It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. As Jose rolled into the bar somewhere during the third inning and settled in for seven hours of Yuengling pitchers, bacon cheese fries and baseball, Jose made a starling, shameful and disturbing mistake.
He looked up and the screen noted that Jason Varitek was at bat, and immediately went into a tirade about the captain’s diminishing skills. He was quickly shut up, however, by stinging shot to the gap. Jose was stunned. It just didn’t add up.
And then it hit him.
That wasn’t Jason Varitek. It was Kevin Youkilis.
The fact that Jose, on a casual glance, mistook Youk for Tek, has several possible implications—all of them bad.
Jose sees the following possibilities:
• Jose has been away from Boston for way too long, and can now do a better job of telling white Duke basketball players apart than two goateed Red Sox.
• Youk’s swing has gotten long, looping and terrible.
• Jose was drunk at four in the afternoon.
Jose, to be frank, is hoping for the third. There is so much less stigma to public drunkenness than to confusing two Red Sox… unless of course it is Hideki Okajima and Dice K, who as David Ortiz pointed out, look exactly the same.
2. Today marks the first Red Sox start for former Ray’s outfielder Rocco Baldelli, also know as the “Woonsocket Rocket.” He is, of course, known as the Woonsocket Rocket because he hails from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and, much like the rocket recently launched by the North Koreans, has a tendency to fall apart before achieving his objective.
Still, as aeronautic nicknames go, it does appear to be an upgrade on Manny “Unmanned Drone” Ramirez, Curt “Goodyear Blimp” Euro and Kevin “Midgetman Missile” Millar. That’s right Millar, Jose knows your humiliating secret.
3. Like many native Bostonians Jose was touched by Senator Edward Kennedy’s trip to the park yesterday to throw out the first pitch. It was hard for him to watch though.
Just watching Senator Kennedy make that sad, weak little toss that fell to the ground so short of its target brought back too many memories, too many gossamer recollections of days gone by. Who could help but think of past days of youth and achievement? Who could resist dwelling on images of Camelot lost?
Yes, who among us, while watching that sad toss couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for Johnny Damon?
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.