose had the privilege of watching, or even listening to a baseball game, for the first time since Jon Lester’s no hitter. Jose has had periods of absence from the game a couple of times in the past (note: actually Jose disappears every six years, he is like the opposite of a Senate candidate.), but he has never had a spell like this before.

Sure, Jose tried to keep up, but it was difficult, so he created a basic routine. It went like this.

6:00 AM Wake up.
6:05 AM Start coffee brewing
6:10 AM Log onto to dial up Internet service. via sketchy Chinese box.
6:15 AM Type “Red Sox” into Google window in Firefox.
6:20 AM Wait five minutes and pray that the score shows up in the Google Web search.
6:25 AM Swear because the score has not shown up in the Google Web search
6:30 AM Enter “Red Sox” in Google news.
6:35 AM Wait five minutes, get coffee.
6:40 AM Swear some more because there was no game the previous night it turns out, so Jose wasted 25 minutes searching for nothing.
6:50 AM Check Google news for Yankees score.
7:00 AM Dial up disconnects.
7:15 AM Get Yankees score
7:20 AM Celebrate over latest Yankees injury
7:30 AM Check Tampa Bay score.
7:35 AM Get no results because Jose googled “Devil Rays”
7:45 AM Get “Rays” results
7:50 AM Go into shock from feeling obliged to check Rays scores
11:45 AM Come out of shock
12 Noon Lunch

So as you can see Jose enjoyed, for the most part pretty full mornings that combined the excitement of waiting with the philosophical depth of contemplating the Tampax Bay Rays.

2. Jose got something nice in the mail the other day. It was an ad for the 24th Annual Three Apples Storytelling Festival in Bedford. At first Jose thought it was in New Bedford, but then he noticed it was not written in Portuguese nor did it smell of kale. (Note: Just kidding New Bedford. Jose loves you and was just there the other day. Also, Jose would have liked it better if the mail had smelled like kale soup.)

Among the performers appearing at this cultural event is Tim Van Egmond, who, as we all know, must be the guy who once pitched for the Red Sox. Jose has mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, good for him for learning a craft, unlike that bum Nate Minchey. On the other hand, perhaps if he had spent more time on his curveball and less name on his dance calling and hammered dulcimer playing, he would have had a better career ERA than 5.96. Of course, to beat on Minchey again, Minchey does not play the hammered dulcimer or even the limberjack, and his ERA was 6.75.

3. On a more somber note, just a reminder that today is the Jimmy Fund Telethon, and Jose urges you to kick in for this great cause.

In order to ease any concerns you might have, Jose reminds you that not one dime from the fundraiser goes to Jimy Williams. Yes, Jose knows that you knew that. Relax, it was a joke. Obviously, the money doesn’t go to Jimy Williams. It is reserved for the needy people, the true heroes among us, who spell their name Jimmy, like Jimmy Key, Jimmy Rodgers and on the rare occasions he is feeling frisky, Jimmy Rice. Also, cancer. It fights cancer too.

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

Tuesday, August 12

What Day Is It?

It’s time for Jose Van Winkle’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. Yawn.




What time is it where is Jose?

What day is it? May 23rd? No?

Twenty-fourth then? No? Really?

August 12th? Are you serious? August? How can that be? The last thing Jose remembers is that he was taunting some gnomes, some place in upstate New York, it might have been Dustin Pedroia, and the next things he knows he’s here and now.

Oh woe! Oh terrible woe! The things Jose must have missed. At least he’ll still have a chance to vote for Hillary Clinton for President. He won’t? Oh wow.

He’ll just have to try to put up with watching Kobe and the Lakers try to repeat as champs. No? Not that either huh?

Well, at least there are the Red Sox to fall back on. How’s Jon Lester doing since that no hitter? Still walking the park? He isn’t? Wonders of the future Jose guesses.

Jose can hardly wait to see Papi and Manny slug back to back again. What do you mean that’s not going to happen? Is Papi hurt again? We traded Manny?


Dear God the things Jose’s missed, the loss, the horrible loss. The future is a sad and evil place. Woe! Woe! Woe! (Note: Woe!)

Wait. They didn’t trade him for Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron did they?

This is brutal. Jose needs to try to chill out. Maybe there’s a new Bernie Mac movie out that he can watch?

What about a new Isaac Hayes album?

Oh the things Jose has missed! Oh the time that has gone by? Is nothing still the same? Is there no constant in Jose’s world?

There is you say? Praise the Lord! What is it? What has remained the same?

Julio Yugo is still not contributing in any way?

Good to know that some things never change.

2. As Jose returns after nearly three months without seeing a baseball game, there is one question the burns in his mind: Why isn’t this team better?

Jose does not mean why aren’t specific players better, or why isn’t the team as a whole putting up better numbers. What he wants to know is why, after a cursory look at team statistics, the Red Sox don’t have a better record. If you had told Jose at the beginning of the year that the team ERA would be 3.79, that St. Josh a Beckett would have the worst ERA of the regular starters at 4.08, that Youks would have 20 home runs and DJ Dru 19, Jose would be sure the Red Sox would be in first place, or would at least have a comfortable lead in the wild card.

And yet here we are in August and the Sox are four games behind Tampax Bay and just a shade ahead of the Twins for the wild card.

How is this possible?

Jose has done a lot of thinking on the subject and he has come up with a theory: The Red Sox ERA team ERA is actually, 379.000, but the Red Sox, following the lead of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, have decided to cut off some zeros. For the few of you who may not have been following the economic crisis in the troubled African nation, inflation there has, for some time been in excess of one million percent. The result has been a nation of impoverished billionaires. The highest bill printed, technically a “Special Agro-Cheque” rather than actual money, is for 100 billion Zimbabwe dollars. However, at the beginning of August, Dr. Gideon Gono, Chair of the Reserve Bank decided to slash 10 zeros from the currency, issuing new one dollar notes equal to the old 10 billion dollar notes.

Jose is pretty sure the Red Sox must have done something comparable, slashing three zeros from the team ERA to come up with the officially reported number. Jose hopes they have taken one more innovation from the big brains at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The RBZ remonetized old coins that have for years now been worthless. In other words, one dollar coins, sitting in Zimbabwe’s sock drawers that had fallen in value to less than one-ten billionth of a U.S. dollar are now back to being worth about .10 U.S. dollars. Jose hopes that the Red Sox have replicated this and remonetized Pedro Martinez’s 2000 ERA.

3. Jose does not keep up with the golf news, as he generally regards golf as a sport for rich jerks (note: unlike baseball?) But one tidbit from Sunday’s Globe did jump out at him. Apparently, a golfer named Heath Slocum missed the cut at the PGA Championship after double bogeyed in the 15th and quadruple bogeyed in the 16th. Apparently, this is bad.

What surprises Jose, however, is that he was still competitive in the 15th. Jose would have expected Heath Slocum to implode in the ninth.

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