Saturday, April 16

4/16/05 – The Next Pope vs. Some Dope

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

Jose makes his season debut tonight, attending the game with SoSH poster Lushess255, best known for his appearance in the upper right hand corner of some photos of Friday night’s unpleasantness. Last year Lushess255 sent out a Christmas card that showed him looking out over the Fenway field in a contemplative pose. Somehow, Jose suspects that his Christmas card this year will show him screaming with blood lust for Sheffield and the offending fan to throw down. Both are good images for the holiday season.

Jose makes his debut tonight amidst significant concern over how he ended last season. Jose’s 2004 was a lot like Kevin Millar’s 2003. He started off red hot, going 8-1 and then ended the year a horrific, 0-4 including a disastrous 19-8 loss to the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS. (Note: Okay, so we know now that it wasn’t disastrous, but it sure seemed like it at the time.)

So the question tonight is will we see the good Jose from the first three quarters of 2004 or the bad, burnt out Jose from the stretch run. Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain – if Jose doesn’t start winning, his demands that John W. Henry give him free tickets to promote good karma will fall on deaf ears. Of course, even if they win Jose’s first 10 games, his pleas will still fall on deaf ears, so actually there’s no difference. Never mind. Please disregard this KEY.

For the full KEYS visit

Friday, April 15

4/15/05 – Turning Japanese vs. Eating Japanese, and Chinese, and Italian, and Greek, and then some Beers

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

The news report on WBUR this morning said that the Red Sox 8-5 win over the Yankees was “overshadowed” by the incident in right field? Overshadowed? OVEERSHADOWED?!? That’s just bad reporting from the normally workmanlike BUR crew.

The Reds Sox knock around Randy Johnson and they think it was overshadowed by a little slap in right field? Nothing could have overshadowed last night’s game. If there had been a Beatle’s reunion during the seventh inning stretch, it wouldn’t have overshadowed last night’s game. And keep in mind that the reunion would have included the shocking resurrections of John Lennon and George Harrison, finally giving legitimacy to their claim that they are “bigger than Jesus.”

Still, the unruliness in right field may prove to be historically significant. Jose thought the odds were that the fan who may or may not have taken a swing at Sheffield would be sent to The Hague on war crimes charges, and Jose’s friend Jamie said that Rick Sutcliffe had already nominated the security guard who courageously jumped in to the stands for a Nobel Peace Prize. While the Hague seems a bit much, the Nobel makes some sense to Jose. After all, that security guard has already done far more to encourage world peace than Nobel laureate Yasser Arafat.

Check out the rest of the KEYS at

Thursday, April 14

4/14/05 – Champs vs. Just Another Team

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. On Sunday, Jose wrote a letter to Katherine A. Powers, who wrote the Boston Globe’s review of 347 different Red Sox books on Sunday, none of which was “Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME 2004.”
That evening, Jose received the following response from Ms. Powers.

Dear Mr Melendez,
I am sure you are correct about the number or lack of it
of Dan Shaughnessy’s fans. If your book is as funny as your letter, I’m sorry I
haven’t seen it or read it or however one goes about taking it in. The Globe
won’t touch self-published books, so I can’t do it in the future, but I’ll look
at your Web site soon for my own entertainment. Carry on! Katherine P.

(Note: Did she mean for this to be published? Who knows? But since Jose is a “journalist” and she didn’t say “off the record” it counts. Sweet.)

It’s a classy response. It rips Dan Shaughnessy; it praises Jose – what’s not to like? Oh yes, the part where it says the Boston Globe won’t touch self-published books. Well, as best Jose recalls, occasional contributors don’t set policy, so the congenial Ms. Powers can hardly be blamed for this. Thus, Jose will go on to the next stop, Christine Chinlund, The Boston Globe Ombudsman.

Dear Ombudsperson,
Hi. This is Jose Melendez. You know, Jose Melendez, blogger, author, pseudonym, third person voice enthusiast. Oh, you don’t know? Well, that probably makes sense, as Jose is merely a self-published author and therefore, does not, according to Globe standards, technically exist. Dan Shaughnessy technically exists, Stewart O’Nan technically exists, heck, even Lou Gorman technically exists. But Jose Melendez? He’s an apparition at best.

But enough hinting, let’s get down to actual context. Jose sent an email to Katherine A. Powers on Sunday, a copy of which is attached below, inquiring as to why she did not review the acclaimed “Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME 2004” in her fine survey of Red Sox books. (Note: Acclaimed, not critically acclaimed. Jose can give you a list of people who have acclaimed it, but, as best he knows, none of them are critics.) Jose was mostly joking, as there was no way Ms. Powers would be familiar with Jose’s book if she was not among the literally scores of people who purchased it. (Note: Or unless she was one of the thousands who has read him on the famous “Internet” at Jose was not really expecting anything out of this exchange except one more day of material for his blog, but then Ms. Powers wrote a response that was not only kind, but informative. She said that even if she had heard of Jose’s book, she couldn’t have reviewed it, as the Globe “won’t touch self-published books.”

At first, Jose took this response with good humor. How could Jose possibly expect his book to be reviewed if it hadn’t been published by a reputable publishing house? After all, publishing houses add so much value to literature and take only a large share of the profits in return. Publishing houses ensure that the contents of a book, such as Jose Canseco’s best seller “Juiced,” are completely true. Publishing houses make certain that each book is well-researched, like each of those quickie O.J. books. Yes, who should we rely on to tell us what is newsworthy if not the publishing houses? Surely not the Boston Globe. And how could Jose possibly expect his book to merit consideration without first squeezing through their well-maintained gate.

So does the Globe really have a policy against reviewing self-published books? If so, thank you. Thank you for saving Jose from a scathing review of his poorly researched, typo-riddled, laugh-a-thon. Thank you for sparing him the embarrassment of having the Globe decline to review his book because it is of questionable merit, seldom read and unavailable in stores. Thank you for allowing him to claim that the only reason it didn’t warrant a review is that it is part of an entire delegitimized class of literature. “Don’t blame Jose for writing a lousy book, blame the Globe for its editorial tyranny!” That’s Jose’s motto now. The excuse soothes the pain. And thank you for doing your efforts to prop up the virtuous and fair publishing industry that gives so little and asks so much.

Seriously. Life is much easier this way. And since Jose’s nifty little volume is tawdry, mean, and factually-suspect, the Herald is probably a more appropriate venue anyway. The review would fit in nicely between the stories on water skiing dogs and the latest flirtation between Brad Pitt and Marjorie Eagen or whoever.
Your pal,
Jose Melendez

P.S. In the event that the Globe has no such policy against reviewing self-published books, sorry about that whole rant. On second though, even if the Globe does have the policy, sorry about the rant.

For today's complete KEYS, check out

Wednesday, April 13

4/13/05 - C. Euro vs. J. Wright

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

1. Jose had planned something else for this first KEY. To be honest, when he started writing these KEYS, he hadn’t seen the ring ceremony yet. He was at a meeting in Fall River during the ceremony and he missed it. He just got to see it on the replay at 11PM Tuesday night. He figured that he could write a few quick KEYS about it, get some laughs, or not, no problem.

But things changed. He actually watched the ceremony. And it mattered to him. It really mattered to him. Jose had thought that after the long, wonderful winter, he had worked the sentimentality out of his system, that while the joy of the championship remained immeasurable, that overwhelming emotion of the night they won, even the overwhelming emotion of the following week, was gone forever. And then the team started coming out. Terry Eurona came out looking healthy and strong. Megatron Lowe came out wearing a BU cap. David Ortiz came out and reminded everyone that he is the greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history. Red Sox legend Dave Roberts came out and was reminded that his one little steal was greater than all of Ricky Henderson’s put together. Chang Lee came out and got one of the most perplexingly large ovations of the afternoon. Curt Euro came out walking effortlessly in clean white socks. And Johnny Pesky? Johnny Pesky, the man who has spent more time with this organization than any other, the man who exemplifies what it is to be a Red Sox came out and got the ring that he earned, got the ring that he deserved… And it all came back, the joy, the exhilaration, the sense that a great burden was gone and that the world had begun anew.

For one little hour, this silly little ceremony with the shiny baubles and spunky songs, the old friends and the rippling banners brought it all back. For one hour it was October 27, 2004 again, and God did it feel good.

For today's full KEYS visit

Monday, April 11

4/11/05 -- Home Opener, Champs vs. Not the Champs

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

Today is the day. Today is the day that we have waited for 86 years. Empires have risen and fallen, ideologies have been tested, space has been explored and through it all we have waited. We have waited and waited and waited and Godot never quite arrived. And today, today Godot not only arrives, but he sits down and buys us a beer. At long last we wall have our chance to see men fawn over jewelry as though they were women swarming around the desk of a newly engaged colleague.

Everyone is looking forward to the ring ceremony but few know what it actually entails. Yes, the Red Sox will have some star sing the national anthem, and the big American Flag and hopefully WWF Champion John Cena to throw out the first pitch, but none of those events is actually part of the ring ceremony itself. The ring ceremony itself is a holy sacrament where a permanent bond is formed between man and championship a bond that can never be broken. Some of the departed players like Pedro may go to Las Vegas for a quickie ring ceremony, but Jose believes that the players still with the team as well as a few old friends like Ellis Burks, Curtis Leskanic and Megatron Lowe are doing it the right way, surrounded by family and friends.

The ceremony, as one might expect, requires both a flower girl and ring bearer for each player. The flower girl strews rose petals before the feet of the player as he walks down the first base line and the ring bearer carries the ring behind him on a velvet pillow.
The ring is then presented by a minister, rabbi, priest, imam, judge, justice of the peace, major league baseball official or bartender empowered by the state of Massachusetts to bind man to championship. Before receiving his ring, each player recites vows. Some will write their own vows, but the classic version goes:

"I [state your name], do solemnly swear to take this ring , to be the symbol of my championship. To have but seldom to wear, to keep in a safe deposit box except for special occasions, to not sell on my Web site until the IRS is really closing in on me, in slumps and in streaks, on the DL and in active duty, whether starting or riding the pine, so long as I shall live."

At that point the officiant slips the ring on the player’s finger and declares, "And with the power invested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Major League Baseball and Shreve, Crump and Lowe, I now pronounce you man and championship. (Note: Shouldn’t they change the name to Shreve, Crump and Megatron?)

And this will happen once for each player, coach, trainer and management official tomorrow. It should only take six or seven hours. See why Jose isn’t resentful that he doesn’t have tickets?

For today's complete KEYS visit

Sunday, April 10

4/10/05 - Clement XV vs. Li-lly, Li-lly

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

1. The vaunted Red Sox spin machine broke down this morning as Dr. Charles Steinberg stepped into some very turbulent waters on WEEI’s Sunday morning baseball show.

11:10 AM – Steinberg describes the Red Sox’s plans to have a large number of old players on the field in uniform for the ceremonies at the beginning of the opening day game.

11:12 AM – The insipid hosts complement Steinberg and the Red Sox for having the vision to invite old players back for opening day.

11:13 AM – Steinberg says (note: Jose was walking through Boston Common, and didn’t have a pad, so this is not an exact quote.) that he thinks every Major League team should have a “right of return” for former players.

11:14 AM – CLANG!!! The alarm bells ring in Israel and the occupied territories as the magic words are uttered.

11:25 AM – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (note: also called Abu Mazen) holds a press conference stating that all Palestinians are descended from members of a 14th Century Major League team in Jerusalem called the Palestine Martyrs, and as such, all Palestinians have a right of return as confirmed by Dr. Steinberg. Moreover, Abbas demands that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays be relocated to East Jerusalem.

11:50 AM – AIPAC holds a press conference condemning Dr. Steinberg’s comments, calling for a retraction and asking Jewish Third Baseman Kevin Youkilis to public condemn Steinberg’s comments.

11:53 AM – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announces a plan to bring the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to West Jerusalem.

12:03 PM – The Government of Greece, still confused by Billy Beane’s “Greek God of Walks” comment, calls on Youkilis to condemn continued Turkish occupation of one-third of Cyprus.

12:25 AM – Blogger Jose Melendez fictionalizes an account of a Middle East controversy arising from Steinbergs comments because the situation in the Middle East is marginally less discouraging than David Wells’ performance thus far.

For today's complete KEYS visit