Friday, April 8

What Goes Down...

  1. When Jose was a tyke, he had a friend named Dan. Dan was creative and ingenious. While other kids played checkers, Dan played stock market. Dan once made a bid to get Jose to sell him his comics in an effort to corner the comic book market. While some played house, Dan played hotel. Jose distinctly remembers Dan buying a bunch of pastel mints placing them on his parents’ pillows and then assuming the right to charge them room fees. And while others played war, Dan played university. Dan’s father was a professor of philosophy, thus it struck Dan that universities were a gold mine.

Of course, Dan and Jose, as kids, lacked the academic credentials required to teach anything except MBA classes, so it occurred to Dan that we needed to pioneer new disciplines. The most memorable of these trailblazing fields of inquiry was barfology—the science of barf.

Barfology was not a terribly practical science, and there was relatively little to explore in comparison with, say, physics. Still, Dan was able to extract one great insight from his study, the cogito, if you will in the field of barfology.

What goes down must come up.

It applies to tainted food and it applies to the Boston Red Sox. For the first week, the Red Sox have gone down, and down and down, and now, they are coming up. Like a ghastly chum of half digested spaghetti, corn and bile, they are coming back harshly and violently, scalding the Yankees with the acid reflux of their heaving resurgence.

The Red Sox have been down, today, at last, they come back up.

  1. Jose is fired up. He’s hulking up. Sing along to the tune of Hulk Hogan’s theme “I Am a Real American” by Rick Deringer

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, sad at the death of Lou Gor-man

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, Dru is in right, most every night!

When it comes crashing down, and it hurts inside,
It’s a ten game ho-ome stand, Yankees cannot hide,
You recall Eric Wedge, ‘member Curtis Pride,
You can’t keep swinging at, pitches way inside.

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, never liked Jose Offer-man

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, chanted all night, for Jo-ey Gathright

Well I’m on board with Carl Craw-ford,
And his wage is money Henry can a-fford,
Lackey’s contract may be bad as Lugo’s was,

but I don’t care right now, cause I’m kind of buzzed.

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, I think that Wakefield is the man,

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, Papi’s all right, has the green light!

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, I watched Belinda (comma) Stan

I am a Boston Red Sox fan, I think I might, watch Sunday night!!!!

  1. It is with great sadness that Jose learned today that Red Sox legend Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement from baseball following word that he had, for the second time in his career, failed a drug test.

It breaks Jose’s heart to see the slow, sad end of one of the best hitters he ever saw. On one level it hurts him to see a player whom he enjoyed watching as much as any not named Martinez or Wakefield fall into such shame and disrepute. But even more, it crushes Jose to know that Manny Ramirez, even with the aid of performance enhancing drugs never once had a 50 home run season.

That had always been Jose’s defense for Manny. With his eye, with his swing, how could he be a juicer if he never hit 50 home runs? Brady Anderson hit 50 on the juice and Manny couldn’t? How is that possible?

Jose likes to imagine that the reason for this failure is that Manny never really took drugs, or at the very least didn’t take them competently. Perhaps when Manny took a female fertility drug, he really was doing it for fertility reasons? Maybe he wanted to have another kid, and just thought that a female was a male who worked for a fee—in his case $20 million?

Or maybe he thought that baseball had banned the use of rugs, rather than drugs and therefore opted for all wood floors and thought he was fine?

While these are all disturbingly possible explanations in the world of Manny, Jose must also accept the probability that Manny being Manny means Manny doing drugs.

It’s a sad way to end a career. Let’s hope that, at the very least, he manages to conceive.

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

Thursday, April 7

The Rules Don’t Apply to Jose

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

1. They’ve driven Jose to it.

For four years or so, Jose has refused to start a game thread on the Sons of Sam Horn message board. He’s refused because of the awful burden of knowing that if he starts a thread and the Sox win, he will have to start a thread tomorrow. And if they win that game, he will have to start the thread after that, and… well… it gets to be a colossal pain in the ass. Once upon a time Jose was lean and hungry. He wanted to be there every day. He’d write KEYS on vacation, at six in the morning, whatever it took to feel like he was in the game. Not any more. Jose has long since entered the Mike Lansing phase of his career, he’s just showing up to collect a paycheck, and since Jose doesn’t collect a paycheck… well, you can follow the logic.

But this afternoon something just snapped.

The finale of the TV show Newhart is best remembered for Bob Newhart waking up next to Suzanne Plechette, who played his wife on his previous sitcom, and discovering his whacky adventures in Vermont were just a dream. What goes forgotten is that the episode also featured Darryl and Darryl, the two woodsmen who remained mute while their brother Larry spoke for them throughout the series, saying their first word.

In a flash forward sequence, the three brothers are married to a group of shrill New York harpies. After the wives have taken their annoying jabber to Suzyn Waldmanesque height, the two Darryls look at each other, then look at their wives and scream “QUIET!!!!!” When a stunned cast questions why they had never spoken before Larry answers “apparently they’ve never been this p.o.’d before.”

Jose too, has never been this p.o’d before.

At least not since 2004.

He’s p.o.’d and he wants to scream at the world.

So here’s the deal, Jose is going to start the game thread and write a full on three part KEYS for Friday’s Yankees game and every other game until the Red Sox lose again.

If they keep losing, he’s also going to keep starting threads until they win. There are the game thread rules, but Jose doesn’t care. He is too p.o.’d
And if you don’t like it QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. Jose did have other options to try to break the drought. Specifically, he may have received a message from God saying that the Red Sox will not win until Jose receives $50,000. Don’t laugh. When Orel Hersheiser’s said he needed to raise $8 million or God would “take him home,” he raised $9.1 million.

You see, Jose’s a federal employee and if there’s a prolonged shutdown, he might need some of that sweet, sweet blood money to tide him over (Note: Jose worked an alternative schedule starting at 5:30 this morning, so don’t go calling your Congressman and complaining that he is writing on someone else’s dime. Jose does not get paid to sit on his porch and drink beer. He’s not a farmer, a banker or Curt Euro in 2008.)

But truth be told, things have lined up kind of perfectly for him to go on a writing binge. He may well be unemployed while the government works out a budget deal, his significant other is leaving the country for two weeks and his cousin recently had an inspiring conversation with the drummer in his band Superpill that included the sentence “Holy Shit! Your cousin is Jose Melendez!”

Yeah, Jose still has what the people want.

Besides, being 0-6 is awful. There’s almost nothing worse than being 0-6 if you exclude being 0-7 etc. Jose thought about it on his commute home today, and tried to come up with all things that are worse than being 0-6 and here’s what he came up with: genocide, the musical Rent. That is all. Genocide is obvious and Rent? Why do those dead beats think they should live rent-free? Their friend who bought some property is the bad guy for wanting them to pay to live there instead of spending all of their money on heroin and… well, not condoms.

La Boheme
could get away with such an obnoxious plot because the music was so good. Rent? Not so much. Rent is the Eric Gagne of musicals. You hear good things, but when you see it up close you can’t believe how bad it is. Jose would much rather watch musicals based on the lives of David Murphy and Kasson Gabbard then ever see Rent again.

Now some of you are going to be surprised. You’re probably saying, “Come on Jose. Sure an 0-6 start is bad, but do you really think that the only things worse are genocide and Rent?”

Yes. Yes Jose does. Please allow Jose to explain how the following awful things are still better than an 0-6 start.

Lice: With both lice and an 0-6 start one loses his dignity, but at least lice can be killed by putting them in a plastic bag for two weeks. If we put the Red Sox in a plastic bag for two weeks, there would be literally no decrease in their performance.

War: Have you ever heard of the military industrial complex? That thing creates jobs. Losing baseball games does not contribute to the economy in any way. Except possibly by increasing alcohol sales and the sales of lengths of rope.

Fever Pitch: Yes, Fever Pitch was horrendous, but at least it was over in two hours.

Trans fats: Can the FDA or an act of the state legislature ban 0-6 starts from Massachusetts? Didn’t think so.

Dogfighting: Dogfighting might be evil and vile, but it is probably at least more competitive than the baseball we’ve seen thus far.

Jose could go on, but you get the point, and if you don’t Jose suggests you watch Rent, it might be for you.

3. But Jose doesn’t want to be completely nonconstructive. The point of this exercise is not just to rant; it’s also to help. So Jose has compiled a list of possible explanations for the Red Sox awful start.

Once we know the problem, perhaps we can figure out a solution.

· Perhaps the Red Sox thought they were federal employees and the shutdown started last week.

· Are astronomical sticklers and refuse to start playing like spring training is over until the summer solstice.

· Have river blindness.

· Are on strike in solidarity with state employees in Wisconsin.

· Felt really bad for Cleveland fans after the LeBron debacle and wanted to cheer them up.

· Miss Bill Hall’s soothing voice.

· Are building their new spring training stadium on an ancient Indian burial ground.

· Can only play good baseball when new episodes of Lost are coming out.

· Are lacking adequately creative handshakes. (Note: Hi Bill Simmons!)

· Are playing cruel April Fool’s joke that lasted the entire first week of April.

· Are ust making it more dramatic before they start “hulking up.”

It’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s close. Anyway, get used to it. If the Red Sox keep losing, Jose will keep writing in a blind rage. If they start winning, he will be writing in a farsighted less rage.

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