It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Some call it the greatest rivalry in sports, the Red Sox and the Yankees.
But not everyone.
There are people out there, shady and mysterious, who do not agree. They claim that it is no more a rivalry that the relationship between hammer and nail, or hammer and window, or hammer and the kneecap of a ratfink or hammer in the hand of an exceedingly dumb person and screw.
They argue, these linguists from the Bronx, that with the Red Sox on the losing end so often the word rivalry is simply inappropriate. Perhaps, they claim, the Red Sox and the Yankees are far more like hammer striking nail than two swords clashing. The Yankees are a hammer. The Red Sox are a nail. But maybe, these pinstriped professors of English do not truly understand the relationship between hammer and nail?
They imagine that the hammer, since it strikes the nail repeatedly, pounding it, crushing it with leaden blows, is the superior in the relationship, that the nail battered and abused is subject to the hammer’s steel will. But is it really? Think about the ultimate purpose of a nail, to fasten, to hold, to bind. A nail’s duty, its raison d’etre is to defy gravity. And how does it oppose such a fundamental force? By drawing strength from the blows of the hammer.
Imagine hanging a picture. If you simply hold a nail against the wall and then let go, the nail and with it the picture will crash to the ground. But what happens when you strike the nail with a hammer? With each blow, the nail gains power, with each heavy strike, the nail’s ability to defy gravity increases. Swing after swing after swing, the hammer lands heavy on the nail, its brute force increasing the strength of the nail, increasing its ability to hold up the picture, to fulfill its destiny. And when the final blow is struck, the nail reaches the zenith of its power, firm against the wall and immune to further blows. The hammer can strike the nail again and again, but the nail will not go any further, it has its position, and it will hold it no matter what.
Yes, the Yankees are the hammer and the Red Sox are the nail. And for years they have struck us, brutalized us, but the final blow was struck in 2003, Aaron Boone set the head of the nail that is the Boston Red Sox flush against the wall and when Mariano Rivera tried once again to swing the pinstriped hammer in 2004, it was powerless. The hammer had given too much strength, too much holding power to the nail, and the nail would yield no more.
So where are we now in this battle, this true rivalry between hammer and nail? We are at the end game of all clashes between hammer and nail, the hammer can do no more and the nail is at the peak of its might, guaranteed, forever, to hold up that picture frame we call the division lead.
2. As the Red Sox and Yankees head into the weekend series that will end the Yankees division championship chances, there are dozens of crucial questions swirling. Is Roger Clemens healthy? Can Mr. Matsu pull himself together? But none is more important, more hotly contested than this: If the 2007 New York Yankees were a 1980s sitcom which one would they be?
Similarities: About an incredibly spoiled rich kid learning life lessons. The Yankees are incredibly rich, and they’re about to be taught a lesson.
Differences: No train going through Yankee locker room yet. Jason Bateman—not a true Yankee.
Similarities: Brooding father figure named George. Bad haircuts (note: Ma’am’s) prominently featured.
Differences: Yankees have noticeable lack of loveable black orphans.
Similarities: Catchy theme songs.
Differences: Bob Uecker much better defensive catcher than Jorge Posada.
Similarities: Yankees feature loveable immigrant (Wong) and nervous guy (A-Rod).
Differences: Balki already a well-established Red Sox icon.
Charles in Charge
Similarities: Olive skinned man tries to manage a bunch of idiots.
Differences: No one on Joe Torre’s staff is as smart as Buddy Lembeck
The Golden Girls
Similarities: Geriatrics always looking for sex.
Differences: Roger Clemens is older than Rue McClanahan and Derek Jeter is not quite as manly as Bea Arthur.
See. There are a lot of good comparisons but nothing is quite perfect. Maybe the best analogy is Rosanne, like the rotund actress, the Yankees are a disgrace when they appear on a baseball field.
3. Jose is going to miss the last hour of tonight’s game, as he has a social obligation, but he’s not going to videotape it. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, it’s just that he can’t really deal with a $500,000 fine right now.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.