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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008

At Bat Music

Jim Cryns on Sports

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  Can you name that tune? When your favorite Brewer comes to the plate at Miller Park, he's accompanied by a song for a few seconds before he steps into the batters box. Chances are you didn't realize a particular song was playing at the time. I imagine it helps get the player psyched-up for the at bat, a surge of musical adrenaline to help them approach the pitcher.

  The NBA can't really do it. First because there is so much music blaring there's no room for any more, secondly, because there's no opportunity. You can't hit one second of a song for Michael Redd who either shoots or passes to a teammate. The NFL can't really do much of this with the exception of playing the Rolling Stone's "Start Me Up" prior to each kickoff at Lambeau Field. This is something uniquely baseball.

  The songs can change for a hitter as often as every home stand. The player may ask media relations to make the switch or approach a member of the scoreboard team before a game. Sometimes a song is chosen in homage. Prince Fielder asked that the "Shaft" theme be played the day after the death of Issac Hayes. It's a nice way for the players to pay tribute.

  As of this last home-stand with the Nationals, here are the selections for some of the players:

  Rickie Weeks was into "Adrenaline Rush" by Twista. The way Weeks has played defensively as of late I would have thought "Clumsy" by Fergie would have been a more appropriate choice.

  J.J. Hardy prefers the dulcet tones of Moby and the selection "Flower." With the offensive success Hardy has been experiencing this season, he'd like it to last "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock.

  Gabe Kapler, in his early '30s, seems to dig DJ Krush's "Beyond Raging Waves." That's a little surprising to me. I figured Kapler for a Grateful Dead kind of guy.

  Prince Fielder had a couple of songs on his roster in addition to "Shaft." The Brewer's first baseman was into "Super Hyphie" by Keak Da Sneak, and "Blind To You" by Collie Budda. After Prince's altercation with Manny Parra in the dugout, "Piece Of Me" by Britney Spears may have been appropriate. Or how about "Not Ready To Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks?

  Corey Hart's song is probably the most memorable song to me by nature of its seeming out of place. Corey digs International "Harvester" by Craig Morgan. Personally, I don't see how that song can amp a player up for anything except a shower, but it seems to work for Corey. With his penchant for country and western songs, Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins leaves an indelible impression.

  Craig Counsell has and interesting song played as he approaches the plate. In stark contrast to Moby, Counsell has asked the team to play "All Along The Watchtower," by Jimi Hendrix. That selection is interesting to me for a couple of reasons: How Counsell is in a generation which can appreciate Hendrix, and it seems to me a song incongruous with baseball. That said, I'm not sure which songs can be linked to baseball with the exception of "Put me in Coach" by John Fogerty. Huey Lewis did and album titled Sports, but I don't think any of the songs were actually about sports. I imagine any song would inspire the 'War Face' of any player more than the organ music echoing throughout the stadium. Another reason I like Counsell's choice revolves around the fact it's the only song I know of all listed here.

  Mike Cameron gets it going to "My Hood" by Young Jeezy and "What You Know" by T.I., whoever that might be. Jason Kendall is into "Dig" by Mudvayne. Once again, lost on me.

  Ray Durham kicks dirt on his way to the plate to "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It" by Dem Franchise Boyz.

  Ryan Braun gets jiggy to "Go Getta" by Young Jeezy. No clue who that is, then again Braun was still in diapers when I last listened to contemporary music. After his agent gets his cut from Braun's big contract, maybe "What's Left Of Me" by Nick Lachey should be played. Or maybe "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five For Fighting.

  Bill Hall, with his mouth full of chew, approaches the plate to the musical-stylings of Bone Crusher's "Never Scared." Russell Branyan likes "Space Lord" by Monster Magnet. Who? He also likes "Hillbilly Deluxe" by Brooks and Dunn. Heard of them, couldn't name a song of theirs at gun-point.

  Lastly, Mike Rivera takes his warm-up swings to "Bring It On" by Daddy Yankee.

  Aleta Mercer, director of broadcasting for the Brewers say when a team returns from a road trip, three or four players will change their song.

  If it helps them perform better at the plate, I'd be willing to listen to a song from Celine Dion.

  What do you think should be over the sound system for each player?