It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. One challenge Jose is going to face in the upcoming season is that he will not be able to depend on the reliable contributions, the yeoman’s work really, of his brother Sam Melendez. Throughout the 2004 season, whenever Jose’s stuff lacked its normal snap, he could count on Sam to give him some juice with a pithy line comparing Megatron Lowe to the Iron Giant or whatnot. This year, Jose will not be able to count on his younger brother for back up. Knowing that he has seen the greatest party Boston will ever have, Sam felt free to go West, to sail the Pacific (note: or at least from Seattle to Alaska) like his great grandfather Iwaishi Melendez before him. Of course, if Sam kills a whale, it will technically be a "crime" and "violation of the treaty on whaling," rather than "part of his job," so instead he will probably spend time doing repair work and waiting on guests. On the plus side, he will probably not be required to go into the head of sperm whales to gather the spermaceti, because unlike his great grandfather, he is not small. Also, let Jose reiterate, Sam will not be killing whales. Greenpeace please do not send letters to Jose or sail the Rainbow Warrior up to his apartment.
So Jose will be forced to turn to his older brother Jack Melendez for assistance. Jack is the older brother that Jose never knew, the older brother who was sent off into the wilderness for failure to comply with Jose’s parents’ fair and reasonable rules. Okay. Technically, Jack did not exist… as best Jose knows. Jose’s father just read somewhere that creating fictional siblings who had disappeared was not a good idea when one has young children who might fear abandonment, so naturally, he assumed that creating a fictional sibling would be hysterical. He was right.
But what is the point? Well, with Sam available only for occasional telephone advice, Jose will be forced to rely on Jack… but it’s a little bit like telling Ramon Martinez that instead of relying on Pedro in the 1999 ALCS he was going to have to rely on his brother Jesus instead, as Jack Melendez, much like Jesus Martinez, does not exist.
2. Now that Jeremy Giambi has come clean about his steroid abuse, we, as Red Sox fans, have to face the facts. Let’s just admit it, the 2003 season was tainted. A juiced up Jeremy was on the 2003 Sox – barely. Had he not been juicing, he probably never would have taken at bats from David Ortiz early in the season, the Red Sox would have had a better start, would have won home field advantage and may well have won a Game 7 played in Fenway Park. That makes the 2003 season tainted. TAINTED! TAINTED! TAINTED! Of course, it’s also been made irrelevant IRRELEVANT! IRRELEVANT! IRRELEVANT! by the 2004 season.
3. All Jose has been able to read about for the last few days is that the Fab Five were headed to Florida to do makeovers on a number of the Red Sox. Jose knows that spring training is boring and too long and reporters are desperate for news, so if they want to cover this non-story that’s fine, but they should still try to get their facts right. Jose has been looking very carefully and he has seen no sign of Chris Weber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard or Jimmy King. All he has seen is five gay guys running around. That said, it is possible that the guy in the pink shirt hugging Kevin Millar on the front page of the Herald could be Ray Jackson. After all, no one has seen Jackson since he left Michigan.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.