Friday, September 2

9/2/05 — Minor League Battle, DiNardo vs. Maine

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

1. Jose is sick. And it’s not some BS made up illness like Fenway Fever or the Vaughn Eshelman Flu (note: remember Wade Boggs’ unwillngness to face the unfamiliar lefty in 1995?). The way Jose figures it, he probably has either Western Equine Encephalitis or East Nile Virus. But not to worry, those two aren’t nearly as severe as the illnesses from the opposite directions.
To make matters worse, this is the first KEYS Jose is writing on his brand new computer, and making the switch from PC to Mac, Word to AppleWorks seems certain to result in some problems. It’s like making the transition from reliever to starter midseason. Jose should really be getting himself stretched out before he writes a full KEYS on this thing. You know, writing 100 words today, 250 on Sunday, 500 on Tuesday and then and only then giving a go at a full KEYS maybe a week from today. But with the season winding down, Jose just doesn’t have that much time to waste. The team needs him now.

Now you may be asking “Jose, what good can a Jose who is not only sick, but also getting stretched out possibly do for us?” Jose does not know. He only knows that he needs to try. For God’s sake Leonardo DiNardo is starting tonight. It’s not like the Red Sox can win this game on their own.

Besides a DiNardo start is always something to tune in to, as he is the first Red Sox pitcher since Rafael Bettancort (note: did he ever actually play for the big team?) to be named after a teenage mutant ninja turtle.

Ugh… that was pretty terrible. Much like the Red Sox starters for the last three nights, Jose has looked weak, really weak early. But can he now turn it around?

For the complete KEYS visit

Wednesday, August 31

8/31/05 — Wakefiled vs. Guy We Got Euro For

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

1. Sometime in the second inning of last night’s game, right around the time Jose was cutting into the evening’s first steak tip, the phone rang.

“Euro is all done,” said Jose’s brother Sam Melendez on the other end of the line. “I told you so yesterday.”

“Loothh at way,” replied Jose, his mouth full of meat marinated in soy sauce, brown sugar and Coca-Cola.

As he moved from the steak to the green beans lightly sautéed in olive oil and garlic, Jose began to compose today’s first KEY in his head. It would be a dirge, a lamentation. It would be a reflection Curt Euro’s sacrifice of the 2005 season and perhaps the rest of his career so that Red Sox fans could know the goodness of victory just one time. Jose muted the television, put Mozart’s mournful Requiem on the CD player and began to craft a eulogy of sorts as he shoveled mouthfuls of rice dripping with low quality LaChoy soy sauce into his mouth.

“Corinthians tells us that to every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven,” Jose began. “For Curtis Montague Euro, born Curtis Montague Schilling, that season was Autumn 2004 and that purpose was to deliver a World Championship to the Boston Red Sox. But as time evaporates into memory so passes that season, and the purpose, now met, dissolves into the ether.”

And so it went on and on, a melodramatic stew of tired clichés about the cycle of life. Winter of his career, change of life, given us his all, sacrificed for the greater good, throw them all in the pot and let them marinate in the bitter juices of disappointment and loss.

And then Jose paused from his mourning and looked up and through the foggy prism of his tear filled eyes two numbers slithered through his pupils along his optic nerve and directly into his brain. Six and five. Six and five. It was the sixth inning and Tampa Bay still had only five runs, the same number they had when the inning numbered only two… and still the man with the comically bleached hair stood on the mound. But that must mean… Could it be???

And whispering on the wind Jose heard the line from The Serpent and the Rainbow, “Don’t bury me I’m not dead.” Four scoreless innings. Four fragments of evidence that all is not lost, that good things have not yet come to an end. And today, somewhere in Boston, lies a metaphorical grave, empty, a pile of soggy, rocky new England soil to the side. And on the headstone it reads “The Career of Curtis Monatgue Euro 1988— ” There is no second year. Nothing is over.

For the full KEYS visit

Tuesday, August 30

8/30/05 — Euro vs. Scott “Disputed Province of” Kazmir

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

Second Baseman Euro Bellhorn will, in all likelihood become a member of the New York Yankees sometime in the next 24 hours making him the second member of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox to join the second place club. (Note: This is if you don’t count Ramiro Mendoza who has not escaped the minors and arguably never left the Yankees.) While Bellhorn, like his soon to be fellow Yankee Alan Embree, has badly underperformed this year, it still makes Jose sad to see a player who made such important contribution to the Red Sox championship end up on the Yankees. (Note: Though if the Yankees want to pick up other 2004 Red Sox contributors like Jamie Brown, Adam Hyzdu, or Bobby Jones, that’s cool.) There are, however, a few reasons why this move makes sense for him.

Pinstripes are slimming, and frankly he’s been looking a little chunky.
Once he is required to shave under the Yankees “no facial hair” policy, maybe people will stop coming up to him and saying “You sucked in Deuce Bigalow.”
All he can ever talk about is how he wants to vote for Mike Bloomberg.
No big risk of fans holding “Cano would have had it” signs.
Thought Yankee Mystique meant he would get use of a company Mercury Mystique.
Beats facing tough International League pitching for the rest of the year.
When people always call the Yankees a “classy organization” he thought they were saying that it is a “Lassie organization,” and he always thought that dog was a real hero.

The bottom line is that Euro Bellhorn will always be a hero to Red Sox fans, and we will miss him terribly, though not so much when David Wells strikes him out four times on September 10.

For today's complete KEYS visit

Monday, August 29

8/29/05 — Antipope Clement XV vs. Porn Star Seth McHung

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

Did anyone else watch the MTV Video Music Awards last night? Umm… Jose didn’t (note: really.), but he did catch a few minutes of it while the Melendezette was watching. He was struck by the effort of Diddy to conduct some sort of small orchestra as part of a tribute to Biggie Smalls. (Note: Sean Combs’ conversion from “P. Diddy” to “Diddy” happened the same day as “Jon” Papelbon’s conversion to “Jonathan” Papelbon. It’s really a shame that the rookie’s name change got overshadowed. It should have been Papelbon on the Today Show or Good Morning America talking about how the lack of an “athan” was getting between him and his fans.) Jose was actually sort of impressed. Diddy seemed to have reached a level of conducting competency that put him only marginally below a 16 year-old drum major on his first day of drum major camp, so good for him.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that any group of professional classical musicians, talented amateurs of decent high schoolers are capable of playing with reasonable coherence on their own, with no help from a conductor. That’s how the Boston POPS is able to have those fundraisers where some classical music lover from Dracut is allowed to conduct the orchestra—good orchestras conduct themselves, at least up to high levels of quality; the conductor makes those last marginal improvements that separate good from great.

Jose raises this issue, because there still seems to be a perception that this Red Sox team is like the MTV orchestra—it doesn’t really not a conductor to perform well. That’s what we’ve heard from all of the Tito bashers since the World Series, that anyone could have won with that group, that the players do it themselves and so on. But anyone couldn’t have won with that group, or this group. Could John McNamara? Butch Hobson? Joe Kerrigan? We all know that Grady Little could not have. Hell, if Grady had been conducting in Diddy’s place last night, some violinist would have ended up with a bow sticking out of her eye socket.

This is not to say that Tito Eurona is a perfect manager. His approach to the bullpen can be infuriating (note: though Jose has yet to find a manager who’s bullpen management does not infuriate him), he chooses peculiar days to sit people and his tobacco habit sets a bad example to Boston’s young people, but he is, easily, the best Red Sox manager in Jose’s life time. That is, at least until Jose has the high bid on one of those “manage the Sox for a game charity auctions.”

For today's complete KEYS visit