Friday, June 15

The New Look Giants

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

1. Jose is not much of a fashion plate. He would not thrive on Project Runway any more than Julio Lugo thrives at the top of the batting order… or the bottom of the batting order. Still, he does like to think he knows a little about uniforms and what makes a good one. Thus, he would like to make a humble suggestion to the visiting San Francisco Giants.

Yes, the orange and black is a classic look but don’t you ever want to try something at least a little bit different, a little bit fun? Sure you do, and what would you say if Jose told you that he had a uni idea that would also help you market more effectively to the Latino fans, who, according to Lou Dobbs, are overrunning your region? You’d say, “Absolutely Jose, what is it?”

Well, here it is. The Giants should start wearing the muscle suit worn by Latino professional wrestler The Giant Gonzales (note: a.k.a. El Gigante). Since Gonzalez was something of a bean pole (note: Think a Latin Manute Bol with less athletic ability), the late great Vincent Kennedy McMahon, may he rest in peace, dressed Gonzales in a skin tight suit that had muscles painted on to it and some impressive shoulder fur. The advantages for the Giants would be considerable. Not only would it be a sleek new look, the fake muscle suit would actually make Barry Bonds look less roided up.

A uni for the 21st century

2. With Barry Bonds, a legend like it or not, coming to town for the first time tonight Jose would like to see his fellow Red Sox fans show some class and not crack out the crude and tired “Ste-roids, Ste-roids” chant. It’s old, its day is past, and it’s not even accurate. Bud Selig wishes Barry were only taking steroids, given the freaky, freaky things he puts into his body. And yet sadly, nothing rhymes with stanozolol.

Thus, Jose is going to offer a more sophisticated alternative taunt that reflects the modernization and increasing sophistication of performance enhancing drugs.

The clear, and the cream,
Without them, you’d hit like Sid Bream,

You screwed up your knees,
We blame it all on PEDs

Hank Aaron’s your foil,
But he din’ need no Flaxseed Oil

3. Red Sox Legend Dave Roberts makes his first appearance in Boston in uniform tonight since the 2004 World Series. And while it is hard to explain exactly how great a man Roberts is, Jose is going to try to do it in the only way he knows how: by discussing his commonalities with another sporting legend, Mr. Miyagi.

FACT: Both were born on Okinawa.
FACT: Both have spent time living in L.A.
FACT: Both have cool beards.
FACT: Both have appeared with Jay Leno (Note: Roberts on The Tonight Show, Miyagi in the movie Collision Course.)
FACT: Jose is really stretching right now, and he has about as much in the tank right now as St. Josh a Beckett did last night.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.

Thursday, June 14

You might feel a slight sting. That's pride fu**ing with you.

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

1. One would not expect to find much to be proud of in a 12-2 drubbing at the hands of the Josh Fogg and the Colorado Rockies. Jose would have been happier if the Sox had been shut down by “The Velvet Fog” Mel Torme, and yet Jose has left few games with a greater feeling of pride.

There are two kinds of pride, three if you count PRIDE fighting. Jose is quite familiar with feeling the first kind as he struts down Yawkey after a victory. It’s the kind of pride that comes from seeing a foe vanquished by one’s champion. The second kind is more elusive, both in life and in the old park in the Fenway. It is the kind of pride that emerges from seeing a friend or ally stand up for someone weaker, from witnessing an act of right in the face of, perhaps not might, by at least general jerkiness. No, Jose is not talking about Tito’s selfless defense of the increasingly indefensible Julio Lugo, but rather about the actions of one Sam Melendez.

As the margin in last night’s contest swelled from large to insurmountable, one particularly loudmouthed fan, who looked for all the world like a drunken law student, began to seek refuge in harassing a visiting Rockies fan. The young aggressor began to bellow at the Rockies fan, a portly woman in her mid-30s, for committing the unforgivable sin of being the least bit pleased that her awful baseball team was winning. “Go back to Colorado” he insisted, as he demanded that she “stop cheering for such a sh*tty team.”

This was not some Yankees fan vaingloriously inviting taunts, beer and abuse, but rather one of those pleasant mountainfolk, earnestly cheering her thin air heroes.

And still the abuse persisted. “BEST F*CKING RECORD IN THE MAJORS,” he harangued. “BEST F*CKING RECORD.”

“Hey,” came the interjection. It was a different voice, Sam Melendez’s gravely mumble. “I just want you to know that all Sox fans aren’t *ssholes.” The victim smiled, reassured that someone cared.

It was a profound truth. We’re not all *ssholes are we?

But the drunkard was out to prove Sam wrong.

“I’m just cheerin’ fer my team,” he slurred loudly. “How duz that make me ern azz hole?”

“This lady’s just supporting her team. Leave her alone,” replied Sam, barely concealing his growing irritation.
“Yer a bad fan, you should be supporting yer team, and she should GO THE F*CK BACK TO COLARADO!”

“Your mother must be so proud,” Sam retorted. Not the most original comeback but a valid comment.

“She is. You want talk to her?” He pulled out his cell phone.

Maybe his mother was proud. Maybe there are women out there who imagine that one day their sons will grow up to be drunken louts. But Sam was not prepared to ask her directly.

“That’s it we’re done here *sshole,” decided Sam

And with that Sam and Jose stood up and walked down to much better seats as the law student shrieked “BAD FANS LEAVING EARLY,” at us.

But Jose was proud of Sam, really proud, first for standing up for a visiting fan who was taking unreasonable crap, and second for refraining from beating the holy hell out of the law student. A sense of justice and a sense of restraint are two qualities that go together far too infrequently.

2. While last night’s game may have seemed like one more near meaningless interleague contest lost in the ether of a lengthy season, it should have a special sting for the many Red Sox fans who truly hate the Yankees.

This is because among last night’s victors was Rockies catcher Vorvit Torrealba, who as you can tell from the last name, is the love child of Yankees manager Joe Torre and Actress Jessica Alba. Torre had sex with Alba, known to be dating Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, in the locker room after an early season game. The crusty Torre was able to fool the actress by wearing Derek Jeter’s “Driven” cologne and bringing “intangibles” to the encounter.

When asked to explain the indiscretion Torre stated “she was invisible, so I thought she was my wife.” When it was explained to Torre that Alba only turns invisible in her Fantastic Four role as The Invisible Woman, Torre responded “Does that mean I’m not The Thing then, and I’m always going to be stuck looking like this?”

3. After last night’s appalling five inning six run performance, Curt Euro appeared this morning on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program and announced that he would accept a one year $13 million contract extension if it were offered.

In other news, President George W. Bush, following news of record low approval ratings declared that he would stay on for another term if elected. Also, Kevin Costner announced that he would star in a sequel to The Postman if asked.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.

Wednesday, June 13

Jose's Summer Concert Preview

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

1. It’s now all but officially summer in the northern hemisphere, and you know what that means—summer concerts. That’s right all of the fun of being outdoors in 95 degree heat combined with the thrill of $10 beers. It’s just like going to a Red Sox game except your ticket purchase does nothing to finance underachieving right fielders.

This year’s big concerts include the Dave Matthews Band, Ozzy Osborne and Modest Mouse. That’s all great (note: except for Dave Matthews, who sucks) but what really excites Jose is the summer’s other big tour, the one featuring Biz Markie, Soft Cell, The Divinyls, Right Said Fred and Ratt. The tour premiers tonight at Fenway Park in Boston, before what is sure to be a capacity crowd.

What do you mean there’s no such tour and that there’s certainly no such tour tonight at Fenway? Really? Jose guesses that he just assumed that with Curt Euro pitching tonight, all of the other one hit wonders would be appearing as well. Jose’s bad.

(Note: Though believe it or not, Ratt is actually playing at Great Woods.)

2. President Bush, according to reports, had his watch stolen while in Tirana, Albania several days ago. Photos and video clips show Bush shaking hands with the adoring, pro-American crowd, and one minute the watch is there the next it isn’t. Jose has been thinking about it, and he has identified only four suspects who might be so audacious as to steal the President’s watch while the secret service looks on.

The first suspect is Vladimir Putin, who as Bob Kraft knows is fully capable of stealing expensive jewelry from off the person of American dignitaries. Putin famously pocketed one of Kraft’s Super Bowl rings during a 2005 visit. Putin is also rumored to have stolen a tie tack from Dan Rather and an intimate piercing from actress Jenna Jameson.

The second suspect is perhaps the most audacious most spectacular thief in history, exactly the sort of man who could pull a heist with millions of eyes on him and amidst the tightest security. Hell, this man could even manage the larceny if everyone knew he was going to do it. That man is of course, Dave Roberts, who historically stole second base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. However, while Roberts no doubt could have pulled off the watch theft, there is evidence that he did not. Had Roberts made the steal, there would be dozens of Yankees fans swearing it hadn’t happened and insisting that he had not successfully stolen the watch and that it was still on the President’s wrist. On the other hand, this is exactly what the administration’s press office is claiming, that the watch wasn’t stolen, but Jose isn’t sure if any of them are Yankees fans.

The third suspect is Bush himself. After all, stealing a watch is nothing in comparison with stealing an entire election.

The final suspect is none other than Jose Melendez, as Jose completely stole that last Bush joke from the friend who sent him the article on the watch theft to begin with.

3. Jose is worried about Mike Lowell’s thumb injury. Not only has Lowell’s inability to properly flex and extend his thumb appeared to hurt his fielding and cool off what had been a red hot bat, but it has also badly diminished the quality of his Fonzie impression.

Jose believes there is a real danger that if the injury does not heal in the next few days, the Red Sox may have to put him on the injured reserve, unless they want to see him substitute his Potsie impression, which is not nearly as good.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.

Tuesday, June 12

This Is Not A Test

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







2. With former Maine Senator George Mitchell leading baseball’s performance enhancing drugs investigation, Jose has to ask the question: Is this going to become a trend? Is Major League Baseball, ever time there is a scandal, an imbroglio or a catastrophe, going to get a former or current Senator to take charge of getting at the truth?

It makes sense, actually, as there is little Senators do better than offer unenforceable recommendations. And why would you go with Senators rather than Congressmen? Simply, the Senate, with its venerable tradition of delaying maneuvers, filibusters, holds and the like, is far more attuned to the game of baseball, with its stepping out of the batters boxes and conferences on the mound. Congressman, who like to conduct votes on actual policy issues rather than holding votes on whether to hold votes on policy issues, just wouldn’t get the nuance of the game, it’s elegant lethargy.

Thus, Jose offers a few humble suggestions for Senators current and former who could investigate some of the most pressing issues facing the game.

Assignment: Investigate the drunk driving death of Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, reassess Major League policy on alcohol.
Chair: Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Rationale: Expert on drunk driving, resulting deaths

Assignment: Run committee on family values, dealing with adultery and sexual misconduct on Major League teams.
Chair: Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-NY)
Rationale: Duh.

Assignment: Lead investigation excessive contracts for low value players.
Chair: Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Rationale: $200 million bridge to nowhere still a better investment than contracts for Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Kei Igawa, DJ Dru, Julio Lugo and others.

Assignment: Lead investigation of crying in baseball
Chair: Sen. Ed Muskie (D-ME) Retired, Deceased
Rationale: Expert of impact of crying on performance.

Assignment: Lead committee on race in baseball.
Chair: Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS)
Rationale: Understands historical importance of Negro leagues, long time advocate of restoring them.

Assignment: Design more equitable revenue sharing system.
Chair: Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-VT)
Rational: Only socialist in Senate, likes redistribution of wealth.

Assignment: Lead committee on free agency
Chair: Sen. Joe Liebermann (D-CT)
Rationale: Expert on switching teams, betrayal.

Assignment: Lead Committee to honor Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown
Chair: Sen. John Tester (D-MT)
Rationale: Jealous of Brown’s third finger.

Assignment: Lead Committee on Keeping Baseball America’s Pastime
Chair: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Rationale: Committed to keeping out immigrants who take jobs from hard working American pitchers and batters, keeping reggaeton out of clubhouses.

3. For all of those saddened by the Red Sox recent decision to designate for assignment left-handed reliever J.C. Romero, Jose says fear not. Jose has done some careful calculating and computation, and he is pretty sure that today, the third day after he was DFA’d, J.C. will rise and resume his place on the Major League roster. And even if he doesn’t, Jose figures we can, at the bare minimum spent the next 2000 or so years waiting for J.C. to return and save all the Red Sox bullpen. It’s really the least we can do. Remember J.C. was DFA’s for the sins of the whole bullpen… well, for that and his inability to throw strikes, but we owe him at least a couple millennia of fidelity for that.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.