A week or two ago, watching Houston fall to the Padres, I finally saw Trevor Hoffman’s grand entrance. As you all probably know, when Hoffman enters a game, the stadium PA plays AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.” At the Padres’ new ballpark, the song is accompanied by devilish flames licking Hoffman’s name on the big screen in left field.
And I have to admit that it was pretty cool. Sure, it’s overblown, and AC/DC is so . . . obvious? Cliched? But the crowd was into it, and as Hoffman walked through the outfield, he did seem tougher.
This got me to thinking about the music that’s played when hitters come to the plate at most ballparks these days. I used to agree with Luke (and probably most of the readers of this blog, who tend, it seems, towards traditionalism) that such displays had no place in the ballpark.
Then Magglio Ordonez happened. When Magglio–one of the best hitters ever to play in semi-obscurity–comes to the plate, the PA runs the marching chant of the Wicked Witch of the West’s palace guards, the Winkies: “Oh-Ee-Oh.” The crowd finishes the line, “Magg-lio.” It’s a low, rumbling sound, it makes wonderfully creative use of Magglio’s name, and if I were a pitcher, I’d be getting ready to back up third. At the Sox game a couple of weeks ago, the scoreboard announced that Ordonez had that morning been activated from the Disabled List, and the PA–with Magglio nowhere in sight–played his music. The crowd went wild.
So my coworker, Peter, and I started having a silly discussion about what we might have played when we came to bat, were we major league players. Peter hit upon what I think is the best possible idea: Dr. Octagon’s “I’m Destructive!” I kept dithering between the intro to Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and the intro to Cornershop’s “Sleep on the Left Side.” Or the horn intro to Gloria Jones’s “Tainted Love,” or Tom Wait’s “Black Wings,” or the Beastie Boys doing “Johnny Ryall.”
I also thought about a part of a live version of “Cypress Avenue” where Van Morrison shouts”Baby!” forty-five times in a row. If that won’t wear a pitcher out, I’ve got no hope. But I suppose if I were to be honest about my abilities, I’d probably play another Stevie Wonder song, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.”
And what for you?
Steve: The Magglio chant is pretty cool if a little overblown but it brings up an interesting issue. My boss, and no slouch in the trivia department, insists that the chant actually has words and they are… “All we owe…we owe…her.”
I keep telling him to put up or shutup with an internet link or Wizard of Oz fan site. So far he “has better things to do.” Still, if he’s right it ads an interesting dimension.
Steve: Shit. I forgot my song to enter the game. ZZ Top, “Just got Paid” if I was a batter and if a reliever, Willie Nelson’s “Time of the Preacher”
Jim: “Jimmy Mack,” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, despite the fact that I don’t go by Jimmy and my last name doesn’t start with Mc or Mac. Actually, if I were making the major-league minimum, I might go with They Might Be Giants’ “Minimum Wage.”
Jim: Better yet: Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim.” (Lyrics not linked because, after a quick search, I can’t find a page that doesn’t open a million pop-up ads and has the correct “its” instead of “it’s” in the first two lines of the song.)
Becky: I’m tempted by Psycho Killer by Talking Heads for batting (because I’d be a big slugger). For relieving I’d go for Right Now by Van Halen, and There She Goes by the La’s when I get pulled three pitches later (do we get to pick the music for when we get pulled?).
Toby: For Levi (who I’ve always called Leviticus), how about The Theme from Exodus or anything by Genesis.
If I was coming to the plate, I think “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (with the crowd changing the chant to “Bad, Bad Toby Brown” would be cool. But, since I would only want to play for my favorite team, the Pirates, there’s probably little chance of any crowd participation (unless we traveled back in time to about 1979).
Levi: Hell, Toby, if we’re making ourselves into big-league ballplayers, we might as well throw some time travel in, too.
I’m going back to October 1985 and rescuing Vince Coleman from that tarp-rolling machine.
Jason: Batting music: Opening intro to “Money” by Pink Floyd
Pitching Relief music: “Funeral Pyre” by The Jam
Dan: Walking in from bullpen: The intro track off Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (the one with Snoop talking over the sample vamp — “If that bitch can’t swim, she’s bound to driz-zown.”)
Batting: Handel’s “Messiah”
stacey: it’d be pretty awesome if i were in the majors. i’d have to go with P.U.N.K Girl by Heavenly . . . i’d be such a punk hitter. also, i am a girl.
Toby: I’ve met Stacey and I think “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar would be a better choice…. Levi, you lucky S.O.B. ….
Luke: I’d do the first few measures of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, but only if the stadium had enough bass to loosen people’s fillings. It’d be such a low rumble that the crowd wouldn’t even notice that music were being played, except for the screws coming out of their seats.
thatbob: If I was a pitcher, I’d probably be some kind of knuckle ball/submarine closer. So a little Theremin music would be cool – maybe from the Bernard Herrmann score for The Day The Earth Stood Still? Batting, maybe the exuberant opening riffs from Les Paul & Mary Ford’s “Tiger Rag”? Or would I need to be a Tiger for that?