Friday, May 8

Manny Being A-Rod

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

1. Well, there’s no getting around this.

For a couple months now, Jose has been meaning to do a piece on performance enhancing drugs and he just never got around to it. First, he didn’t feel like he wanted to bring it up so early in the season. Then he got sick of you all and just stopped writing. But now, with Manny Ramirez being proven to take (note: though not testing positive for) the female fertility drug HCG, there is only one thing Jose can do.

He has to write about A-Rod.

That A-Rod—what a jackass. He did steroids. According to some writer he may have done them back in high school. And he only tips 15% at Hooters. He’s such a tool!

Actually, what Jose originally wanted to write about with regards to A-Rod was taking responsibility. As long time readers here know, Jose has an issue with people “taking responsibility” for something and then suffering no adverse consequences. For example, when Don Rumsfeld “took responsibility” for Abu Ghraib, that meant that he kept his job, suffered no formal discipline, and some young stupid soldiers went to jail. PEDs are kind of the same.

When A-Rod took responsibility for his actions, what happened to him? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No suspension, no loss of money. The only thing that happened was he took a huge PR hit, but one can argue that the hit was already coming once it was clear that he was guilty, and that “taking responsibility” may even have diminished it.

So here is what Jose suggests. Alex, if you are serious about taking responsibility give back the money. Jose is not saying that you should give it to the Rangers. Hell, they benefited from your malfeasance and should be giving back the money (note: if any) they made on you. Give it to some charity, any charity.

If you are really sorry for what you’ve done take the salary for the years you were on PEDs, you admitted to two if Jose recalls, and give it to an African AIDS charity, given to inner city kids, drop it from an airplane, but if you actually feel bad, don’t keep the money.

It’s not like you won’t still be rich. $25 million out of your lifetime earnings still leaves you fat and happy. Hell, challenge MLB to match you, they made out like bandits on your cheating too.

Jose doubts that you are sorry. He doubts that you really do take responsibility. But maybe he is wrong. Maybe you aren’t just a vapid, mirror-kissing douche.

Then prove it. Give the money away.

2. This brings us back, of course, to Manny, who whatever else you want to say, is giving money back. Under the terms of his suspension, Manny will lose $8 million. (Note to the Dodgers: Give it to charity.)

Jose will be honest that, perhaps naively, he never saw this one coming. The idea that someone with a swing as sweet as Manny’s would never hit 50 home runs while juicing just seemed inconceivable.

But Jose must conceive it now. Funny how that works. Jose has never heard of fertility drugs making someone who isn’t taking them conceive.

Manny was the Ruth to Papi’s Gehrig, but if instead of eating lots of hot dogs, Ruth had shot himself full of female hormones. But now? Well, Jose doesn’t know what he is now.

The punditry of course, is now driven by Manny haters gleefully declaring that he’s been a bum and a fraud all along and Manny fans, sadly shaking their heads and hoping against hope for the only reasonable explanation to emerge—that Manny is incredibly stupid.

But it’s not happening this time. Stupidity can take you far. It can take you to the top in our society, it can take you to Wall Street corner offices or the presidency itself, yet it cannot scrub that incriminating crimson off of red hands.

Jose could have believed anything. If he heard that Manny was violating the Endangered Species Act by buying powdered rhino horn to improve his sexual performance, he would have believed it. Had Manny been caught buying crack, and claimed that he didn’t even want the popcorn, he just wanted the prize, Jose would have bought that too.

But to buy that Manny was taking a drug used when cycling off of steroids to enhance his sex drive? Nope. That Jose can’t buy… not even from the lovable idiot named Manny.

3. Over the next three months, you will notice some changes at KEYS TO THE GAME. Most notably, Jose is basically never going to write about baseball.

In a few days, Jose will head off for equatorial Africa, the part of the world referred to as “darkest Africa” by people who do not know that the sun shines most directly on the equator. While there, Jose will have limited access to the Internet, no access to American television and will be surrounded by people whose native language includes no words for infield fly rule.

Jose plans to continue posting on, but he will be posting a radically different kind of writing. It will be first person. It will not be tripartite. And it will never, ever compare the political situation in Congo to the Buddy Leroux coup attempt. That said, he may occasional attempt to explain crop rotation in terms of batting DJ Dru lead off as part of shuffling the batting order.

If there is a major development, for instance, if Manny is proven innocent when he conceives twins in his womb, Jose may drop a little baseball, but don’t count on it. However, for those of you interested in a ground level view of life in Uganda written in Jose’s dreaded “serious voice” check in often.

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