I learned something last week that read like a baseball epiphany - "The Humpty Dance" does not improve your eye at the plate. Reading about Michael Cuddyer's switcheroo on his plate entrance music got me thinking about the countless other rejected songs over the years by stars and, more likely, platoon players looking for the right tune to propel them to stardom. Surprisingly, I'm not the only one who has wasted more than a nanosecond on this subject. ESPN's now defunct Page 3 actually investigated this topic in 2004, unearthing a plethora of batter's box beats from each team's sound crew. Particularly enlightening is the fact that Manny Ramirez changes his music daily and even during the game.
If baseball is truly about the fans, couldn’t the fans have a say in the music that’s piped into their ears every at-bat and pitching change? This strikes me as an untapped realm of the fan experience, a gimmick that may hold the key to filling the outfield stands at a Marlins game. What if we, the people, got to choose the 5 second ditties that amused us as a batter strolled into the batter’s box? Civic pride would swell as fans formed a new musical bond with their players. To that end, Ricky, my Twins-partner-in-fandom-since-birth, assisted me in brainstorming the most appropriate entrance music for your 2007 Minnesota Twins. Of course, these are subject to change once a player endures a slump.
Johan Santana: “You’re the Best” – Joe Esposito. Just as Danny LaRusso was the best around, so to is Johan with his crane-kick changeup and sweep the leg fastball.
Joe Mauer: “Betcha By Golly Wow” – Prince. Ricky sums it up best. “Not only is Prince a fellow Minnesotan, but Joe's the kind of guy who would say 'betcha by golly wow’ to describe his inevitable 40-game hitting streak.”
Justin Morneau: He's the reigning MVP, so maybe he gets to pick his own song, but a strong recommendation would be “Canada’s Really Big” – The Arrogant Worms. To quote from the song, “So stand up and be proud and sing out very loud / We stand out from the crowd cuz Canada's really big.”
Torii Hunter: “Spydermann” – Another Bad Creation. A blast from the past from the East Coast Family to remind us of our superhero prowling centerfield.
Francisco Liriano: “I’ve Got My Finger Crossed” – Louis Armstrong. Armstrong speaks for every Twins fan hoping and praying Liriano dominates again.
Joe Nathan: “Closing Time” – Semisonic. There’s plenty that would work here, but this seemed most apropos.
Michael Cuddyer: “Breaking Out” – Santana. Clearly his potential is catching up with him. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
Matt Garza: “Patience” – Guns N Roses. ‘Nuff said.
Boof Bonser: “Boof Baf” – Fugees. You don’t find too many people named Boof and you don’t find too many songs named after him. Symbiosis at its finest. I’d even recommend the song.
Ramon Ortiz: “Steal My Sunshine” – Len. All signs point to Baby Pedro being a Free Agent steal.
Carlos Silva: “Sadeness (Pt. 1)” – Enigma. The one with the creepy monks chanting over electronic beats. Hopefully it’s an incantation that cures Silva’s inconsistency once and for all.
Sidney Ponson: “Mr. Big Stuff” – Jean Knight. A tasteless, yet easy and fun jab at Sidney’s weight issues.
Jesse Crain: “Insane in the Membrane” – Cypress Hill. Just to scream at the chorus “Insane in the Crain!” Could spark a new line of parking lot t-shirts.
Pat Neshek: “Yellow Submarine” – Beatles. A nod to his unique delivery.
Glen Perkins: “Home Sweet Home” – Motley Crüe. A shout out to the hometown boy.
Juan Rincon: “Escapar” – Enrique Iglesias. A Latin tune for all the jams he extricates the team from.
Matt Guerrier: “Que Onda Guero” – Beck. Guero and Guerrier appear to share a word derivation. Plus it’s a good song.
Dennys Reyes: “Lefty” – Pushmonkey. It’s got a high rock intensity that our reliable lefty reliever would thrive on.
Mike Redmond: “Dance Naked” – John Mellencamp. His proclivity for batting practice in the buff suggests he performs a dance routine in the clubhouse as well. The inside joke would certainly bust up players in the dugout every Redmond at-bat.
Jason Bartlett: “Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year” – Fall Out Boy. Yeah, yeah, he’s technically in his 3rd season, but you get the idea. The sooner that question is answered, the better.
Nick Punto: “My Shorty” – Aaron Carter. Not to describe Nick’s significant other, but his relative small stature. And the chorus resonates with his overall effect on the team as a glue guy.
Luis Rodriguez: “Hot Hot Hot” – Buster Poindexter. I don’t know why, but this sounds like a song Luis might actually pick on his own.
Jason Kubel: “Hell’s Bells” – AC/DC. The obvious association coupled with the requirement that AC/DC be incorporated into every American sporting event in some fashion. Trevor Hoffman shouldn’t have exclusive use of this one.
Jason Tyner: “Chariots of Fire” – Vangelis. As inspiration to hit that first homer.
Rondell White: “Remember the Time” – Michael Jackson. Sing with me – “Do you remember the time? / He used to hit .300. Do you remember the time? / He used to have a power stroke.”
Jeff Cirillo: “Ramblin’ Man” – Allman Brothers. A journeyman’s song. I suppose any Journey song would work just as well here. In fact, I’m vetoing myself in favor of “Any Way You Want It.” Yeah, I feel better about this.
Glenn Williams: “Down Under” – Men at Work. A no-brainer for everyone’s favorite Aussie.
Lew Ford: “Like A Rock” – Bob Seger. Though he’s not build Ford tough these days, I still buy Lew’s product.
Scott Baker: “Lost in the Shuffle” – Charlie Wood. His career’s theme music.
Alejandro Machado: “5-second Rule” – Funky Mama. Yes it’s a children’s song. No, not by Raffi. But it connects his Rule 5 status with the idea that if the Twins don’t want Machado, let him go. He’s been “on the ground” for 378,000,000 seconds and counting.
For whatever reason, nothing sprang to mind for the Dominican infield duo of Casilla and Castillo, though just saying their names like that just now triggered Menudo for some reason. (Now this has truly crossed some of my wires upstairs). If you have better suggestions, let's hear them. For now, I'm going to memorize the lyrics to "Boof Baf."