This is a goofy little idea I’ve had in my head for a couple of days, and it looks like today is the day to try it out. I felt like it might be fun to look at the roster of American League starters for tonight’s games and try to pick out the perfect at-bat song for that pitcher if he were in the National League and had to put on a helmet at the bottom of the order. Odds are, this will be an excellent argument for why we need to retain the Designated Hitter in the AL.
KC Royals vs. Oakland A’s
KC: Brian Bannister – Bannister experienced his greatest pro success during his minor-league stints in the Mets system. The Class A Brooklyn Cyclones had Brian Bannister Bobblehead night, and retired his number in 2006. He is also very likely to give up some monster hits to wunderkind Jack Cust tonight, so Brian’s song is the Scorpions’ classic Rock Me Like A Hurricane.
Oakland: Joe Kennedy – Joe is just now beginning to recover from his difficult stint in Colorado pitching for the Rockies. Like most hurlers, he immediately dropped from good to shaky the instant he hung up his uniform in his Coors Field locker. Now that he’s escaped to Oakland, he probably never wants to see a purple peak again as long as he lives. So his at-bat music is Voodoo Child (Slight Return), and he invites you all to sing along to the first line: “I stand up next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand”.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore: Daniel Cabrera – Daniel gets by on three big pitches: his fastball, his curve, and his changeup. Since there is very little else to say about him, his song is the Saturday morning classic Three Is A Magic Number, as performed by Blind Melon.
Toronto: Jesse Litsch – Neither CBS Sportsline or Baseball Prospectus even has an image to go with their stats for this Unknown player, so we immortalize him now with the rousing chorus of Who Are You, from Pete Townshend and the boys.
New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox
Yankees: Mike Mussina – Moose got his degree in Economics from Stanford University in only three 1/2 years, and will soon share the dugout with a certain gun-for-hire. His song is Elton John’s Rocket Man.
White Sox: John Danks – When Danks was traded from his home-state Rangers to the southsiders, one of the other pitchers in the deal was Jacob Rasner, which makes me think of Trent Reznor. In honor of Crash Davis’ advice to rookie pitcher Nuke LaLoosh (“Don’t think, meat!”), Danks will swing the bat to the sounds of Nine Inch Nails’ Head Like A Hole.
Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Indians
Twins: Ramon Ortiz – Ramon sports the middle name Diogenes. There are a few famous ancient fellows named Diogenes, but Diogenes of Sinope was the most interesting character. DoS is somewhat reminiscent of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, so Ramon will step to the plate hearing Damage from ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers.
Cleveland: Paul Byrd – People think Paul looks like TV’s Frasier, so he enters to Kelsey Grammer singing Tossed Salad & Scrambled Eggs from the show’s soundtrack.
Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox
Detroit: Justin Verlander – If the pitching phenom had to come up to bat two to three times a game while he was eating innings, nobody but nobody would want to see him swinging free. Just keep that arm healthy and tiptoe gingerly toward first base. Anything but a bunt would be sacrilege. Snoop says Drop It Like It’s Hot.
Boston: Tim Wakefield – For a practitioner of the knuckleball with occasional control problems, nothing fits like Rancid’s White Knuckle Ride.
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Texas: Brandon McCarthy – McCarthy was traded from the contending White Sox to the Rangers, where pitching is always lacking. The change in fortunes surely has Brandon feeling like he’s been dropped off a cliff. Also, he was part of the trade that brought Danks to the White Sox, so we’re sticking with NIN here – Down In It.
Tampa: James Shields – James plays in Tropicana Field, every young player’s field of nightmares. Sure, you get a chance to play early in your career, but the yearly routine of losing big has to wear on a guy. James is feelin’ the Linkin Park vs. Jay Z hit Numb/Encore right about now (as featured in the Miami Vice remake! Woo!)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Near Disneyland vs. Seattle Mariners
Angels: Kelvim Escobar – On August 15th of 2001, Kelvim took the mound on the same day as three other Venezuelan imports (Giovanni Carrara, Omar Daal, and Freddy Garcia). All four won, giving us one of those ridiculous stats that only Wikipedia and the population of Caracas could possibly find interesting. And in this game, he pitches against another of his countrymen, so he celebrates that nationalistic moment (and drives everyone crazy) by blasting It’s A Small World during his at-bats.
Seattle: Felix “King” Hernandez – The Mariners are trying to avoid putting too much pressure on the 21-year-old, and he doesn’t need to be getting geeked up about at-bats when he has a game to pitch, so the easygoing sounds of Truckin’ from the Grateful Dead will lead him to the plate. Bonus points – Felix’s dad owns a trucking company in Venezuela.
There’s just one more I wanted to throw out there, even though he’s not pitching tonight:
Royals: Zack Greinke – He’s depressed, and he doesn’t much care for baseball, so Zack’s theme song is from Garbage: I’m Only Happy When It Rains.
We’ll see how many of these come true during interleague play.