Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Sound of Music

While the tradition has always been to celebrate the first full workout of Spring Training with a little ritual called “The Soundtrack of Life” (and a detailed explanation of which can be found here). Since sometimes life gets in the way of the best-laid plans, after a bit of a delay, I thought that Opening Day being just a few days away presented a nice opportunity to finally roll this out as the edges of the 25-man roster are finally reconciled.

If you’re not familiar with the concept (or didn’t feel like using the link above), simply take this as one man’s humble suggestions for what songs each Indian should bring with them to the plate or the mound down at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. If you’re interested in years past, here are the suggestions for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009…and, to my knowledge, none of them to date have been used by any player at any time.

In determining who was “worthy” of such thought and work, guys like Jamey Wright and the like don’t interest me in as much that I don’t think that they’ll make huge contributions for 2010 (or at least I hope they don’t) and as much as I'd like to drop some obvious Carlos Santana (the guitarist) reference in for a certain stud catcher, I’m going to keep this limited to guys that look to have a chance to break camp with the team and project as more than just organizational filler.

As always the names of the songs link to the songs, whether it be in YouTube format or something called iLike, which I was not aware of. Regardless, without further ado…I present the 2010 Soundtrack of Life:
Asdrubal Cabrera
“Swagga Like Us” – T.I. and Jay-Z
If there would be one word to describe the way that Asdrubal carries himself around the diamond, the basepaths, and the batter box – I would choose “swagger”, or it’s familial relation, “swagga”. With Asdrubal sitting at the top of the lineup, this little ditty from some hip-hop heavyweights would project some confidence for the team right off the bat…because some early leads would be nice this season, given the fragile state of the rotation.

Grady Sizemore
“I’ll Be Your Man” – The Black Keys
Go ahead, get all of the picture-related suggestions out of your system…“Centerfold” by J. Geils, “Photograph” by Def Leppard, and so on and so forth. For me, I’ll go with the band that (hopefully) reminds Grady that something cool and soulful can still emerge from the North Coast. With Patrick Carney laying down the beat and Dan Auerbach growling out the lyrics, this duo from Akron continues to set the standard for blues-rock. The fact that they’re the biggest band to emerge from Northeast Ohio since…Devo(?) is not something to focus on here. That would be the riff, oh…and the fact that this is the theme song to HBO’s series “Hung”.
See, you didn’t think I'd leave that one alone, did you?

“No Leaf Clover” – Metallica
As Choo calmly strides to the plate, about to inflict the damage that we’ve come to expect, an apropos line would be James Hetfield screaming that “then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel, it’s just a freight train coming your way”.
American League, don’t be fooled by the subdued demeanor of the Indians’ RF, just get ready for the “freight train coming your way”.

Travis Hafner
“No Easy Way Out” – Robert Tepper
In Rocky IV, one of the defining moments of the movie occurs as Rocky goes for a night drive after Apollo has been killed in the ring, with flashes of Drago killing Apollo and Drago yelling at the Rock, as the soundtrack screams in the background. Watching the montage, you can’t help but think that Rocky has some unfinished business in front of him as he’s destined to avenge the recent events that have shaped his life and perhaps his legacy.
Everybody knows this scene, right…so, why is this relevant?

If I may make a suggestion to someone with some skills in creating videos (perhaps if they were employed at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario all the better), a montage should be made for Hafner to be played before every at-bat based loosely upon that very scene in which he looks around Jacobs Field, as images of him grounding out weakly to the pitcher or slamming his bat down in disgust are interspersed and accompanied by the same song that ultimately drove Rocky to Russia to train.

When (or is it “if”) Pronk returns in all of his glory, we can talk about a Hafner montage with “Burning Heart” or “Hearts on Fire” in the background, but in Hafner’s current situation, we’re going with “No Easy Way Out”.

Jhonny Peralta
“September” – Earth, Wind and Fire
Way back in Fall of 2007 (if anyone can still remember those halcyon days), the best player for the Indians happened to be one Mr. Jhonny Peralta, when he had 5 doubles and 2 HR in the 11 Indians’ playoff games. His 8 RBI in the ALCS against Boston is likely to represent the high point of Jhonny’ career as an Indian as his phenomenal 2005 season at the age of 23 looks to be just a tease in the entire body of work. Yes, I know that all the games were in October, but is there a more fitting way to say goodbye to Jhonny and to the feelings of that 2007 season than to sing along to Earth, Wind, and Fire as they sing…
“Say do you remember…dancing in September…never was a cloudy day…”

Matt LaPorta
“Spaceman” – The Killers
With the introduction of the term “LaPortaisms” into our greater vocabulary, I thought that a nod to another…um, “quirky” MLB player was in order as homage to Bill “Spaceman” Lee could provide LaPorta’s walk-out music. With LaPorta providing fodder like “Is it bad that I’m dehydrated in one leg?” and “It comes naturally. I just have to think about it”, LaPorta’s…um, quirkiness harkens back to the days of Bill “Spaceman” Lee uncorking beauties like “The only rule I got is if you slide, get up”, leading to The Killers providing the accompaniment for LaPorta, a suggestion that he actually may be interested in.

Luis Valbuena
“Chaconne de M. Couperin” – Louis Couperin
Since the only time that Roman Numerals are used anymore are in the designation of the Super Bowl, maybe now would be a good time to explain again that the nickname evolution for Valbuenan goes that Luis V. begat Louie the Fifth, or in some instances, Louie the Slugger. With the introduction of the French monarchy to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, the walking music would almost have to be something that recalled the indulgent days of Versailles, even if those days would come some 650 years after the real King Louis V.

Russell Branyan
“Money for Nothing” – Dire Straits
Not sure much explanation is needed here, other than to say that I don’t think that this music is going to be heard too frequently at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario this season, hence the song selection.

Lou Marson
“Use Somebody” – Kings of Leon
With Carlos Santana’s defense not-quite-ready-for-primetime, it would be nice if the Indians could “Use Somebody”. You know that they could “Use Somebody” to be used as a bridge to fill in until Santana’s ultimate ascension to the team.
Wait for it - “Somebody like…Lou”

Michael Brantley
“Rebirth of Slick” – Digable Planets
With the service time issue still hanging over his head, has Mike Brantley ever projected more than a care in the world over whether this whole thing would take care itself? Seeing Brantley come up last season and handle himself similarly, is it time to assume that Brantley preternatural maturity just be a by-product that he’s “Cool Like Dat”?

Andy Marte
“Hanginaround” – Counting Crows
Want to know which of the current Indians pre-date Marte, who received his first AB with Cleveland on Opening Day of 2006?
4 – Sizemore, Peralta, Hafner, and Westbrook.
“I’ve been bummin’ around this old town for way, way, way, way too looooooooong.”

Trevor Crowe
“Far Behind” – Candlebox
Turn back the page to 1994 when, as an impressionable youth, I was happy to pin my hopes on any “Next Big Thing” that came along in the grunge genre (or anything that came close to it), buying into the long-term potential of bands like Silverchair, Bush, Collective Soul, and of course, Candlebox. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when a local station played Candlebox’s biggest hit, “Far Behind”. Hearing this remnant of the mid-1990s music scene, I found the song ill-suited for human ears and immediately embarrassed at the way that I could be so wrong about Candlebox, lo those many years ago. For whatever reason, this station kept the song in heavy rotation (yes, I know satellite radio and podcasts are the way to go) and every time that I heard the first few notes in the ensuing weeks, the song depressed me as it morphed into becoming emblematic of some of the misplaced hope and optimism of my youth.

Why is this relevant?
Trevor Crowe, the alleged “future lead-off hitter” whom Red Sox scouts once called “Ty Cobb” and who has since revealed himself to be…well, Trevor Crowe – he is my “Far Behind” of the Indians of the mid-to-late-2000s. That stretch of time when unreasonable hopes were pinned on lesser prospects because of draft placement and organizational hype is symbolized by one Trevor Crowe. The more I am reminded of this lesson in the context of the Indians and prospects, the better.
Just let me tell you about this Jason Kipnis kid…

Jake Westbrook
“Alive” – Pearl Jam
Want to know how many MLB pitchers have thrown more than the 34 2/3 innings that Westbrook has accumulated over the last two years?
562 MLB pitchers have thrown more innings than Westbrook (who ekes out Jason Davis’ two-year total by 2 outs), with 19 Indians among those 562, including Edward, seriously. Despite all this, Westbrook is still “Alive” and rumors of his demise look to be false as he is, by nearly all accounts, fully healthy and looks to be ready to contribute his middle-of-the-rotation production…albeit at the top-of-the-rotation.

Fausto Carmona
“Control” – Janet Jackson
Since it is tradition to include at least one song that appeared on the original “NBA Superstars” video, we’ll go with the song that signaled the dawn of a new day for Janet Jackson. Thus, not only is the time for the “dawn of a new day” overdue for the Faustastic One, and if the “Control” that he’s shown in Arizona is any indication, that day may finally be arriving.
Plus, “NBA Superstars”…Magic Johnson, how can you not like this?

Justin Masterson
“Come Find Yourself” – Fun Lovin’ Criminals
For the pitcher whose role (not roster spot) on the team would be the least defined going forward, a little self-evaluation may be in order. As much as I'd like to go with “Get In Where You Fit In” by Too $hort (on an album that I think I actually have somewhere), I’m going to guess that the son of a minister is Southwest Ohio is not a huge fan of Too $hort.

Dave Huff
“Plush” – Stone Temple Pilots
Not to go all Cliff Clavin here, but it’s…a…eh…little known fact that Dave Huff went to the same high school as Scott Weiland of STP and Velvet Revolver fame. While perhaps Huff could benefit from some Gaylord Perry “Vaseline”, I’m going with the classic STP anthem and “wait for tomorrow” on the potential of Huff in the rotation.

Mitch Talbot
Unleash the Fury scene from “Road Trip”
As much as I'd like to go with “Papered Up”, which is the song that Snoop Dogg performs in the movie “Old School” during Mitch-A-Palooza, I’m eschewing the song in the traditional sense here and going with just the intermittent strumming of Tom Green on a single guitar string, instructing the snake to “Unleash the Fury” on an unsuspecting rodent.

Aaron Laffey
“The Underdog” – Spoon
Those sad eyes, that baby face and his slight build almost cast Laffey as the role of the underdog, where he’s perpetually overlooked for something that is bigger, faster, and (hopefully) better. Heading into 2010, he seems to be filling that spot again as The Babyfaced Bulldog will start the season in the bullpen and while he may not stay there for long, guarantees have never come Laffey’s way with the Indians.

Chris Perez
“Black Betty” – Ram Jam
Yes, I know that the real theme song for “Eastbound and Down” is “Going Down” by Freddie King, but the closing credits of the pilot for the show has Kenny (um…Firetruckin’) Powers riding a jet ski to the beat and cymbals that set the tone for this classic. If CFP (that’s Chris…Firetruckin’ Perez) is going to endear himself to the 98.5 WNCX crowd that still looks forward to “Born to Run” at 5 PM every Friday (and really, who doesn’t despite the ironic lyrics being loved in Cleveland), then going with a rock anthem is the route to go. As much as I'd like to go with the extended version of The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane” because CFP went to the University of Miami, that still belongs to John Rocker – and I was sitting in the Mezz, watching him running maniacally out of the bullpen in his debut appearance to the adoring crowd, in what was possibly the greatest entrance I’ve ever seen. Additionally, let’s keep the Kenny Powers/John Rocker comparison to Chris Perez on the fictional side of the ledger.

Kerry Wood
“Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” – The Ramones
The day is coming (probably sometime in July) when the Indians are going to sit down with Wood and initiate the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation as the inevitable break-up is coming. It shouldn’t be a surprise and it shouldn’t be unexpected as the only questions that still remain are whether Wood will be healthy enough to trade and which NL Central team (not based in Chicago) will acquire him at the Trading Deadline to twist the knife in the open wound of Cubs’ fans everywhere.

Rafael Perez
“Fistful of Steel” – Rage Against the Machine
A long time ago in what feels like a galaxy far, far away, Rafael Perez made up the ½ of the famous bullpen combination of “Fist of Iron”/“Fist of Steel” with Rafael Betancourt. Legend had it that the bullpen boasted “one fist of iron, the other of steel / if the right one don’t get you then the left one will”. If anything can be gleaned from Spring Training (it usually can’t), Rafael Perez as the “Fist of Steel” may be making his way back to the North Coast. While that may constitute wishful thinking, a bullpen without that “Fist of Steel” may not be that much different than the ones since that nickname was bestowed on The Two Rafaels in 2007.

Tony Sipp
“On the Vista” – Blakroc
While Sipp’s long-term importance to the Indians’ bullpen is obvious as a potential back-end of the bullpen LHP, his actual effectiveness may be somewhere off in the future or, “On the Vista” if you will. Plus, working in as many tunes by The Black Keys (and this is their collaboration with Mos Def) is obviously on the agenda.

Joe Smith
Sidewinder – Avenged Sevenfold
Joe Smith is a sidearming RHP so….yeah, I don’t know that much about Joe Smith either.

Finally, with the news that Jeremy Sowers has been optioned off of the 40-man roster, it likely prevents Sowers stepping out to what will heretofore be known as the “Ryan Garko Memorial Song”, (and Garko was just waived by the Mariners). That song would be, of course, “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips.
Sowers, like Garko before him, could not hold on for one more day and, thus things did not go his way.

Little different feel to a Lazy Sunday this weekend, so enjoy the tunage above and sync up your iPods with the proper music listed so, if nothing else, you can make your own “walk-in” music for the players from the comfort of your home…or at least your mother’s basement.


Quick Draw said...

I forget about this every year and it's always such a pleasant surprise. Two things: 1) Grady has stepped to the plate with The Black Keys before, correct? So this could happen, and 2) A friend of mine knows something about Joe Smith. Specifically, he met Joe Smith's dad while tending bar in Perrysburg.

As the story goes, a few guys entered the bar to grab a beer and asked my friend if he could put the Tribe game on. My friend obliged but also asked if they needed a box of tissues in case they cried. Two of them laughed and told my friend that Patron #3 was Joe Smith's dad. The first Joe Smith to jump into my friend's head was the Cavs forward, so he laughed them off and probably threw in another minor dig at the Tribe. The elder Smith was irritated, but my friend he smoothed things over by buying him a couple beers. So there's that about Joe Smith.

P.S. How about the new Keys tune "Tighten Up" for Fausto?

coz said...

QD - Yeah, the last song Grady used last season was the Keys' "Your Touch"

He always seems to have awesome walk-up songs. Doors, Kings of Leon, Lenny K, etc.

I'm expecting either the same song, or something Pearl Jam from him this time around, don't know why.

I've laughingly thought of "Centerfold" before, but not b/c of the fiasco... but because his "angel" *is* a centerfold, lol.

Cy Slapnicka said...

its about time!

loved lou's suggestion.

Paul Cousineau said...

I should have consulted you before the Grady suggestion, I know...

That's a beauty that Joe Smith's dad is in a bar in Perrysburg taking heat about the Indians.

I'll wait for your more refined suggestions soon.

coz said...

LOL!! I know... I'm crazy and I know everyone knows it, lol.

I actually guessed correctly on the song he started last season with. KOL's "Crawl." The beginning of that song just screams "walk-up song."

I love your suggestion, actually. Anything Keys is fine by me.

My official guess for this season is either "The Fixer" or "Supersonic" from Pearl Jam.

Baltimoran said...

nice work pc, and congrats on your flyers, they looked good last night

if perez emerged to Black Betty, i would go Bannannas

Cy Slapnicka said...

pc, i don't know if i can even come up with a suggestion this year. a lot of these guys are so foreign to me, i can't even begin to think of songs.

that being said, the thought of westbrook pitching well this season and hearing the opening guitar riff from "alive" at the jake would be goose-bump inducing.

speaking of goose-bumps, i'd also love to see the hafner video. we need one more north coast snow storm so someone can film footage of hafner jogging down lake blvd with a yugo fishtailing behind him and standing triumphantly atop mcdonalds hill in euclid in response to the burning heart video.

csusi said...

andy marte's suggestion brought tears and laughter.

and im with baltimoran...perez coming out to that track would be money in the bank. so much so that i kinda want to email castrovince and see if he can pass the suggestion on to him.

csusi said...

MY GOSH! I just clicked the link for "black betty" just to give it a quick listen and the first thing i thought about was Ole John Boy coming in on his drum from the top row of the bleachers and playing with the song just to add to the awesomeness of the moment. just listen and picture the moment in your mind. beauty.

good grief we have to make this happen.

Cy Slapnicka said...

csusi, i agree. you'd think at this point, the polo shirt mafia would have a metric on how home crowd excitement impacts win totals.

and that would cause them to put someone in charge of making things like this happen.

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