Friday, April 1

Happy New Year--Let's Get Some Revenge

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

1. For three long years Jose has been in exile. Whether one spends it in the warm heart of Africa or the steamy thigh of the American South, exile is awful. No place is Boston but Boston. The worst part of loneliness is being alone. And starting today, the fourth year of exile begins, this year from our nation's capital, from the arrogant id of our national consciousness. There will be baseball played in Boston this year—good baseball—and once again Jose will not be there to see it, to smell it, to savor it, and possibly, just possibly to throw up in it.

But while Jose needs baseball, it does not follow that baseball needs Jose. The work of bat and ball, of pitch and catch, of sign and trade continues. It continues today. It continues better.
2. One year ago today, Jose fell victim to the most ingenious, vicious, dangerous April Fool’s joke he’s ever been a party to.
It was a big day for Jose—he had a bunch of job interviews lined up in Washington—so he woke up at the impossibly early hour of six in the morning. As is his custom, he started the day by checking his email. Prominent among the normal assortment of spam for dog-training products and federally subsidized scam universities was a message from his friend Jared reading:
“Major News…Please don’t freak.”
When someone advises you not to freak before telling you something, it is never a good sign. “Please don’t freak” has never been followed by “I won the lottery” or “ The Red Sox got bullpen help.” It is usually followed by a phrase like “I lost all our money at the track” or “I’m carrying Alex Rodriguez’s baby.” This case was no different.
Dear Jose,
First off, let me say that I know I’ve been distant and kind of an asshole this semester. I’m sorry; I’ve had a lot of things going on.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I’ve come to the difficult realization that I am wicked in love with you. I think I’ve picked up something from you to, and it’s time one of us is man enough to admit it.
Sorry to do this by email… but I don’t think I could get it out in person…
Jose’s initial, stunned reaction was “WHAT THE FUCK?”
But after a moment’s consideration, he was able to calm himself and develop a more measured reaction of “WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FUCK?”
He then repeated the sentence to himself for another 10 minutes while in the shower.
Finally, his careful reasoning led to a decision: The most likely explanation is that Jared is playing some sick joke. In which case the correct response is “Go fuck yourself.” If this interpretation and response is correct, Jose looks smart. The less likely, but still plausible, explanation was that Jared was crying out in pain, in which case “Go fuck yourself” would be a cruel taunt.
Jose decided to err on the side of caution, and assume it was true. He did not want his friend’s pain or worse on his hands. He wrote:
Not really sure what to make of this. Jose is 100% straight, so this is never going to happen, but Jose doesn’t see any reason why we can’t still be friends if you can handle it.”
Later that morning, Jose received a revelatory message:
“Ha! I got the same email from you. Someone must have hacked us! Check out the date.”
Jose was indeed the April fool. But that didn’t mean Jose’s decision was wrong. Yes, he looked like a fool, but he did the right thing—he believed what he was told, thereby ensuring that he avoided the worst-case scenario. There is a lesson there for Red Sox fans today.
We have been told by national media, local pundits and our own lyin’ mouths that the Red Sox are the best team in baseball this year, that they are the team to beat. That may be true, it may not, but Jose suggests we act like it is. If we assume it’s a lie and indeed it is, will we gain any satisfaction? No. We’ll be miserable the entire year. If we assume it’s true and it turns out to be a lie, at least we have today. At least we have opening day, when we can believe, hell when Nationals fans can believe, that we have the best team in baseball.
3. Of course, the story doesn’t end there. There is another lesson still to be learned.

Over the course of the morning, Jose told friends the story of his humiliation as he attempted to identify the perpetrator. One friend he called with vengeance in his heart responded, “I didn’t do it, but I wish I had. You know who that sounds like? Martha.”

Of course! Martha was a theatrical classmate of Jose’s who took comedy seriously. The previous year for April fools she had told her best friends that she was pregnant and didn’t know who the father was. Try doing that Chris Rock!

Jose waited for her inevitable taunting phone call, and he plotted. He seethed.

It came at 3PM, just minutes before he had a job interview.

“Hi Jose!” came her saccharine voice.

“Hey Martha” Jose responded coolly.

“How’s it going?”

“Lot of weird stuff going on,” Jose set the trap. “It’s chaotic here, and Jose got some really weird emails.”

“What kind of emails?”

“Ah Jose doesn’t want to talk about it,”

“Ooohhh…. Okay, well if you need to talk, you know you can trust me.”

“Well, Jose got this really strange email from Jared saying… well, saying that he’s”

“APRIL FOOLS!” she shrieked. “APRIL FOOLS!!!! I GOT YOU SO BAD!”

“Oh… Martha… you shouldn’t have done that,” Jose muttered.

“Whatever,” she responded. “I burned you.”

“You really, really shouldn’t have done that.”

“Yeah right, Jared’s not gay.”

“ Jose isn’t saying he is, but… well… you struck some kind of nerve. He’s really freaking out… and… well… Jose doesn’t know what’s going on, but this is going to take a long time to fix.”

“But… but it was just an April Fool’s joke,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean—“

“Well you did,” Jose snapped back.

“God, it was just supposed to be an April Fool’s joke. I didn’t think that—”

“APRIL FOOLS!!!” Jose snapped back. “You got Jose and Jose got you back.”

The lesson for the Red Sox here is, of course, as always, that revenge is immensely satisfying. And we have a lot of revenge to take this year.

Manny and Damon? Definitely need revenge.

The rest of that Tampa team? 2008 ALCS—revenge required.

The Angels? 2009 ALDS—you know what would help with that? Some vengeance.

The Yankees? They exist. That’s as good a reason for revenge as any.

So learn the lesson well men of Boston, and have a vengeful, vengeful New Year!!!
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.