It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE ALDS.
1. Jose is terrified of tonight’s game. Not a little scared. Not badly frightened.
Jose has never been so terrified by a game in his entire life. Not in 1986, not in 2003, not even in 2004.
Tonight. Tonight is more terrifying.
It’s not that Jose is afraid of losing. Jose knows how to handle a loss… with great bitterness and by taking it out on the people around him.
It’s not that Jose is afraid that a loss means that winter has arrived. Jose lives in the south now; winter never arrives. Not real winter anyway.
It’s not that Jose is afraid that this is the last time he’ll see Jason Bay, Jason Varitek or anyone else named Jason in a Red Sox uniform. There are plenty of other Jasons out there, and all of them except Jason Marquis are better than what’s left of Tek.
No, the reason Jose is terrified is that to survive, the Red Sox are going to have to win three straight elimination games against the Angels, and you know what that means.
When the Red Sox complete the comeback, history suggests that some poor soul on the Angels is going to die by his own hand.
Say whatever you want about the Yankees, but they know how to take a bone crushing, soul-destroying defeat, by being contemptible, whiny, but decidedly non-suicidal bitches. Good for them.
But the Angles? When the Angels lose three straight elimination games to the Sox, there’s always a chance that someone is going to take the name “Angels” a little too literally and is going to go for the quick path to the halo.
Jose just hopes that they have a good psychologist on staff.
2. Friday night started with such promise. As Jose drove to Raleigh to watch the game with members of the Triangle Red Sox Nation, he got regular updates on the Yankees collapse from Granny Melendez on the phone direct from Atlanta.
While Granny Melendez doesn’t have the finer points of baseball down and can’t always explain exactly what’s happening on the field, she can convey basic information such as the score and the inning in a pleasant and listenable way. In other words, she is a vastly superior broadcaster to Suzyn Waldman.
So as Jose drove, Granny Melendez informed him that the Twins had crept to a 2-1 lead and then a 3-1 lead. Jose even got her to say “Yankees Suck.” Admittedly, he tricked her.
“How about you give Jose a Yankees suck Granny Melendez?” Jose said.
“Yankees suck?” responded Granny Melendez, not sure that she had heard correctly.
“That’s the spirit, Yankees suck!” chimed in Jose.
“Oh, Granny Melendez, doesn’t like that phrase,” she replied in the third person as is Melendez family tradition. “She prefers Yankees stink.”
“Too late, Jose gets to quote you now.”
“Don’t do that.”
And yet here it is. Jose denied a request from his own grandmother. It’s not Jose’s fault, she should have said it was off the record.
3. No more jokes.
No more puns.
No more scoring zero runs.
When the anthem’s last note sounds
Red Sox need to bat around
No more KEYS to
No more games
No more Sox fans feeling shame
Since we’ve got the wild card
Clay Buchholz is throwing hard
No more losses
No much giving up runs to
Angles batters, not at all
Because they can’t take a ball
No more squanders
No more LOBs
No more doing crappy jobs
Of taking bases, driving runs
When something wicked this way comes.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE ALDS.