Thursday, December 23



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

With special guests: The Smothers Brothers, Bea Arthur, the Cast of Caroline in the City and music from Bel Biv Devoe.

1. Jose Melendez: Oh, hellllooooo. Come on in. Why not grab a cup of egg nog and pull up a cold steel folding chair by the fire. Or you could sit on the floor. The floor’s good too. But not too close to the space heater. That thing can burn your skin right off. What’s that? Yes, the fire is technically the oven, but fire is fire and Jose has on his carbon monoxide detector so we probably won’t suffocate.

Well, now that you’re comfortable, hello and welcome to the very first Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, live from Boston’s historic North End. Jose was just doing a few holiday preparations when you got here. Hanging lights, baking cookies, pouring vodka, you know, real Christmas stuff.

It’s so great of to give Jose this opportunity to share this holiday with all of his friends out there in Melendezville and around the world. And to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jose sends his sincere thanks and best wishes for a quick and safe return home.

We’ve had a lot of fun over the past year from the Red Sox World Championship to the Hot Stove to—

(Doorbell rings)

Why who could that be? Not a special Christmas guest? Maybe it’s a special Christmas guest. Let’s go and see?

(Opens Door)

Why, why it’s Little Cesar Crespo. Merry Christmas Cesar.

Cesar Crespo: It’s not a very Merry Christmas for Cesar Crespo, Jose.

Jose Melendez: But Cesar, you’re getting a championship ring this year and a partial playoff share, how could this Christmas be anything but merry?

Cesar Crespo: Well, Jose I’m really depressed. I keep thinking about the past season and wondering, if I made a difference. I keep wondering if it might not have been better if I was never even on the team.

Jose Melendez: Oh Cesar, that’s no way to think. Let’s look back, and Jose bets it will turn out that you had a wonderful season.

(Chimes sound, screen goes blurry, fades into Cesar Crespo highlight reel. It is a short reel.)

See Cesar without your two RBI the Red Sox might never have… No, wait they won each of those games by more than 1. But without your six runs… Wait, no those weren’t decisive either. But at least you worked some key walks and showed your commitment to improving your plate discipline. Oh…nope.

Cesar Crespo: See? See what I’m talking about. I can’t help it, I’m just not a very good baseball player.

Jose Melendez: Well, Cesar maybe your really didn’t have a wonderful season and maybe nothing would have been different had they replaced you with scarecrow, but it’s Christmas and it’s no time for self pity. Now grab a bottle of vodka and drown those tears away. (Note: How good are things with the Red Sox these days? Jose still has to pick on Cesar Crespo. Cesar, if you’re out there, no hard feelings, Merry Christmas, and Jose is absolutely going to have as many RBI as you next year.)

(Doorbell rings)

Jose Melendez: And who could that be?

(answers door)

2. Why, it’s the three wise men, John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, and Jose will just bet they have a holiday song for us.

(Cue “We Three Kings”)

We three owners of the Red Sox,
Won’t cave in to those greedy jocks,
Won our rings, now reorganize things,
But we’ll still lead the league in walks

Oh-oh Nixon still will start in right,
Pedro took a southward flight,
OC’s gone, brought ER on
And Manny plays every night.

Scott Boras can be such a pain,Gold’s his goal, though I can’t complain,Over pay? Not me, no way But still the Red Sox do reign


This should have been my bidding group,But Bud Selig ordered a coup,
Paid my share, but still it’s not fair,
Les Otten was just a dupe


I’m the one who plays the bad guy,
Takes the rap for Pedro’s goodbye,
Contract mess? I’ll call the press,
But no, I would NEVER lie.

Oh-oh Nixon still will start in right,
Pedro took a southward flight,
OC’s gone, brought ER on
And Manny plays every night.

3. Jose Melendez: Wow, that was terrific wise men. Jose had no idea that you could sing such wonderful three part harmony. You should teach Theo to play the organ and then you would be all set. You could be on the next “Hot Stove, Cool Music” together.

Well, this is just about the most magical Christmas Jose has ever had. Jose knows that we all got what we wanted this year, a world championship for our beloved Red Sox and lots of nice Red Sox DVD’s, new ball caps and copies of the KEYS BOOK, under the tree.

But let’s not forget what Christmas is really about. Sure it’s about presents and family and peace, but when you really stop and think about it, it’s a day when Christians worldwide, excluding Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Copts and some others, but including Unitarians, come together to celebrate the birth of Johnny Damon.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!!

I’m Jose Melendez, and that is my KEYS TO THE GAME CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.

Wednesday, December 22



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

1. This time the Yankees were sure they had Randy Johnson sewn up. They were absolutely positive. How sure were they? So sure that they declared the deal complete on no fewer than 672 occasions. And the deal was complete. Complete like Schubert’s unfinished symphony, complete like an Eli Manning pass, complete like the Yankees sweep of the Red Sox, complete like a crossword puzzle requiring a French word, complete like a Carlos Quintana visa application, complete like a Rosie Ruiz marathon, complete like a Mike Mussina perfect game, complete like Jose’s effort on today’s KEYS.

So needless to say, as of now, Randy Johnson is not a Yankee. But what went wrong? How exactly did the deal unravel? Rumors and theories abound. Some say Javier Vasquez refused to take a physical because he doesn’t want to be a Dodger. Others say he refused a physical because he was on vacation. Jose’s personal theory is that he refused a physical because he heard there might be a tetanus shot involved and he has a thing about needles.

Some theorists say that the Dodgers pulled out of the deal upon realizing that trading two quality major leaguers for a handful of magic beans might not be the best idea. Sure the beans sound good in theory, but Jose will bet you anything that when Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta brought them home to the McCourts, the tyrannical Jamie McCourt would have hurled them out the window in a fury and the next thing you know, there’d be a 100 foot tall bean stock in the middle of Dodger Stadium. And what’s worse, Giants have been known to come down those things, and you know how Dodgers fans feel about Giants.

Of course, if you don’t buy into theories that rely on phobias or horticulture, we can always use Occam’s Razor to think this through. (Note to the Gillette company: For your next razor, instead of having five blades, vibration and laser guidance, consider making a really simple but excellent one blade razor and call it “Occam’s Razor” and market it under the slogan, “The simplest is probably the best.”) The Dodgers realized that being involved in a deal that helped a division rival rebuild and the richest team in baseball load up without getting an obscene ransom was probably a bad idea and wouldn’t do a thing to put more butts in seats in L.A. or more cars in lots in South Boston.

2. As part of its tribute to the Red Sox, the Boston Globe Magazine last Sunday featured the “Ultimate Red Sox Crossword Puzzle. For the most part it was, perhaps, the easiest crossword puzzle Jose had ever done, but there were a few clues that caught him

Clue: Heroic Schilling of the injured ankle
Globe Answer: Curt
Jose’s Answer: Euro

Clue: Sort of English on a Lowe Sinker
Globe Answer: Topspin
Jose’s Answer: Energon

Clue: Free ____ (How Mann and Pokey came to Boston)
Globe Answer: Agency
Jose’s Answer: Monies

Clue: Career Sox Pitching Category Led by Roger Clemens
Globe Answer: Starts
Jose’s Answer: Chokes (Note: Jose went through a lot of ideas on this one: blisters, losses to Dave Stewart, pounds overweight, but chokes was the only one that had the right number of letters.

Clue: Place for Leskanic, Mendoza et. al. to warm up
Globe Answer: Bullpen
Jose’s Answer: Ft. Myers

Clue: Game to warm up players reflexes
Globe Answer: Pepper
Jose’s Answer: Tetris

Clue: Nickname of New York’s Mussina
Globe Answer: Moose
Jose’s Answer: Loser

Clue: Brings together as a team
Globe Answer: Unites
Jose’s Answer: Whisky

3. Another big news item is the Red Sox’s signing of right hander Matt Clement to bolster the starting rotation. Jose likes this move a lot, and thinks Clement’s high K rate could make him a star. That said, the minute he goes south, Jose will start referring to him as Matt Inclement. Jose just googled it, no one else has used it yet, so Eric (K)neel be forewarned, Jose owns that pejorative.

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