Tuesday, December 14

I Remember Clifford

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.

1. It is almost universally regarded as humiliating when a man in pursuit of a woman is defeated in his quest for her favor, and perhaps her bed, by a richer man who swoops in at the last moment in his fancy, jewel-encrusted car. The reason this is seen as a humiliation is obvious; the woman’s choice has revealed that the rich man is, at least in her eyes, superior to the poor man. This is not a surprise. It reaffirms what we all already know, what the poor man himself knows, that everything being equal a rich man is more desirable than a poor man.

Of course, all things are rarely equal. The rich man may be nicer, smarter, funnier or more charming than the poor man, but as casual observers, we can’t tell, so we make the most obvious assumption—she likes the rich man more because he is rich. In other words, the interaction tells us nothing that we didn’t already know. We jump to our conclusions and we are on our merry way.

What raises far more questions, however, is when the woman in the story is being courted by a rich man and yet leaves him when the poor man rolls up in his AMC Gremlin. An observer watching this transpire still knows that the rich man is wealthier than the poor man, however in this case, he also knows something else, that in some critical characteristic the poor man is the rich man’s superior. Either there is something very good about the poor man, very bad about the rich man, or both.

So what then, is the massive deficiency of baseball’s richest man, the New York Yankees? Why did Cliff Lee choose the certainly not poor, but far less wealthy Philadelphia Phillies over them? Sure, we could imagine that the Phillies have some tremendous advantage, but let’s be serious; we’re talking about Philadelphia. Unless Cliff Lee is a fan of cheesesteak, revolutionary history or being a dick, it’s hard to figure out what the draw would be.

So again, what is the massive deficiency of the Yankees?

If we were to go back to the example of the woman and the man, we might assume that the rich man is cruel, stupid, obnoxious, foul-smelling or sexually inadequate, and while we can safely assume all of these about the New York Yankees, it still fails to explain Lee’s choice because, let’s be honest, the Phillies aren’t great shakes in any of these categories either (note: except for Chase Utley, who, as any fan of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” knows, is dreamy). Thus, the only thing Jose can come up with is that the Yankees have some deficiency so vile, so perverse that it makes even the Phillies seem like a preferable partner for Lee.

Here’s what Jose’s come up with—the Yankees are in the mafia. Think about it. It makes so much sense. They act with impunity, they reside in the Bronx, they wear athletic garb to work, they cheat on their wives, they associate with a “Boss” who while clearly evil is treated as though he were a good man after his death, it all adds up.

Of course, the sexual inadequacy thing seems pretty plausible too.

2. When the Clifford Lee signing was announced yesterday and they started showing highlights on TV, was Jose the only one who as surprised to learn that he was neither a big red dog nor a Chinese man?

3. Now that the Yankees have failed horrifically in the marketplace, Jose keeps wondering if they will get a government bailout. Oh, that’s right they already got one, its called Yankee Stadium.

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