Ballpark acoustics need a touch of reality – I’m here to help.
Justin Turner, a reserve infielder for the New York Mets, uses the now-ubiquitous summer pop anthem “Call Me Maybe” as his “walk-up” music; you know, the song that plays as hitters approach the plate. He did this because it’s catchy and because it’s funny for a major league ballplayer to use a teenage girl’s anthem as his personal tune.
I say, enough is enough. Walk-up songs are almost always chosen by the players themselves, but I think it’s time for that to change. We need something a little fresher echoing through the speakers at our nation’s ballparks. We need a little truth.
So I present to you: If Walk-Up Songs Were Honest.
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski
The song he should use: “Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me, I’m Gonna Eat Some Worms” – Various Artists
Lyrics: Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
Guess I’ll go eat worms,
Long, thin, slimy ones; Short, fat, juicy ones,
Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy wuzzy worms.
This classic children’s song aptly describes the feelings many have for the, er, eccentric White Sox backstop. Even his former manager, Ozzie Guillen, had this to say about while he was still his boss: “If you play against A.J., you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.” Former Giants skipper Felipe Alou, who had Pierzynski for just one season in San Francisco, was once asked if A.J. was a more offensive-minded or defensive-minded catcher. His response? “A.J. offends everybody.”
Earlier this season, in a Sports Illustrated player poll, 34% of those surveyed named him as the most hated player in baseball – winning (losing?) the honor in a landslide over Chase Utley and Carlos Zambrano, among others. He’s also a strange person altogether – and if I had to bet my life on one big-leaguer having eaten worms before, it’d be between Pierzynski and Miguel Cabrera (because, you know, some high-end tequilas have worms at the bottom of the bottle). But more on him later.
First Baseman: Prince Fielder
The song he should use: “Vegetables” – The Beach Boys
Lyrics: I’m gonna chow down my vegetables
I love you most of all
My favorite vegetable
If you brought a big brown bag of them home
I’d jump up and down and hope you’d toss me a carrot
At his introductory press conference in Detroit this past January, Prince Fielder claimed that he was no longer, in fact, a vegetarian. Allegedly, he first became a vegetarian in late 2007 after reading the book “Skinny B****” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. (No. I did not make that up.) However, after nearly four years as baseball’s most prominent herbivore, Fielder gave up the ghost…
But I, for one, am calling “bull” on his latest revelation. I think he recanted his vegetarianism publicly because of all the snide comments he received from opposing players. This is a classic case of trying to throw everyone off the scent – the delicious scent of deep fried carrots and the 5 pounds of bread and pasta he obviously consumes on a daily basis. We’re all onto you, Prince. Classic diversionary tactics don’t fool me.
Second Baseman: Dustin Pedroia
The song he should use: “Short People” – Randy Newman
Lyrics: They got little baby legs
That stand so low
You got to pick em up
Just to say hello
They got little cars
That go beep, beep, beep
They got little voices
Goin’ peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They’re gonna get you every time
Well, I don’t want no short people
Don’t want no short people
Don’t want no short people
First of all: how the hell did Randy Newman get away with singing this song? For the love of Pete, read the lyrics. It seems as though he’s attempted to write the soundtrack to every midget’s suicide attempt. Obviously, it’s a joke… Right?
By all accounts, Dustin Pedroia comes to the ballpark every day and prepares like it’s the last baseball game he is ever going to play. As much as everyone outside New England despises the Red Sox, there’s no reason to dislike their 5’5 second baseman, because he a) plays hard every single day b) earns every penny he’s paid and c) overcame serious doubters at every level on his way to the big leagues. A guy like that must have some intense inner drive – hearing this Randy Newman tune on his way to the plate would stoke the inner fire even more.
Third Baseman: Miguel Cabrera
The song he should use: “Things I Used to Do” – Ike Turner
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzcF-0_LwZU (It’s a cover, but it will do)
Lyrics: Things that I used to do
Never do them no more baby
Things that I used to do
I ain’t never gonna do them no more
Reading the lyrics and listening to the song, it sounds a lot like what a known wife-beater would say to his lady in a pathetic, groveling attempt to reconcile and keep the abusive, disgusting relationship going. Turner wasn’t exercising creative license – as he said himself in a 1985 interview: “Yeah I hit (Tina Turner), but I didn’t hit her more than the average guy beats his wife…If she says I abused her, maybe I did.”
I’m not sure what sort of “average guys” Ike was hanging out with in his free time, but one of them wasn’t Miguel Cabrera, if only because he was only 2 years old in 1985.But Miguel and Ike would’ve been mighty fine friends – after a night of boozing, you just have to let off some steam, am I right? Cabrera is considered one of the purest hitters in baseball, and Turner, in his prime, was one of the finest blues and rock guitarists alive. I’ll stop the parallels, now. I think you all see the picture I am painting here.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter
The song he should use: “Autumn in New York” – Various Artists (I prefer the Sinatra version)
Lyrics: Autumn in New York,why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York,it spells the thrill of first-nighting.
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel;
they’re making me feel: I’m home.
It’s autumn in New York that brings the promise of new love.
First, autumn is when the World Series happens, and Derek Jeter has five rings. Secondly, the line “glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel” sounds a lot like a description of Yankee Stadium to me. And the whole “promise of new love” thing? Come on, the guy’s been a bachelor his entire career. He’s dated, like, seven of Maxim’s 100 Hottest Women. SEVEN! How is this not his walk-up song? It’s so perfect, I’m forgoing the second paragraph defending the choice. It’s perfect. Do not dispute this.
Left Field: Matt Holliday
The song he should use: “One Big Holiday” by My Morning Jacket
Lyrics: Wakin up feelin good and limber
When the telephone it ring
Was a bad man from California
Telling of a stone he’d bring
And of better days
From this town, we’d escape
This one ought to be Holliday’s song because of all the peripheral reasons rather than just the song lyrics. First of all, Holliday stands at 6’4, 235, so he literally is one big Holliday (Get it? Damn, I’m clever). He doesn’t just stand tall, either – his forehead is the size of a Cadillac. Also, the opening drum – guitar arpeggio riff is one of my favorites, always good for getting me fired up.
Lyrically, Billy Beane was once a “bad man from California” to Holliday, trading for him and forcing him to play in the hellish gulag known as Oakland-Alameda county stadium for more than half a season. He escaped from northern California to the lush pastures of St. Louis, where he spends his days waxing his noggin and his evenings crushing bombs over the Arch.
Center Field: Mike Trout
The song he should use: “Awesome” by XV
Lyrics: Ay, I’m awesome,
every time I lay it down I think that I kill ’em,
play possum Death proof, ride with Rosario Dawson
Tell ’em open wide when they see how I’m flossing, ching!
Cooler than a peppermint, Wayne’s World excellent
I know the song because it’s on the soundtrack of NBA 2K12, not because I enjoy the self-aggrandizing, narcissistic slop that most hip-hop has devolved into. That said, if I were Mike Trout, 20 year old phenom of the Los Angeles Angels, I’d blast this song every time I came to the plate. Why? Because it contains references I can relate to, such as:
- The TV show Full House
- The movie “Knocked Up” (“You just a doorman, doorman”)
- The Incredible Hulk
- The line: “I’m the new Santa”
- And also, the insanely shallow, solipsistic drivel found in this line: “Boom, where I come from is irrelevant / ‘Cause my glory is all that I revel in”
But if you’re Trout, why not just roll with it? He can’t even legally drink yet, but he’s in The Show batting .348/.403/.558 with 10 home runs and 26 steals through 61 games. It’s just… stupid, how good he is. He might as well turn heel and become ‘The Punk’, openly flaunting his excellence and “work ethic harder than a Mexican” (another quote from the song). Wait, what? Maybe he shouldn’t…
Right Field: Bryce Harper
The song he should use: “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel
Lyrics: Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,
Here I am stuck in the middle with you
A couple of weeks ago, while on a road trip to Canada, Bryce Harper was asked by a member of the Toronto media if he would indulge in a postgame beer or two with his teammates, since he is of legal drinking age in the Great White North. Harper, who is (apparently) Mormon and follows a strict code of abstinence regarding any stimulants, intoxicants or proper grammatical skills, responded indignantly, saying, “That’s a clown question, bro.”
Harper has been playing a lot of center field lately, so he has, indeed, been stuck in the middle… of the outfield. And the guy who would typically occupy right field, the injured Jayson Werth, has a contract that is somewhat of a joke… at more than $18 million per season, despite mediocre abilities. And Rick Ankiel, who platoons in left, sure did look like a clown back when he was a pitcher and couldn’t throw the ball within ten feet of home plate. Yes. Got all the mileage I could out of this one. Moving along…
Designated Hitter: Delmon Young
The song he should use: Anything by the classical composer Richard Wagner
Lyrics: Schon um die Linde war es voll
und alles tanzte schon wie toll.
Juchheisa! Heisa! He!
Translated lyrics: All I do when I write songs
Is trace swastikas on sheet music
My friend Adolf likes it! Hooray!
About a month ago, Delmon Young was arrested at approximately 3 A.M. in New York City after screaming anti-Jewish slurs at a man in a yarmulke panhandling for change. For this stupid and senseless act, Young was suspended seven games (and still had the nerve to appeal the suspension to baseball’s commissioner, Bud Selig, who happens to be Jewish). Richard Wagner was a famous classical composer, known almost as much for his long, arching operas as he was for his virulent anti-Semitism – meaning his work would be a perfect backdrop to Delmon’s approach to the batter’s box.
Among qualified batters, Young also sees the fewest pitches per at-bat (3.24) in the major leagues, and in fact, he’s ranked in the bottom 20 of this category three of the past four seasons. This means his at bats are brief – he commonly swings at the first pitch. How funny would it be if everyone in the ballpark were made to listen to a 9-minute opera piece as intro music, only to have Young pop out to the third baseman on the first pitch? It’d be humorous, and the pace of play would hardly be affected. Let’s make it happen, Comerica Park Stadium D.J.
And last, but certainly not least…
Pitcher: Cole Hamels
The song he should use: B****, Hold My Ponytail by B. Scott
Lyrics: B****, hold my ponytail,
B****, hold my ponytail,
B****, hold my ponytail,
B****, hold my ponytail.
Hamels is in love with his long, lovely locks. But I imagine they get in the way when he goes to the plate. If he just pulled it back into a pony, he’d improve that .170 career average of his. Besides, as soon as this convoluted piece of audio hits the ears of the pitcher and the defenders behind him, they’ll be too distracted to make a play on the ball anyway. I listened to this song once, straight through, and immediately took a shower and didn’t return to the computer for 25-35 minutes. It’s a powerfully disturbing song – if Hamels learns to use it to his advantage, he’ll be hitting .300 in no time.
BreakTheHuddle is a fan of the Twins, Timberwolves and the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers He welcomes your questions, concerns and suggestions for other “honest” walk-up songs. Reach him at BreakTheHuddle@gmail.com, @BreakTheHuddle on Twitter or leave a comment below!
Filed under: MLB | Tagged: AJ Pierzynski, baseball, Bryce Harper, Clown question, Delmon Young, Delmon Young Anti-Semite, Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Faux Hawk, Matt Holliday, Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Cabrera domestic assault, Mike Trout, Prince Fielder, Prince Fielder is fat, walk-up music |