Friday, August 26

8/26/05 — Wakefield vs. Johsnon

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

1. Yesterday, Jose’s employer had its annual summer outing. It was nice. We took off at noon, ate nice cold cut sandwiches and went swimming in a pond. It’s not big deal. Lot’s of companies do it. Unfortunately, one of those companies appears to be the Boston Red Sox. That seems like the only reasonable explanation for yesterday’s second straight loss to the woeful Kansas City Royals. The Red Sox must have been enjoying a one day summer retreat. Okay, maybe they were physically at Kaufman Stadium, but did you see any evidence yesterday day that the Red Sox were not on at least a psychological retreat? Is there any doubt that Kevin Millar was imagining himself floating on an air mattress in a pool, margarita in hand? And there was Bill Mueller thinking about a roast beef sandwich with mustard and just a little smidge of mayo. And Manny, well, Manny is always on a mental holiday. The only one who didn’t appear to be taking a holiday was Curt Euro, who was certainly laboring.

So now that the rain out against the White Sox has been rescheduled for Labor Day the Red Sox will be forced to play for thirty straight days. But they shouldn’t complain. The collective bargaining agreement guarantees that there cannot be more than 20 days of play without an off day, and the Red Sox stood by their agreement by taking an off day yesterday.

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Thursday, August 25

8/25/05 — Pitcher Who Gave a Championship to Boston vs. Pitcher Who Gave Herpes to His Mistress

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

1. Tonight marks the return of Curt Euro to the starting rotation a mere 123 days after his last start and almost ten months after his last good start. (Note: Is the 123 days a good omen? Does it mean we’re going to see a lot of 1-2-3 innings?) How long had it been since Euro started? Well, let’s put it this way, the last time he started Jose might have been willing to use the phrases “Sox slugger Kevin Millar,” “non-*sshole Jay Payton or “future Hall of Famer Rafael Palmiero.”

The last time Euro made a quality start, it was game two of the World Series with blood seeping through his sock. But as we all recall, he was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that some commentators have suggested that the blood on his sock was an elaborate fraud designed to inflate his heroism and unnerve opponents. While these charges are patently absurd, Jose would believe that batters were a little unsettled to see a man bleeding through his clothes still throwing smoke. So even though he wasn’t faking then, maybe he should now. Perhaps he should grab the old red sharpie and put a few dots on his sock prior to tonight’s start. Better yet, if Curt has a sense of humor (note: according to sources he does not), he should head out to the mound tonight looking like the title character in the final scene of Carrie. Can’t you just imagine a pig’s blood soaked Euro throwing fastballs and splitters? Wouldn’t that give him a huge advantage over hitters?

So welcome back to the rotation Curt. And let Jose give you a tip, if you’re looking for pig’s blood, try Chinatown and avoid the kosher butcher shops.

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Wednesday, August 24

8/24/05 — Antipope Clement XV vs. Some Other Bad KC Pitcher

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

According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are in the process of applying to make Fenway Park a historic landmark. While winning landmark status would give the Red Sox federal tax credits worth millions of dollars, it does come with strings attached. So should the Red Sox win landmark status, they may well become a marionette not yet visited by its blue fairy godmother.

Renovations of landmark buildings are strictly regulated in order to ensure that the buildings retain their historic character. Even more seriously, some changes already made might need to be reversed. (Note: Jose is almost positive that the last sentence is untrue, but bear with him.) Below are just a few of the issues that could come up if Fenway Park becomes a historic landmark:

*Each Bank of America sign must be replaced with a Bay Bank, Bank of Boston, Shawmut Bank and Bank of New England sign to demonstrate the historical progression of Massachusetts banking.
*Trough urinals to be reinstalled in men’s room in the interest of historical accuracy.
*Height of pitchers mound must be raised to pre-1969 height.
*No designated hitter.
*Johnny Pesky will be required to play shortstop.
*The green monster will be covered in advertisements just like in the old days. (Note: Wait, we’re headed that way anyway.)
*Tom Yawkey’s ashes must sit in the owner’s box.
*Bare knuckle boxing returns to Fenway Park.

So as you can see, there are some real plusses and minuses to seeking landmark status. Sure, Jose would love to see the Moosehead beer sign return, but not if it means that Harry M. Stevens has to return as the concessionaire.

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Tuesday, August 23

8/23/05 — Wells vs. Some Bad KC Starter

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

On Thursday night, Jose had the opportunity to speak with a Turkish fellow. Jose immediately went to work asking him whether it was true that “boston” the Albanian term for “watermelon” is Turkish in its origin. (Note: As discussed in July.) It was either that or ask whether the Turkish Twist ride at Canobie Lake Park was really invented in Turkey, so vocabulary seemed like the best conversational option.

The Turkish gentleman said that he believes that “boston” is Turkish in its origin, but that in Turkish itself, “boston” does not mean “watermelon” but rather the field in which watermelons are grown. But he also spoke of a second, more sinister meeting.

In the old days of the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan would keep an executioner with an axe by his side at all times so he could order a complete craniectomy for anyone who came before him at any time and have the procedure carried out without delay. The executioner charged with this duty was known as the “boston.”

And this bit of Turkish parlance is eminently appropriate for our Boston baseball squad as we ease towards the September chill. In the next five weeks, the Boston Red Sox will raise the axe, sharpened through five months of grueling competition, and bring it down on the necks of their rivals. The Angles—Chop—The Blue Jays—Chop—The Orioles—Chop—the As—Chop—The Yankees Chop. One by one they will be forcibly separated from their title hopes by the Boston. (Note: Jose did not list Tampa, Detroit, or tonight’s opponent Kansas City on the chopping block, and he probably shouldn’t have listed Baltimore either. With these teams that are far, far, far out of the playoff picture, what happens to them will be far more akin to drawing and quartering and a long dead corpse than a beheading.)

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