May 27, 2011
Friday 5: Jose Melendez
But let’s not kid ourselves. No one knew who Bill Veeck was until 1947 when he signed Larry Doby…the first African-American to play in the American League.
Sure, Veeck went on to mastermind plenty of baseball’s best publicity stunts…sending a midget to bat in 1951, implementing the “exploding scoreboard at Comiskey Park and, of course, 1979’s Disco Demolition Night. Melendez has already come up with one stunt and, frankly, it is a winner.
This past April, he named Jose Canseco manager of the Yuma Scorpions and, recently, I had the chance to talk with the ambitious general manager.
HOVG: Alright, I’ve gotta start by asking the obvious...how does one get Jose Canseco to come play for and manage his baseball team, much less, get in touch with the former MVP and best selling author?
MELENDEZ: Actually, I have been a huge fan of Jose Canseco my whole life. I grew up watching the (Oakland) A’s and I am still a die hard fan of the team. Canseco always interested me in helping him get back to the game he loves. I feel he has lots to offer. My older brother is the one that actually found his contact information and we worked diligently in getting him to Laredo (Texas) in 2010. In 2011, we came onboard with the Yuma scorpions.
HOVG: Not too long ago, Canseco took to Twitter looking for someone to help him put together a reality show about the Yuma Scorpions. What is the latest?
MELENDEZ: I feel that a reality show depicting the return of the Canseco brothers is something that will be a great success on TV. There are so many interesting factors both bring to the table and the public will be fascinated about how they really are.
HOVG: Is the reality show all part of your plan to bring “Hollywood to Yuma”? I read about some of your plans online...what other ideas are you kicking around?
MELENDEZ: We plan on bringing a lot of celebrities (to Yuma) this season. We are in talks with many celebrities to make appearances and put on a good show for the people of Yuma. It will be fun.
HOVG: I also read a report that said that you’ve invited former Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez to join the Scorpions. Where does that stand...have you made any progress?
MELENDEZ: We have extended invitations to a lot of prominent (former) Major Leaguers. We hope things go our way and they agree to come.
HOVG: What’s on the horizon? What can we expect to see you pull out of your bag of tricks next?
MELENDEZ: I always like to create a buzz and now with great ownership (Diamond Sports) where they push creativity. I feel this will be an amazing season and something to really look forward to. All I can say is, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Jose Melendez spent the past six years with the Laredo (Texas) Broncos, where he took home the United League's Executive of the Year three times. His current team, the Yuma Scorpions, kicked off their season the past Tuesday by splitting a double-header against the Calgary Vipers.