Wednesday, September 10

Mislocation, mislocation, mislocation

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

1. The Red Sox lost to the Rays last night and blew a chance to take over first place in the AL East because of mislocation. Papelbon said so. It wasn’t Dice K’s control problems, or Tek’s bat or plain old bad luck. It was mislocation plain and not so simple.

Jose thought this excuse was, to be honest, some pretty weak scotch. For starters, he was pretty sure that “mislocate” is not actually a word. But he wanted to cut Papelbon some slack, because, while the man can pitch, he is just not that bright, so Jose tried to think what he could possibly have meant.

At first, Jose thought that perhaps Paps had meant “dislocation.” This got Jose really concerned, because if he were dislocating his pitches, it would suggest that the shoulder strengthening routine had not been a success and his health was in jeopardy. Then Jose thought that maybe Paps meant “misplaced.” Jose could see how misplacing pitches could be a problem.

He can imagine Paps telling his wife “Honey, I misplaced my fastball, do you remember where I left it? I already looked on the night stand.”

This is exactly what happened to Rod Beck… also drugs.

But then Jose decided he would actually look up mislocate, and much to his surprise it appears to be a more or less real word. According to, it means either “misplace,” which Jose has already covered or “to specify a wrong location for.” Example “to mislocate the source of the Nile.”

This sounds a lot to Jose like Paps is blaming the umpires, as in “That ump mislocated that pitch and called it a ball.” This strikes Jose as very foolish and unnecessarily adversarial.

Of course, the problem may have nothing to do with the umps or even Papelbon and everything to do with Dan Johnson mislocating the ball into the rightfield bleachers.

2. Before Jose gets to the top ten evil Rays, Jose needs to point out the glaring omission of Ray Borque from the good list. Adding Ray to the good list at two, should, in theory, bump number ten, Allan Ray, off of the list, and yet it bumps number 7, Ray Babbitt instead. Funny world.

Top Ten Evil Rays
1. Ray Knight—Also, Mookie Wilson will be number one on the list of top ten evil Mookies.
2. Ray Romano—Not everyone loves him.
3. Ray Leonard—Olympic gold medalist, boxing legend, beloved public figure, undeserving winner of a fight against Hagler.
4. Ray Berry—Yes he took the Pats to their first Super Bowl, but he also presided over a team that was basically a drug den, started Tony Eason over Doug Flutie and called fake punts based on dreams. Okay, the last one sounds like something Jose would do, but that makes it even more wrong.
5. Ray, Gamma—Those things messed up Bruce Banner bad.
6. Re (Scrabble Word/Solfeggio note)—This is just a cheap BS Scrabble word
7. Sugar Ray—It’s a band but it sounds like a guy. That is so misleading
8. Ray Burr—He has mislead us all into thinking that our justice system works well
9. Rep. Ray LaHood—He’s a Republican and Jose is feeling very partisan these days.
10. Famous Ray—You know, Jose is starting to think that all of those New York Pizza joints may not be owned by the same guy.

3. According to the Boston Globe, David Ortiz showed the media a film of closer Jonathan Paplebon dancing in a blonde wig and dress to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and reenacting the closing scene of Dirty Dancing with a male classmate. The films were made when Paplebon was in high school.

This, of course, solves the mystery of how Paplebon was able to spring into Varitek’s arms with such grace following the last out of the 2007 World Series. Those guys must have spent a ton of time in the lake working on the lift.

This also suggests that somewhere, there is probably a video of Kevin Millar reenacting scenes from Roadhouse.

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

Monday, September 8

All History's Been Building to This

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

1. Careful readers of KEYS may have noticed a distinct lack of intensity in Jose’s Yankees columns this year. The standard bile-laced invectives have been curiously absent, as have the demand that all identify “Whose side are you on.”

The reason, of course, is that Jose has been saving the anger and invective for the series beginning today with the ancient and hated rival the Tampax Bay Rays.

Already, Jose is slipping on his “Kazmir Sucks” shirt, and placing orders for ones that read, “Crawford is a Little Bitch,” and “Pena Sucks Hinske.”(Note: Those guys are traitors, damn dirty traitors. How can you leave the Red Sox and go to the Rays? It’s like defecting from Paraguay to Uruguay in the War of the Triple Alliance.)

So to get fired up Jose is going to review some of the great-moments in the Rays-Red Sox rivalry.

September 6, 2000: Pedro Martinez hits ham ‘n’ egger Gerald Williams on his fourth pitch of the evening, prompting Williams to charge the mound. A cowed Martinez then shows his fear by refusing to hit any of the next 24 batters, or let them hit him.

Opening Day 2003: Rays beat Red Sox on walkoff—In what remains the greatest win in Rays history, the then Devil Rays come back on opening day to beat the Red Sox, as Chad Fox blows a save. Tampax starter Joe Kennedy is so emotional that he dies four years later.

March 27, 2006: Julian Tavarez cold cocks a sliding Joey Gathright at home plate in an exhibition game, moving him past “Rockin” Robbie Simms on the list of Massachusetts’ greatest pugilists.

Can’t you feel the history? Can’t you smell the animosity? Screw Fred McGriff! Wade Boggs is a traitor! It’s like Istanbul or was it Constantinople. It’s like Salonika or is it Thessaloniki? This rivalry is where history ends, where possibility clashes with reality. It’s Rays-Red Sox. And this time, it counts.

2. Sine the Rays have enjoyed such wonderful benefits from abandoning the devil and embracing the Ray, Jose thought it would be nice to pay tribute to all of the great Rays by cracking out the old, Top 10 good and evil bit. Today, the Top Ten Good Rays of all time, later this week, the bad

1. Ray Charles—Even if he did nothing else in his career, the man was in Blues Brothers. (Note: Ray is dead, when Stevie Wonder goes, who will continue the chain of blind black pianists who are awesome?)
2. Ray Robinson—Pound for pound the best ever… except for Julian Tavarez.
3. Ray, X—Much better than the old system of cutting the leg in half to see if it is broken.
4. Ray Allen—A champion! Also, number two on the top ten good Jesus list.
5. Ray Magliozzi—Leads Dane Cook in the race to be Arlington’s funniest person by 42,387 people
6. Ray Bradbury—Even in his futuristic novels, could not imagine the Rays in the playoffs.
7. Ray Babbitt—The man was a gambling genius!
8. Ray Jay Johnson—OK, Jose will be honest, he has no idea who this is, but he’s been mentioned on The Simpsons a few times. Of course, if Simpsons mentions were a good metric for skill, Steve Sax would be in the Hall of Fame.
9. Stevie Ray Vaughan—He died in a plane crash. That makes him the Corey Lidle of rock.
10. Allan Ray—Maybe the Celtics couldn’t be bothered to play Ray Allen and Allan Ray, together, but Jose will be damned if he misses the chance.
3. The Red Sox are at last getting healthy, with Mike Lowell, Sean Casey and St. Josh a Beckett returning to the team, and even DJ Dru talking about playing against the Rays. There is even good news on the Big Papi front as the designated hitter told the Globe “My Hand is Not OK.” Now, Jose knows what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “That sounds like bad news.” But you are totally wrong. Being not ok, doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it could mean really good.

For instance, let’s say you won the lottery and someone asks you “Are you ok?” You’re going to answer “no” because, you’re not ok. You’re awesome. And Jose can only assume that the same thing is true of David Ortiz.

In related news, Jose is pretty sure that when they say Tom Brady has suffered a catastrophic knee injury, they mean that it’s not that bad and therefore will catastrophic for Patriots opponents.

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