It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. The turning point of last night’s game came when David Ortiz huddled together his teammates and gave them an inspirational speech. Jose has the transcript.
Ortiz: This is our f’ing city.
Pedroia: No, this is St. Louis. I think we might be in trouble if we can’t start hitting.
Ortiz: “My parents always told me to stay away from trouble. When I moved away from them at a young age, I was fine because they taught me how to do everything right.”
Saltalamacchia: I get that you can stay away from trouble, but what about me? I just feel so useless.
Ortiz: Everybody has a responsibility in this game. Even the batboy.
Gomes: I’m gonna get up soon Papi, what should I do?
Ortiz: Swing hard all the time. That’s what I’ve done my whole life—hit.”
Saltalamacchia: But following up,if my responsibility is only as big as the bat boy’s, I’m thinking about giving up.
Ortiz: What happened to me should teach everybody that you should never give up on anybody.
Berry: Papi, I’m still kind of new here and I find you intimidating. Is it fair to say that you’re a little mean?
Ortiz: Some people think I'm mean, until they get to know me.
Nava: Are you a robot?
Ortiz :I’m very mechanical, so if I have one thing that’s going in the wrong direction when I’m hitting, it’s hard for me to get a hit.
Nava: So that’s a yes?
Ortiz: I just try to put a good swing on the ball. That's about it.
Drew: Do you ever hear voices? I might hear voices.
Ortiz: I can hear people screaming and wishing you the best.
Drew: Wishing ME the best?
Ortiz: Life is a challenge that you need. There's things in life that are going to throw you into the ground, but if you learn how to get up, that means you are not a quitter.”
Carp: So are you going to swing hard on this next at bat?
Ortiz: I just swing hard in case I hit it -- that's it
So you can see that it was more a Q&A than a pep talk but clearly it got the job done. (Note: All David Ortiz lines taken (out of context) from actual David Ortiz quotes. All comments by other members of the Red Sox are totally what they probably said.)
2. Jonny Gomes heroism last night lead Jose to inquire into his background a little bit in hopes of learning more about the man without an “h” before he caught the nation’s eye as a Devil Ray. Specifically, Jose was hoping to discover that Gomes was of hispanic heritage and that by pronouncing his name Gomes (note: rhymes with “gnomes”) instead of Gomes (note: rhymes with “no fez” --thank Ataturk!) he had somehow pulled a heel turn on his hispanic heritage and that might be fun to joke about. Ideally, Jose would have told a story about how when he was a kid, he and his friends had their own series of wrestling leagues (Middle East Wrestling, Ivory Coast Championship Wrestling, Southeast Asian World Class Wrestling, and so on) each of which had an elaborate cast of heroes, like the Fontaine Brothers, Tashu the Bloody Dragon and Cool Ultimatum and villains like Iran John, Soldier of Fortune and The Dean. Among the most malevolent of the villains was a one time heroic American Indian wrestler named Chief Brave Arrow. But the Chief turned on his fans and his people, rebranding himself as “Chif Braveiro” an anti-Indian bigot, who would march to the ring with a (note: imaginary) sign reading “Indians Suck.”
He was so evil.
So Jose was sort of imaging that maybe Gomes was that kind of villain turning on his heritage, not because Jose would approve of anyone turning his back on his heritage, but because, well, Jose isn’t stretched out and writing three KEYS for a third day in a row is kind of killing him.
Anyway, it turns out that Gomes is of Portuguese heritage, and Jose has no idea how the Portuguese pronounce Gomes. To him Portuguese sounds like Russians speaking Spanish.
But Jose does know a few things about the Portuguese, having visited Lisbon this summer and having spent a lot of time in and around New Bedford, a few of which might help explain Gomes heroic performance last night. For instance, kale soup is very popular with Portuguese-Americans and it is regularly marketed as a “super vegetable.” It seems like eating a super vegetable would help one hit the ball a long way.
Another useful fact is…
No, actually kale is all Jose’s got.
3. Jose understands that Cardinals fans must be furious at Coltan Wong for getting picked off to end Game 4 with Carlos Beltran at the plate, but Jose thinks they are failing to see the big picture.
Don’t they know that little bits of coltan are in every cell phone and that long horrific wars have been fought in Congo over who gets to control this guy?
People in St. Louis need to read a newspaper every once in a while.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.