Saturday, October 20

ALCS Game 6: Open Letter From a Dirty Bastard

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

1. An Open Letter to Curt Euro

Dear Curt,

You began today’s Sons of Sam Horn game thread by saying “Flip it on Jose, you dirty bastard. Keys and mojo as if your life depends on it.”

First of all flip is more of a west coast thing. People there asking for a U-Turn will say “Flip a U-Turn,” where was we East Coast folks will say “Pop a U-Turn.” Except we pronounce “U-Turn” “YEW-WEE.”

Second, Jose is not a bastard. His parents were definitely married when he was conceived. He is also not dirty. His hygiene isn’t perfect, but it’s not like he is Kevin Millar or something.

Long story short, you have made Jose feel bad. Jose had listed all of the nice things he was going to do for you now that we are best pals, and you go and call him a dirty bastard? Well, there goes the KEYS thong for Shonda at Christmas time, or as we Unitarians of Jewish extraction call it, the Winter Solstice with something about the Maccabees thrown in and a Christmas tree because they’re kind of fun. (Note: Maccabees would be a good name for a chain of Jewish delis in the Applebee’s style. They could serve fun drinks and really low quality latkes.)

But here’s the thing. You can make it up to Jose. You can.

First of all, win the game. That’s the easy part. The other part will help with the winning. Jose has created personalized, life-affirming inspirational messages for each and every member of the active roster. Jose is writing them, all you need to do is go to Michael’s or some craft store and get some glue and sparkles and calligraphy markers so that you can make them look nice for everyone.

Don’t act like you don’t have time. Beckett would do it. This is important. We’ll start with the starting line up and work backwards.

Dustin Pedroia: Everyone makes fun of you because you are short, but that’s okay. After all, people made fun of Napoleon for being short too, and look what he did. He conquered most of Europe at the cost of hundreds of more than a million lives.

Wow, you’d better get cracking if you want to catch up. Start with Fausto Carmona.

Kevin Youkilis: With Kapler and Stern gone, you are now left to do the work of three Jews. You’re not even close to a Minyan. Also, you know that in the bible, Sampson got his strength from the long hair on his head, not on his beard right?

David Ortiz: Carry on

Manny Ramirez: You get a huge amount of crap in the media for saying what we all know is true. If the Red Sox lose the world will not, in fact, end. And you deserve credit for recognizing that as much as we love baseball in this town, and as deeply as we care, it really is not the end of the world. Unless we lose the game because the spaceship has beamed you up to take you back to your home planet. Then there’s a good chance that it is the end of the world.

Mike Lowell: A lot of people say you’re the oldest looking 33 year-old they’ve ever seen. And while this may be true now, rest assured that this is only until Lindsay Lohan turns 33.

DJ Dru: DJ, you have taken a bigger beating in this town than perhaps any non-criminal player Jose can remember since Jack Clark. If Jose can offer some friendly advice, try not to go in to bankruptcy this off-season. It wouldn’t look good.

Jason Varitek: Everyone on earth thinks that the “C” on your chest is because you’re the team captain, or maybe, if they’re not hockey fans, they think it stands for catcher. Only Jose knows that it is really a sign of your devotion to the programming language “C.” Thank God, you’re not devoted to Pascal, because that would look really silly on the front of a jersey. (Note: Alternative theory. Varitek wanted the speed of light to be his jersey number but 299,792,458 m/s didn’t fit.)

Jacoby Ellsbury: Try not to ever get fat, because if you do, people will start calling you the Ellsbury Dough Boy.

Julio Lugo: Jose just learned that your first name in Spanish means “July” and that your last name is that of a city in Galicia, Spain, famous for its 3rd century walls. Jose would feel better right now if you would change your name to Octubre Boston. Thanks.

Rococo Crisp: Jose knows that it must be tough being benched for a big game, but look on the bright side, you will have a chance to get to know Eric Hinske a lot better.

Alex Cora: You are the utility man right? So can Jose talk to you about his electric bill?

Eric Hinske: You’re a weird dude. You haven’t played that much this season and yet you have two of Jose’s absolute favorite plays of the year, the diving catch and the Tito Santana style flying forearm to Jorge Posada’s head. If you get anywhere near this game tonight, it had better involve decapitating Kenny Lofton and then making a diving catch of his head with arm outstretched.

Bobby Kielty and Doug Mirabelli: Jose would like to say something nice about both of you, but neither of you wears batting gloves, and you know what the television adds say “no glove, no love.”

Hideki Okajima: You know how you don’t look at the plate when you’re pitching and it works really well? Do you do that in other aspects of your life? Do you find sex is better with your eyes closed? Do you close them when listening to music? Do you look away when your wife is arguing with you? Jose is just asking because he loves your no-look motion so much that it inspired him to try looking the other way while driving. It didn’t work out so well.

Jonathan Papelbon: Everyone says you are a crazy bastard, but Jose just doesn’t see it. Really, who hasn’t done Riverdance in Fenway in spandex?

Mike Timlin: Jose knows you love the cammo, so he was thinking: Would MLB let you use a camouflage glove? It would help you hide the ball right? Or maybe it would have to be white with red stitching to do that?

Eric Gagne, Jon Lester, Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen: Just lay down a tight drum groove for the game. That’s it nothing else. Jose wants nothing from you in this game but your best impersonations of Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa or if you have to go rock, John Bonham. If absolutely necessary Lester can learn to play bass, but nothing else.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett: You guys are all starters, so with the possible exception of Wakefield there is little chance that any of you see action tonight. Still, on the off chance that one of you does have to pitch, Jose wants you to remember that pitching in relief is only different from starting in the same way that doing dishes is different from cooking dinner. It’s still part of the same evening, but instead of getting to experiment and improvise, you spend your time cleaning up after someone else’s mess.

And then there’s you Curt Euro, our starter for the evening. What possible advice, what words of wisdom, could Jose give you? Well, none. But he can quote words of wisdom from a dead German, in this case, Bertold Brecht in his play The Caucasian Chalk Circle

All mankind should love each other,
But when visiting your brother,
Take an axe and hold it fast,
Not in theory, but in practice,
Miracles are wrought with axes,
And the days of miracles are not past.

Hear that Curt? The days of miracles are not past, Kevin Millar is right, the comeback from three to one down can happen, but only, only if you bring what you need to chop down the Indians.

Your pal,


P.S. I predict the Red Sox will win tonight. Just need to work that first person singular magic.

2. Correction: In the KEYS for Game 2 of the ALCS, Jose incorrectly asserted that Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona had sold his soul to the devil in return for superior pitching skills. This is not true and KEYS TO THE GAME would like to apologize for the error.

While a transaction did occur, it was not a direct sale as suggested. Rather the devil purchased an options contract on Fausto’s soul, allowing him to acquire the soul at a future date for an agreed upon price.

However, noted options trader and Red Sox owner John W. Henry is reported to have purchased the option on Fausto’s soul and is expected to exercise it at approximately 8:20 PM this evening.

Again, we regret the error.

3.The good news on Thursday night was that the Red Sox won to bring the series back to Boston. The bad news is that Jose’s mother got a flat tire. The good news is that the tire was replaced for free by the good people at Firestone. The bad news is that since the Red Sox won with a flat tire, we need to stick with it. So yadda, yadda, yadda. Jose is off to slash his mom’s tire.

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

Thursday, October 18

Like a Locker Room Speech by Marcel Marceau

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

1. It is quiet here. It is painfully, relentlessly quiet. Denuded of the cracks and cheers the air is empty of vibration. All that remains to tickle the tympanic membranes, are those other sounds, the sounds so subtle, so remote, that they do not even exist to a man who is free from anything but the most monastic solitude. The heart thumps its regular rhythm, a metronome, infinite and plodding. Beneath the percussion is the slow gargle of blood tickling arteries and veins on its journey through the French horn of the circulatory system. And then there is the buzz. Like the whir of fluorescent light or the flapping of a mosquito’s wings, the buzz annoys, high and harsh, even as it calms by providing evidence of one’s continued existence.

Jose heard these sounds described once in a radio story about a composer who wrote a piece of music consisting entirely of rests. The composer went deep into a subterranean isolation chamber to hear true silence, the silence that burns like acid in one’s ears, and there, alone, he heard these sounds.

But Jose needs no subterranean cavern, no layer of the Morlocks, to succumb to this bitter silence any more than he needs an orchestra at rest. To him, silence is nothing more than the absence of baseball. And on the treacherous Wednesday off day Jose was left to its cruel neglect, given a taste of what shall come should the Red Sox lose again to Cleveland.

Simon and Garfunkel were wrong; silence does not “like a cancer grow.” Silence is not some foreign growth crushing organs with sheer bulk. It is more insidious than that. Silence like a virus spreads. It infiltrates just a few cells at first, then turns those cells into breeding grounds for its minions of quiet and despair. With each off day, the silence of the off-season penetrates more deeply, overwhelms more perniciously until there is naught but void.

But Jose will not yield to the silence. He will not bow to the bitch goddess inevitability; the silence cannot yet come. He will not allow it.

Sometimes even those sworn to silence, those who’s very being is defined by the absence of sound, must break their vows, must deny their essence to stave off the abyss. In 1976, Marcel Marceau, a man more famous for silence than any other, uttered the lone word “non” in Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie.” More recently, Darryl and Darryl, the silent woodsman in the television program Newhart, are, in the series finale, so infuriated by the grating chatter of their wives that they scream their first word in the series “QUIET!!!” And in comic books, even the Inhuman King, called Black Bolt, who dares not speak because his voice can level cities, will utter a word when the situation is so dire that the silence must be shattered.

Jose cannot fall back upon the shock of the spoken word to rend the silence. Jose is verbose, and a word spoken would have no impact among the hundreds of thousands he has written.

All Jose has to tear apart the shroud of void, is one word, one slender syllable, that can have the impact of the mime aloud, or the mute come to speak. The day is dark, the silence is encroaching and the time for action has come.

I predict the Red Sox will win tonight.

2. The epic poems were nice, perhaps they were even actually epic, but they haven’t brought the Red Sox any wins, so away with them.

Perhaps, as Granny Melendez often suggests and Jose’s brother Sam confirms, these KEYS have been simply too long to read. So to hell with the verses as long as Dustin Pedroia’s swing and as plodding as Doug Mirabelli. Those days are gone. Rather than offering you one grand epic, Jose will offer a few short distinct poems, some merry little couplets for Game 5.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Thank God we’re not starting D. Jonathan Dru.

Roses are red, dead ones are black,
Where is Millar? Let’s break out the Jack.

Marigold’s orange, lilies are white,
Why isn’t Ellsbury, playing in right?

Begonias are red, or their white or pink,
Seriously guys, you should start with a drink.

Grass it is green, bark it is brown,
You will come back, from three to one down.

Outfield is green, in, a burnt umber,
The bats will arise from their postseason slumber.

Poppies are red, they’re used to make smack,
It’s time for Pedroia to show us some sack.

Maples have leaves, in winter they’re bare,
Do you really think Manny just doesn’t care?

Pine trees have needles, oak trees have leaves
We need for our shortstop to pull up his sleeves.

Daises are red, when slathered in paint
Tonight young Josh Beckett will prove he’s a saint.

Hyacinth’s blue, except when it’s not,
Like back in ’04, let’s go drink a shot.

3. The Cleveland Indians’ Casey Blake was sharply critical of Manny Ramirez for celebrating by stretching his arms toward the sky after hitting a home run to pull the Red Sox within four runs in Game 4.

What a jackass. Does Casey Blake not recognize not only step 2, but also step 11 of the yoga movement the Sun Salutation? Or maybe he does recognize it and he just hates the sun. Does he know that the sun is where we get light and heat from? Does he know that plants need it for photosynthesis? It’s like, really, really important. And there he is just pissing all over the sun, like he’s so much better than it.

All, Manny does is give a friendly greeting to Ra or Apollo if you prefer, and Casey Blake gets all self-righteous.

Blake went on to say that Manny’s sun salutation was “so opposite of how I am.” So how is he exactly? Jose’s supposes that means that rather than offering a salutation to the sun, he would say so long to it after hitting a home run. Would he just say but and storm out the door? Would he sit down and have a long talk with the sun? Nah, he seems like the sort of guy who would send a text message to the sun. “SRY I CANT SEE U. KC.”

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

Tuesday, October 16

ALCS Game 3: Quoth the Byrdman

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

1. The Byrdman

Once upon a Tuesday night, Coco batted left not right,
Manny took a three two pitch again, it was ball four,
Tito signaled starting runners, like heroes of long gone summers,
Cleveland fans applauded drummers, drummers banging from the bleacher’s core.
“Tis just that guy” Wedge muttered, “banging from the bleacher’s core -
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, just like a tasty brew, Wedge remembered ‘92
When his career went askew, as he walked out the door
Sent from Boston then in sorrow; - going to Denver tomorrow
Left for dead just like Barbaro – done, defeated like Al Gore -
For his dreams they lay in shatters just like those of Albert Gore
‘Til he came to now, Game Four.

And his soul remained uncertain whether he should call the curtain
Curtain call – for starters he’d already used before;
Pitcher who had earned a beating should he pitch Game Four repeating
Games that were not worth repeating – times where he had lost the war
C.C.’s wildness repeating as when he had lost the war -
“Should I use him in Game Four?”

Currently his courage grew ; “I’m not afraid of JD Drew,
"C.C,” said Wedge, `Sabathia, Your Game One performance I deplore;
But the fact is I was testing, If after just three days resting,
You’d be finished with digesting, digesting dinner from before,
That I knew not if I should pitch you – would it open up the bullpen door; -
Can I stand it, for Game Four?”

C.C. stood his hat askew, wondering what Wedge would do, taboo,
Of but three days rest risked as never dreamed before,
But the only thought transpired, surely could not be admired,
And as Eric Wedge perspired he thought “C.C. is not hardcore.”
This he thought of, and an echo murmured back the thought, “Not hardcore”
Far too soft for this Game Four.

Back into the clubhouse going, would Borowski saves be blowing?
But old C.C.’s gut was growing
“Has he stamina for more?No way,” he thought
“No way. Who’s that knocking at my office;
Perhaps he has the heart to pitch, to go and win the sum a bitch
If that’s his thumping, he shall pitch; -
Tis not him? He is not hardcore!”

Eric Wedge he turned the knob, and thought he’d see C.C. the slob,
In there stepped a dumpy Byrdman who had pitched 12 years before,
Not the least attention paid he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
When he saw a naked lady, posted on the exit door -
Filthy photograph of Paris just above the exit door -
Stood and stared, and nothing more.

Then this veteran, the fool, from out his mouth began to drool,
And Wedge said, “You got a sinful thing for pictures of this whore.”
“Though your something of a perv,” Wedge said,
“Have you then got the nerve,
Mighty arm and tricky curveball that you need to keep the score -
Tell me can you through five innings zero keep the score?”
Quoth the Byrdman, `I’m Game Four.”

Wedge was quite surprised by the Byrdman’s enterprise
That he would compromise – indeed to let him pitch once more;
For he couldn’t stop agreeing that this sorry human being
That with whom he’s guaranteeing that his team would lose once more
Staring at the naked heiress whom he saw as just a whore
With such claim as “I’m Game Four.”

But the Byrdman , staring horny at the heiress, wasn’t thorny
Wasn’t prickly, but convinced Wedge he should pitch once more.
Byrdman stood his jaw agape – mind on porn on videotape -
Christian Values squish like grape “Games like this you’ve pitched before -
So tonight you’re pitching for me? Just as you have done before?”
Said the Byrdman, “I’m Game Four.”

Startled that he was so cocky, like Apollo facing Rocky,
“Doubtless,” said Wedge, “That in this game you can’t keep down the score,”
Sure, you have thrown well enough, but when the going’s getting tough
Your fastball’s not so fast and you’re curveball’s not backdoor.
So If I should let you pitch, the fans shall me abhor,
That I heed your ‘I’m Game Four’”

But the Byrdman cocky still, like George Foreman pitching a grill
Turned to Wedge’s computer and then quickly typed in “whore”
Then, upon the screen there came, a list of links with some of fame
Flipping from page to page looking for the most hardcore
This fiend, the crazy addict searching for the most hardcore
He looked up “I’m Game Four.”

There Wedge stood in shock, as the Byrdman itched his jock
As he watched the naked ladies dancing on the screen before
Him he looked up from his screen looking strange and rather mean
From his pics that were obscene that would offend Tipper Gore,
But the pics were so obscene that they’d anger Pauly Shore
He declared “I’m Game Four.”

Then, the head of Wedge grew dizzy as he flew into a tizzy,
Driven by the knowledge his control had run right out the door
“Wretch,” Wedge cried, “Thy God hath damned you – you’re a freak and I don’t want you
To pitch – To pitch this season in big games, not any more!
Fastballs, curveballs changeups, no you shan’t pitch any more,”
Quoth the Byrdman, "I’m Game Four."

"Veteran!" said Wedge, Washed up hack –You know that I will take the flack! -When you struggle and you will, if you start this game once more.
For no matter what I do, the games will even two to two
If letting you start is what I do, Please don’t make me I implore
Is there - is there another pitcher? - tell me - tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Byrdman, “I’m Game Four.”

"Veteran!" said Wedge, Washed up hack –You even if they hack
That your pitches will be hammered off the wall or else o’er-
And we cannot score enough, to makeup for your lousy stuff
From an old and tired righty who should not pitch any more.
You’re an old and tired righty who should not pitch any more
Quoth the Byrdman, “I’m Game Four.”

“No that shall not be my choice, hear me Byrdman, hear my voice
Get thee back into the bullpen for you shan’t pitch any more.
Leave no porno as a token of obsession that’s you broken!
me stay rather soft-spoken, for you can’t keep down the score.
Take thy arm from off my team for you can’t pitch any more!”
Quoth the Byrdman, “I’m Game Four.”

And the Byrdman, quite insistent, persistent but inconsistent
On the mound he’s slowly pitching as the Sox run up the score;
Arm is weak and he looks roasted, mind adrift to picture posted,
Of the naked heiress posing above Wedge’s exit door
And the game that Wedge will lose is the battle and the war
So it ends, Game Number Four.

2. You’re name is Paul Gregory Byrd and you are feeling pretty good about life. You are a millionaire; you pitched very well against the Yankees when everyone, save your manager, was calling for you to be benched, and you are a true follower of Christ.

What’s more, you are facing a Red Sox team whose bats have gone into a mysterious slumber.

And yet…

Well, there are issues. For starters there’s your son, a charming lad, who does not respect his old man. He is a charming lad who has told you “'You know, dad, your stuff's not very good.'' And “Why would anyone want your autograph? You’re not any good, you're just average.”

You try to laugh it off, you pass it off to Ken Rosenthal as an amusing anecdote, but it hurts you. It hurts you badly. It is one thing to not have the respect of your teammates, fans, opposing players, clubhouse attendants, grounds crew, parody poets that guy at 7-11, but your son? That one is painful.

And then there’s the porn. You are a good Christian. It defines your life; it is important to you. So why, oh why, do you spend every waking hour wishing you were Hideki Matsui? Free from the cumbersome constraints of God’s law, that pagan bastard is free to not only enjoy pornography in vast quantities but to brag about it. But you? All you feel is shame. When you are away on the road, and let’s be honest, even when you are at home, you can’t wait to open up an adult magazine. It is all you can think about. That’s why you moved to Ohio isn’t it? To be closer to the Cincinnati Headquarters of Hustler magazine. You wish you could have signed with the Reds, but it just didn’t work. This is nothing new. You signed with the Angels in 2005 in the faintest hope that it might wrangle you an invite to the nearby Playboy Mansion. But Hef does not cater to middling veterans, so to Ohio and downscale to Hustler it was.

But the shame is all consuming, and you must make amends. It is not enough for you to punish yourself in private, you must supplicate yourself before the public at large, and since you are not nearly famous enough to apologize on Leno or Letterman, you write a book.

And in that book, you splay out the blackness of your soul for the world to see. You chronicle your shameful struggle with pornography and the thin film of bile it leaves upon your eternal essence.

But then it hits you. Perhaps, this is no contrition at all, but merely a form of exhibitionism. Do you get a thrill from the public humiliation? Or do you enjoy humiliating your wife by sharing your marital sins with the world?

Suddenly, the book seems not like a confession, an antecedent to absolution, but just another cheap thrill for sad little man.

So you look for other ways to be contrite, to purge your sin and your shame. While searching for, yes, more porn, you come across some information on the Carmelite monks, a religious order who beat themselves with whips to show humility before God. Perhaps, there is something to this. So you think about buying a whip so you can humble yourself properly, but you notice that searching for whips on the Internet only leads you deeper into porn, or even worse, parliamentary procedure.

So you abandon the hope of literal self-flagellation and look for a more metaphorical option. And then it hits you. Tonight. You can make amends tonight. You are facing the Boston Red Sox and they are going to whip you, and with the each crack of the bat, each ball over the wall, you will become a little more virtuous, a little more holy.

You are Paul Gregory Byrd and tonight you will cleansed of sin by the Boston Red Sox.

Jose is looking forward to tonight’s game, but to be completely honest, he’s looking more forward to Game 5. That’s because, historically, Game 5 is the one where Kenny Lofton dislocates his shoulder.

For similar reasons, Jose is very optimistic about Tim Wakefield’s start tonight. Red Sox pitchers with blown out pitching shoulders have an excellent postseason history against Cleveland.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.

Monday, October 15

ALCS Game 3: Less than Jake

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

1. By the time we got the rolls the game was over.

The game was not literally over by the time we got our rolls, but the tone had been set and a tone, once set, is nearly impossible to alter.

Game 2 of the ALCS was indeed lost, but it was not lost on the blustery field in the Fenway. It was not lost by Curt Euro, Manny Delcarmen, Javy Lopez or even Eric Gagne. No, it was lost in the far plusher confines of Burton’s Grill on Boylston Street. There, a quorum of Sons of Sam Horn members who were elite enough to secure coveted Game 2 tickets had convened to ingest and imbibe, to add layers of buttery insulation for the long, cold night ahead.

Our waitress, a congenial 20-something, with short black hair a button nose and a voice that was somewhere between a marshmallow dipped in honey and cotton candy laced with sweet but deadly lead acetate, came promptly and took our drink orders. So far so good. But much as Curt Euro’s first snappy curveball marked the high point of his evening, this would mark the high point of ours.

The drinks came out slowly, unevenly, like Doug Mirabelli going down the first base line, but without the groin injuries, but the rolls? Dear God, they took forever. 15 minutes no rolls, 30 minutes, no rolls, 40 minutes… rolls.

When they came they were good, warm and dripping with garlic butter, but it took so, so long for them to get there. And that established the zeitgeist of the evening, things would plod at a painfully slow pace, clearly going poorly. Then there would be a moment of competence, perhaps even excellence, followed, in the end, by bitter disappointment and copious complaint.

The dinner quickly became a metaphor for the game itself. If the slow rolls were Curt’s shaky start, the fact that five meals came out and five others did not would be analogous to his disasterous pitch to Jhonny Peralta. That would make Jose’s smooth buttery rib eye, Manny and Mikey’s back to back homers. (Note: Yes, Jose is trying to mention butter as many times as possible in a single KEY.)

Of course, that was followed by the waitress and manager telling us the other dishes would be out in a few minutes, which was a total lie, and was a lot like Manny D giving the lead away as soon as it was taken. Manny D’s double play ball to end the fifth was his solemn vow of competence, and his walk to start the sixth was his cruel reneging.

Then as it crept painfully close to game time and the remaining dishes still hadn’t come, the manager assured us there was “plenty of time left.” And there was, in the sense that the Red Sox still had plenty of arms in the bullpen after Papelbon completed two innings.

So the dinner and the game were analogous, but they were decidedly not the same. Which was worse? A comparison.

· Managers
Ballgame: Maybe everything that Tito tried didn’t work out, but every decision was defensible.

Burton’s: The Burton’s manager (note: Jose will call her Gidget, to protect her anonymity) lied to us about the problem, then lied some more. Then when she was done with that she lied just a little more. It was like watching a Rick Pitino press conference, but without the snappy suit. Jose would have been happier if she’d just explained the five missing entrees away by stating that not serving them was a “Manager’s Decision.”

Seriously, she was the worst manager in the Fenway not named Grady since Butch Hobson.
Edge: Ballgame


Burton's: Comped us (note: after Jose was a jerk about it) for all the booze and the five missing entrees. Ergo, Jose got a rib eye for $15. He tried to pay more since his food game sort of on time, but the other SoSHers wouldn’t let him.

Ballgame: The Red Sox got none of Eric Gagne’s salary back

Edge: Burton’s

· Kapows
Ballgame: Manny and Mikey crush balls in losing effort.

Burton’s: Actual Sam Horn visits table and says “Kapow.”

Edge: Ballgame

So there you have it, despite not getting any discount for the hideous 11th, the ball game was analogous to the dinner yet slightly better. On the other hand, no one got sick from the food, which is more than Jose can say about the top of the 11th.

2. This would be the part of the KEYS where Jose would typically write a 200 plus line epic poem about the opposing team’s starting pitcher. Unfortunately, Jose has found very few epics with characters named Jake in them. Achilles, Agamemnon, Gilgamesh, Faust, Aeneas, these are the sorts of names that show up in epics. There are precious few Jakes.

No, for Jake we are left with no choices beyond quipping about him carting a python to the mound named Damien and throwing it on Julio Lugo after knocking the shortstop unconscious with a fastball high and tight, or getting all biblical and talking about Jacob’s Ladder.

Since Jake Westbrook is known for being more deceptive than powerful on the mound (note: Jose is pretty sure he has heard about him wearing goatskins on his hands to trick hitters into thinking they are facing his much more formidable Esau Westbrook) the ladder seems like the way to go.

Jacob’s ladder is, of course, the ladder described in the Book of Genesis (28:11-19), which Jacob envisioned in a dream and purportedly led to heaven.

While this ladder is said to be in Bethel, named for the former Patriot’s receiver and now in the area of the Palestinian town of Beitin, modern archeologists have failed to locate the ladder.

Jose’s been thinking about it, and he thinks it’s one of those “hidden in plain sight” deals. So he is pretty sure that Jacob’s ladder is the ladder on the Green Monster at Fenway. It makes perfect sense. The ladder used to serve a clear purpose, getting atop the Monster to collect balls hit into the screen, but now that there are seats there, what purpose does it serve? None. None, except climbing to heaven, that is.

You just watch, when Jake is getting shelled tonight he is going to flee and climb up that ladder away from menacing sluggers and into heaven’s warm embrace. Then we will be sorry.

Wait, the game’s in Cleveland? Never mind, he’s screwed.

3. In today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, still the coolest newspaper name in America, the big story seem to be not what the Indians will do this evening, but what the midges will do.

In addition to an article interviewing scientists at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (note: apparently they have museums now in Cleveland) about the prospect of a return of the insects, the Plain Dealer also offers a cutout midge mask that fans can wear to the stadium. While the prospect of 40,000 people wearing midge masks is certainly more appealing that the prospect of having to gaze on the visages of 40,000 actual Clevelanders, Jose wonders if Cleveland isn’t relying a little too heavily on insect infestation? Sure, a swarm of tiny winged insects is more effective at closing games than Joe Borowski, but is that really where a fan wants to place his confidence?

The case for renewed DDT use?

For starters, Mr. Matsu is unlikely to be bothered by midges. Jose has been in Japan when they have cicadas and based on that knowledge, he suspects that any insect shorter than two inches long and quieter than 120 decibels is unlikely to disturb the Japanese righty. Similarly, Jonathon Papelbon is from the freaking bayou, he can handle his insects, and if not, the beer case over his head will protect him. Second, Julian Tavarez seems like the sort of guy who would eat a whole plate of the things if you dared him to (note: please someone dare him to). Third, when Tim Wakefield pitches tomorrow night, his knuckleball will be completely camouflaged by the slow moving, fluttering insects. How will they know if their swinging at a ball or a midge? They can’t it’s impossible.

So please good people of Cleveland, rely on your insects, but remember relying on insects to win ballgames is like relying on Ant-Man to foil a crime. It’s better than nothing, but just as Batman is better than Ant-man, bats are far better guarantees of victory than bugs.

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