Friday, August 12

8/12/05 -- Laundry Battle

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

The series of five manhole explosions that rocked the North End last night left Jose understanding exactly what it must be like to be the Tampax Bay Devil Rays—he was completely and utterly without power.

For the second time this year, the power went out in Melendezville, but this time Jose wisely chose not to manage a power outage by locking himself out of the house. But in the darkness and the quiet one has time to think, to ponder the questions that the hustle and bustle of the electronic world leaves no time to contemplate. Things like:

· Jose is so glad there is no game tonight, or he would be missing it.
· If Euro Bellhorn gets released and no one is there to see it, does he make a sound? He’s pretty quiet, you know.
· Is Brian Shouse really still in the majors? And if so is he the same guy as Brian Looney?
· When the Czech and Slovak Republics convert from crowns to euros, will Jose have to talk about Derek Lee chasing the triple euro?
· When will the God d*mn power come back on?

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Wednesday, August 10

8/10/05 – Balki vs. Ballistic

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

1. The arbitrator who yesterday reduced the suspension of Rangers starter Kenny Rogers for thrice beating a cameraman from 20 games to 13 games has been roundly criticized for being far too lenient on the righty and allowing him to miss only two starts. (Note: In his comments MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said “I am not a happy Commissioner.” Is sounded awkward, almost like he couldn’t say “I am not a happy man” because it would be a lie—because he isn’t a man. That’s right. This confirms Jose’s long held suspicion that like Sam Cassell and Eric Williams, Bud Selig is an alien bent on destroying the human race. Fortunately for us the only way he knows how to destroy anything is with labor strife and poor media relations, so while baseball may be screwed, the human race will probably survive.)

Jose thinks that this criticism is ill-advised and frankly uncalled for. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe, just maybe the arbitrator has made Rogers’ punishment more severe? That’s right. Now, instead of sitting around wondering what the trademark implications would be if he started his own eponymous fried chicken business, Rogers has to go out and get his *ss beat by the Boston Red Sox. How, oh how, is that being lenient?

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Tuesday, August 9

8/9/05 -- Jose Goes for 10-1

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

1. In the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto, a bastion of Zen tranquility in a land of urban sprawl, green netted driving ranges and shrieking cicadas, the landscape is as completely littered with temples as New York is littered with… well… litter. At the age of 13, Jose traveled there on his first trip overseas and was struck by two of the ancient shrines.

The first was Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, a three story black roofed shrine, the top two levels of which are covered in brilliant gold leaf. The Pavilion sits serenely on the end of a dock, the silence interrupted only by the gentle ripples of the water and the thousands and thousands and thousands of tourists. The grandeur of the Golden Pavilion, its opulence made quite an impression on the teenaged Jose.

The second was Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion, a humble wooden shrine that looks a bit weathered. It is, ironically not silver, and yet retains the name “Silver Pavilion” much as Kevin Millar retains the name “First Baseman Kevin Millar” even though he cannot really play first base. When Jose saw the Silver Pavilion, especially after seeing the Golden Pavilion, he came away a little disappointed. (Note: And the Bronze Pavilion is probably even more disappointing, but either Jose didn’t visit it or there is no such thing.)

While Jose had preferred the Golden Pavilion, the Japanese, his Japanese host explained, tended to prefer the Silver Pavilion. While the flash and glitz of the Golden Pavilion enchants the western eye, the Japanese are drawn to the austere beauty of the Silver Pavilion.

The reason Jose tells you all of this is that he is trying to figure out how new Sox first baseman Roberto Petagine won a gold glove in the Japan’s Central League. After getting his first good look at Petagine last night and watching him let a ball slip through his legs, get turned around on a pop up in foul ground and, as best Jose could tell, have Kevin Millar brought in for him as a defensive replacement, it is clear that Petagine could not possibly have won a gold glove for being a good fielder. (Note: Not that Derek Jeter could have either.) The only possible explanations that Jose can come up with are that either Petagine’s defensive skills have taken a dive so steep that it is typically only caused by rigor mortis, or that the gold glove is not an award given out for defensive prowess in Japan. Jose suspects that since the Japanese know that gaijin like shiny gold things, such as the Golden Pavilion, they hand them out willy nilly to Westerners. (Note: Petagine’s home country of Venezuela counts as the West even if it is underdeveloped.) Has anyone asked Gabe Kapler, “The World’s Most Perfectly Sculpted Jew” if they gave him a gold glove? Jose bets they did. Meanwhile, the actual award for outstanding defensive play is the Silver Glove, which ironically is made of wood, not silver. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

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Monday, August 8

8/8/05 – Miller vs. Rodriguez

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

1. When today’s KEYS end up sucking (note: and they will) Jose expects, nay Jose demands that you cut him some slack. After all, you’ve all cut Antipope Clement XV slack. Heck, even after Clement missed an entire start, you still let him off the hook for his ho-hum start. “We’re just glad that he’s okay,” you said. (Note: Okay, and Jose said too.)
Well, much like Clement, Jose got his skull cracked, just yesterday in fact, and guess what? Here he is back to work the very next day making his regularly scheduled start. When the boom on his father’s boat cut a graceful arc in the wind and swung squarely into the back of Jose’s head do you know what he thought? Do you?

He didn’t think “I’d better not move” or “am I bleeding?” or even “txfg dfgd rgdf.” No, he thought, how can Jose work this in to tomorrow’s KEYS. Even as he lay on the deck (note: floor) felled by a maritime rabbit punch, Jose was thinking about this feature, about the fans and about how he can help the team.

So when you’re stuck for the next week with KEYS about subjects like: “Tony Graffanino is not really that bad,” “Jeremi Gonzales really is that bad” and “Is Wilton Veras still the third baseman of the future?” remember that as bad as it is, it’s not nearly as bad as six earned runs in five innings, and you let that slide.

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