It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Today’s KEYS come to you from Melendez U’s department of historical analogy.
As Jose watched Curt Euro implode yet again last night, he could not help but draw the horrifying parallels between the righty and the fall of a certain empire, thus he thought it might be a useful exercise to do a series identifying, for each member of the Red Sox rotation, the appropriate imperial analogy. (Note: By useful, Jose means not useful.) Bonus points to any historians who site this edition of KEYS in a book or dissertation.
Today’s Profile: Curt Euro
Oh, the glory that was Curt. If Jose was going to write a book this year, and he is, he would be sorely tempted to call it The History of the Decline and Fall of Curt Euro.
For the three or four of you out there who may not have read Edward Gibbon’s opus, this means that Jose is comparing Curt Euro to the Roman Empire. When you think about the Curt era in Boston, the comparison is apt.
For starters, Jose is pretty sure that Curt’s parents were named Romulus and Remus, either that or he was personally founded by Aeneas, which is downright creepy when you think about it, since Aeneas had sprung forth from the ruins of Troy Glaus. From there, the comparisons only deepen and mature. His astonishing 2004 season is nothing if not a metaphor for the rise of the Roman Republic and the conquest of Italy. How is the bloody sock not an exact parallel to the Roman bloodletting in the Italian boot?
Then the 2005 season with his recovery from injury is reminiscent of the First Punic War when Rome, after losing 70 percent of its fleet to storms, rebuilt it in a mere two months. Sure, Curt really took a good ten months to recover from ankle surgery, but what do you want? He’s not made out of wood.
Then the 2006 season is the Roman Empire, where Euro, like Julius Caesar before him, made it clear that he had no interest in being part of the Senate. Also, he may have conquered North Africa. Jose will have to fact check that one.
And that brings us to today, 2007 and, sadly it looks as though the sack of Curt Euro is proceeding apace, and in consecutive starts the Rockies and Braves have played the roles of Visigoths and Vandals to perfection. And Jose is all too afraid that this weekend San Diego will be the Ostrogoths with Adrian Gonzales playing the role of Theodoric.
It is, lamentably, bread and circuses time. Instead of the sustaining conquests of the past, we have the circus that is 38pitches.com. (Note: Okay, Jose loves Euro’s blog, but damn it, he needs to call it a circus for this bit to work.) And does anyone else remember Emperor Nero’s wife Claudia Octavia running an anti skin cancer campaign?
But perhaps there is hope. If only Curt Euro would divide himself in half, there is a good chance that his Eastern portion could keep pitching for another 1,000 years or so until Turk Wendell would overrun him.
Tomorrow: What Empire does Josh Beckett resemble?
2. According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have secretly instituted a policy of ejecting fans who throw home run balls from the opposing team back on to the field. The policy, which the club insists is not new and is merely an enforcement of its broader rule against fan interference, was first trotted out last Wednesday when a fan was ejected after throwing the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe’s home run ball back on to the field.
Jose would like to condemn this move in the strongest possible terms. You cannot, CANNOT, start ejecting fans for throwing back home run balls. It is a hallowed tradition, and an integral part of the fan experience. Does the NHL eject fans for throwing hats on the ice after a hat trick? Does the WWF eject fans for throwing soda cups or, perhaps, glass bottles, at heels? No, of course not, because it is tradition! And yet here are the Red Sox wanting to curtail a completely harmless and fun ritual. What’s next, ejecting fans for singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame?” Arresting people for chanting “steroids” at Jason Giambi? Ejecting fans for hurling empty plastic bottles on the field after Tim Tschida calls an out when Chuck Knoblauch wasn’t within three feet of Jose Offerman?
“Safety first” is a fine motto, but there is safety and then there is lame killjoy nannyism. This is the latter.
Since this appears to be the call of Dr. Charles Steinberg, a dentist by training, let Jose put it in dental terms. Dr. Steinberg, whenever you give a patient nitrous what do you do? That’s right, you take a little hit for yourself. Yes, it’s not the safest thing in the world, but you do it anyway. And you know why? Tradition. (Note: Cue music.) And without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof! Which is to say, as shaky as Julio Lugo’s bat.
3. The season hit a low point last night as Willie Harris pounded the Red Sox, reaching base three times on a walk and two hits. If the trend continues, Cesar Crespo will have a game winning RBI tonight and Billy Ashley will bat and not strike out tomorrow.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.