It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Well it’s about time. After months of writing KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE, KEYS TO THE UKRANIAN ELECTION, KEYS TO WHATEVER THE HELL ELSE JOSE COULD THINK OF and KEYS TO SPRING TRAINING, Jose can once again say “It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME. You will notice a few changes between now and the last time you read a new KEYS TO THE GAME. The most obvious change is that today’s KEYS is not about the Worlds Series, so you may find that it lacks some of the gravitas, some of the weight and heft that you had become accustomed to.
But there are far more changes. Big changes. Scary changes. Not Schiraldi on the mound scary, but scary nonetheless. Frankly, Jose has to keep up with the times. Over the offseason the suits told him that the KEYS demographic has trended a little bit old, that the KEYS aren’t attracting the sort of readers who have disposable income and are willing to spend it. Still worse, the KEYS are failing to hook the next generation of fans. So change Jose must, and change Jose shall.
The first major change will be that the KEYS will be at a faster clip and will be set to the latest in “popular” music. As you may have noticed, the KEYS don’t come with an audio track. However, if you read the KEYS book along with the Clash Album London Calling, it synchs up exactly. What will this year’s KEYS sync up with? Start buying CDs and trying to figure it out. (Note: This message brought to you by the American Recording Industry.)
Another change will be the introduction of a lovable character to explain the game of baseball to children. Fox has Scooter the hyperactive baseball; Jose offers Plunger, the happy-go-lucky syringe. It’s something a little bit hipper, more contemporary and reflective of todays game. Let’s take a sneak peak.
“Hi kids this is your pal Plunger!!! Today’s word is Steroids. Sometimes when a player is too small and weak to hit home runs, he sticks a needle in his arm or *ss and injects himself with a special healthy medicine that makes him bigger, stronger and faster, without all of the practice and eating your vegetables. So the next time your mommy tells you to eat your vegetables so you can grow up to be big and strong, tell her ‘Shove it b*tch. Just bring me some steroids.’”
And these are just a few of the exciting changes you have to look forward to in the new and improved KEYS TO THE GAME 2005.
2. And would any first game be complete without Tony Castrati writing on yet another subject he knows nothing about? (Note: No.)
What TC says: “Baseball and politics will converge today at the White House, and you know what that means: lots of people who don't know what they're talking about.”
What TC means: Not unlike the Red Sox press room on any given day.
What TC says: But this is America, of course, so the cameras will be clicking and the pens scribbling when Damon meets Dubya on the South Lawn.”
What TC means: Like when the Patriots were at the White House last year. Remember that. No one does? Really?
What TC says: “Professional sports and politics? Now there's a scary combination. “
What TC means: Like that Bill Bradley guy. What business did some dumbass basketball player have being a Senator. That’s crazy. (Note From Jose: Though in fairness, Tom Osborne, the despicable former Nebraska coach who stood behind every felon on his team as they brutalized women is in Congress.)
What TC says: “Two years ago, with America having begun fighting in Iraq, Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin placed a bumper sticker above his locker that described the international peace insignia as ``the footprint of the American chicken.''
What TC means: Umm…sorry Mike, I don’t think chickens have circles around their feet. I do think the three toes is right though.
What TC says: “With all due respect to Timlin, who really cares about his political views?”
What TC means: I do apparently, since no one in the general public even knew his views until I wrote this.
What TC says: “Why are professional athletes (or other celebrities) asked to share their opinions on matters in which they have no more say than anyone else?”
What TC means: Oh wait they’re celebrities. The most wonderful, special people in the world.
What TC says: Tell you what: If Kevin Millar wants to run for office, let's find out where he stands.”
What TC means: Dear God, did I just suggest that Kevin Millar run for office. What have I done? I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”
What TC says: “After all, we don't ask the homeless for political guidance, do we?”
What TC means: I hate the poor.
What TC says: “If this all sounds like an indictment of professional athletes, it is not. Prior to the start of the Super Bowl, former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush (the elder) were asked their opinions on the Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, a harmless but worthless question. Their responses had as much value as any athlete's insights on the last presidential election, which begs the question: Why do we ask them such ridiculous things at all?”
What TC means: We ask because we have to fill column inches, and we got nothing else. NOTHING!!!
3. Many people paying big bucks to attend the first of the 47 preseason contests will be disappointed to hear that Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Mosey Nixon and David Ortiz are not scheduled to play. But don’t fret! Do not despair. You will get to see Kris Wilson, Jeremy Gonzales, a Japanese guy named Denney (note: how did a Japanese guy end up with that name?) and some guy named Billy McMillon who Jose has never heard of, but is one vowel away from having a great name for an evil rich guy wrestler (Note: Billy McMillion.)
Spring Training Baseball: You might as well watch. It’s your only choice!!!
I’m Jose Melendez and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.