Oct 222008

During the NLCS we gave great attention to the musical “walk-up” match-ups between the Phillies and the Dodgers. I’m not going to rehash the key theme songs for players on the Phils. If you’re interested in a recap check out here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Considering I have no RTH counterpoint based in the Tampa area who would care to monitor any fair-balanced analysis I’d give to the Rays, I won’t get into much depth. I do think it’s important, however, that we preview some of the key musical offerings in this series and provide a place for a little baseball chatter. Here goes!

Everyone knows that a key battle will be between the Phils’ Chase Utley‘s walk-up theme, Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, and Rays’ Game 1 starter, Scott Kashmir. Whoever owns the song in the players’ head-to-head confrontations may own the series.

Rays’ outfielder Rocco Baldelli was always an easy guy to root for during the team’s sad-sack formative years. Along with leftfielder Carl Crawford, Baldelli was long a rare shining Ray of Hope. Plus he’s got a cool name and now he’s coming back from a rare, career-threatening disease. I’d never paid any attention to Baldelli’s walk-up music before this series. His rotation of Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love”, The James Gang‘s “Funk #49”, and Black Sabbath‘s “War Pigs” should be pitched to very carefully.

For baseball reasons alone I’m hoping that the Phils don’t have to see much of Cliff Floyd. During his long, injury-plagued NL career, he was a surefire Phillies Killer, sure to come up with a big hit or snare a ball headed over the leftfield wall. His intro music is Jeezy‘s “Put On”. KingEd played me some of that stuff last year. Yuck! We can pitch to this guy.

ALCS MVP Matt Garza seems like a cool enough guy, despite the lasting image my wife has embedded in my head, when she walked by the tv and said, “Eww! How much can he spit? Look at his tongue. He looks like a llama!” In his postgame interview after beating the Red Sox he made mention of listening to lots of hip-hop on his iPod. I like the title of his intro theme, “Hip-Hop Police”, by Chamillionaire. Watch it, Moms and Dads, Garza’s working blue!

The rest of the team’s key players have typically lame walk-up themes. To be honest, I’m not real familiar with some of the deep reserves on the Rays’ bench and bullpen. Some outfielder named Justin Ruggiano uses Jimi Hendrix‘s “Fire” and a pitcher named Jason Hammel uses The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”. I don’t recall these guys having much of an impact during the ALCS. I hope I’m not overlooking manager Joe Maddon‘s bench. Maddon may be the type to sit on these key walk-up themes until just the right moment.

I’ve got some research to do on Maddon. He likes to play up his Renaissance Man/Cool, Hip, and 45 persona. It’s highly engaging, but the grooves don’t lie! I heard him talking rock music after beating the BoSox the other night. He made mention of a cool band or two before settling on The Boss. That may tell me something. Stay tuned!


  31 Responses to “2008 World Series Rate-a-Record: Preview of Rays vs Phils”

  1. BigSteve

    Great Looks all around in that Cream video. Love the fur hat. I always thought the long perm with the mustache was one of Clapton’s best Looks. And the trippy SG doesn’t hurt.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    I wonder what the real story was behind Maddon keeping Baldelli and his walk-up music on the bench for Game 1? Look may factor into this World Series. The Phils are a much more handsome team, and does anyone have a better beard than Eric Bruntlett?

  3. meanstom

    Looks like Chase claimed ownership of ‘Kashmir.’

  4. diskojoe

    Last night, I was thinking “Jeez, it would have been a cold opener in Fenway.” Anyway, congrats on the Game 1 victory, Mr. Mod. However, I must ask hrrundi how he is basing his prediction that the Fightins’ will win the Series in 5. Frankly, after seeing the Rays too many times, I feel that they are the type of team that will bend but will not break, as was shown in the ALCS.

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    Diskojoe, you should direct your question to Townsman mockcarr, who is probably best suited to explain the many dimensions of my astonishing command of baseball lore. I am, quite frankly, a walking encyclopedia of rules, patterns, histories, statistics, tactics, strategies, umpiring trends, strikezone sizes, bat compositions, pillbox hats, handlebar moustaches, and much, much more.

    The Rays do look tough, and I admire Madden’s moxie, as well as his glasses. But when I have a vision — as I did lo these many weeks ago, when “Phillies over Rays in Five” came to me, as if in a dream — I stick to it.


  6. I agree with Big Steve. I’m pretty anti-stache in general but that was a good Look for Clapton.

    How about Jack Bruce with the cigarette in the headstock pointing towards the crowd instead of towards the ceiling? Is there a practical reason for that or is Jack just expressing his individuality?

    I’ve never really understood that move because unless you’re playing songs that are about two minutes long, won’t the cigarette burn down before you can retrieve it for another drag? If I were him, I probably would have put it in one of those harmonica holders so I could smoke during the solo.

  7. diskojoe

    hrrundi, I’m scratching my head over your answer. You should be a politician. Let me get this straight, 1. you claim to be a great baseball expert but I have to ask another member of this hallowed Hall why you’re such an expert & 2. You’re basing your opinion solely on the fact that you had a “vision”. I mean, I once dreamed that Andy Warhol was in my kindergarten class, but that wasn’t true.

  8. alexmagic

    Steve’s right, Cream’s Look in that clip was great. They looked like the key members of a really awesome cult, thanks in part to Baker’s crazy wizard vibe and Clapton being at his most Gary Oldman-esque. Grow the moustache back, Eric.

    Kazmir blinked in the Kashmir showdown, and Utley immediately seized on that moment of weakness.

    Baldelli admittedly has impeccable taste – killer songs across the board, and all perfectly suited to batter music – but doesn’t hogging up three winners like that violate an unwritten baseball music rule? If he had any sense of decorum, he’d keep one of those for himself (Funk #49) and spread the other two around to the rest of the team. Since Maddon is working the Upscale Joe Walsh look, I bet he’s punishing him for that transgression.

    The Flyers should look into signing Bruntlett as soon as the Series is over. His beard would be a stabilizing force for that team.

  9. Hamels/Madsen/Lidge were outstanding. Hitting, not so much. Do we worry that the Phillies are so limp punching in more runs, or comforted in knowing that the game was a couple of base hits away from being a blow-out.

  10. saturnismine

    No. We don’t worry about their inability to score runs….yet.

    Last night was exactly what we should have expected from World Series Game One baseball: 2 teams playing at a very high level against topflight pitching. Both teams had their aces throwing flames and stinky sliders, curves, and sinkers. It was a thing of beauty. Neither pitcher gave the either any margin for error. One or two slips made the difference. Both served up a dinger, but one of them did it after granting a free pass to first.

    We’ll see what the rest of the respective rotations bring. I saw signs last night of Rollins and Howard feeling more comfortable at the plate. I hope I’m right.

  11. BigSteve

    Yeah the main ‘slip that made a difference’ was that balk not not getting called.

  12. saturnismine

    One other thing…

    As much as I love what Victorino has done in the playoffs (and who wouldn’t?), he had NO business trying to tag up and make it home from third on that fly ball. It’s a no-brainer. You don’t go in that situation: there was only one out on the play, the fly ball was WAY too shallow, and Upton has a nice, accurate arm. And we learn this morning that the 3rd base coach had the right idea, and told Victorino to hold up, but Shane decided to go, anyway.

    I like it when guys try to make stuff happen (see Pete Rose, game five vs. Houston, 1980), but there’s an art to it. You have to find the RIGHT sliver of daylight to pry open (again, see Pete Rose, game five, vs. Houston). A key element is taking the other team by surprise. But that’s not the situation for it, because Upton’s gonna throw that ball home whether Victorino tags or not, especially since he’s so shallow in center. Luckily, it didn’t amount to anything bad for the Phils. Thanks to Cole, Shane’s not wearing goat’s horns today.

  13. Mr. Moderator

    Grant Balfour got away with two balks that were not called last night. I didn’t hear a peep out of the commentators over those oversights. Guess it doesn’t matter as much when Drew Carey’s not barking from the top step. Hamels’ pickoff move was fine. He wasn’t leaning into the plate and his toe never kicked toward the plate. The angle at which he stepped was less than perfect, but that’s one advantage granted to lefthanders.

    I didn’t like seeing Victorino tag either, but that’s part of his MO. He needs to get that overaggressive, boneheaded move out of his system early. His poor judgement will pay dividends later in the series.

    Chickenfrank and Andyr can attest to my call, as he stepped to the plate in the first inning, of B.J. Upton being the goat of the series. I predicted a lot of things for B.J. during and beyond this game, but I shall not make them public. The guy had one monster series against Boston and came into this series thinking he’s Derek Jeter. Get that hat on straight, young man: you are no Juan Pierre!

    I like Maddon a lot, but I’m a bit troubled by the whole Springsteen thing. They got into that at some point last night. I’ve got some suspicions about what kind of Boss fan he is. When I know more I’ll assess how this might affect the outcome of Game 2.

    That rightfielder Maddon threw out there last night – was he a member of the Backstreet Boys? Not one member of the national media asked Maddon why he say Baldelli and his theme music. You may be onto something, Alexmagic.

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    Speaking of the Backstreet Boys — that may have been the *worst* national anthem I’ve heard before a major baseball game. I hope Philly coughs up something a bit better.

    It better not be Bon Jovi!

  15. But we saw how enemic they can be trying to score runs. I tip my cap to Shane for trying to manufacture a run. The throw made it there way ahead of Shane, but it was almost wide enough to let him get away with it.

  16. alexmagic

    Wow, I had already blocked that awful National Anthem showing out of my mind. They blew it on the first line! Pathetic, Tampa. If they want to bounce back tonight, they may have to call on Tampa resident Hulk Hogan to do a bass solo anthem.

    I think Victorino tried to force himself in from third because he was deperate to get another post-game interview and work in his “No questions asked!” catch phrase. By far my favorite post season storyline so far.

  17. hrrundivbakshi

    Yeah, that BSB anthem was lame on so many levels.

    1. These guys are, you know, *legitimately* washed up. Why on Earth would you push them forward as your flagship anthemeers, for your first World Series? Surely the magnitude of the event called for someone at least a *little* more au courant.

    2. The Look was completely out of step with the governing style of baseball. Fey, girly… not good! And what was with the dude on the right, who was simultaneously balding *and* sporting a huge pile of hair on the parts of his head that could still deliver? Pathetic!

    3. The endless melismatic flourishes were, as always, a fiasco.

    4. You gotta have at leasta *shred* of patriotic gusto when you sing that song. It’s about bombs bursting in air, for crying out loud! I don’t know what those guys were thinking about (new shoes? Hair gel? My Little Pony?), but it sure as hell wasn’t Old Glory and shoving a bayonet up some limey’s ass.


  18. BigSteve

    I favor a constitutional amendment to ban melisma from all renditions of the national anthem. Actually I’d prefer just changing it to This Land Is Your Land, which has the added advantage of not lending itself to pyrotechnics.

    I’m afraid Philly might let Patti Labelle loose to beat the anthem into submission.

  19. I missed it but isn’t there usually some sort of local tie in? Who else are the Rays going to get? Tom Petty? Ronnie Van Zandt’s annoying kid brother? Nope, I see them cycling through Lou Perlman’s stable. Let’s all hope the Phils can close the deal before O-Town get their shot.

  20. hrrundivbakshi

    Patti Labelle is one of those artists I ought not to hate, but do. To my ears, that woman’s screeching is nearly unbearable.

  21. alexmagic

    And what was with the dude on the right, who was simultaneously balding *and* sporting a huge pile of hair on the parts of his head that could still deliver?

    That was definitely a poor man’s Larry Fine being developed there.

    It’s about bombs bursting in air, for crying out loud! … Old Glory and shoving a bayonet up some limey’s ass.

    I think we may be having a WE REACH moment here. I’m always saddened when The Star-Spangled Banner is undervalued or misunderstood

    Hard to sing? Maybe. But lyrically, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the mythical American spirit. You know that part in every action movie where the hero gets tuned up, then gets up, wipes the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand and says “Shoulda killed me when you had the chance”? The National Anthem is that moment set to a drinking song. No boy band member should even be allowed to sing it.

  22. Mr. Moderator

    I’ve always found that “proof through the night” line to be the most difficult line to sing in all of songdom. I have to work hard not to sing the “f” sound immediately followed by the “th” sound in reverse: “prooth frough the night…” As a tune, I’m down with Our National Anthem [Dan Baker’s voice with the requisite Veterans Stadium echo].

    While Backstreet Boys did their thing, I longed for the much easier to like Gloria Estefan, but my mates reminded me that she’s only appropriate for Marlins games. Is there nothing that the Tampa area can call its own in terms of anthem singers and Classic Rays of the Past? How ’bout the Rays having to introduce themselves? They couldn’t get Wade Boggs or Fred McGriff to do the job for them? When I think Elder Statesman of that franchise I think Carl Crawford. Can a current player throw out the first ball? While he’s at it, can Crawford sing the anthem?

    Philly’s got lots of talent to sing the anthem. I’m not worried. We probably will have to suck it up for one night with Patti LaBelle. Is she on the city payroll?

  23. It’s about bombs bursting in air, for crying out loud! … Old Glory and shoving a bayonet up some limey’s ass.

    I think we may be having a WE REACH moment here. I’m always saddened when The Star-Spangled Banner is undervalued or misunderstood

    Actually, both you guys have it wrong. If you’ll recall, the bombs are coming from the other side, and no limeys are getting a bayonet anywhere. The point is, in the morning, the flag hasn’t yet been bombed to pieces. It’s about surviving the night, not about kicking anybody else’s ass.

    Can I get a pince-nez for this?

  24. alexmagic

    We’re actually on the same page, mwall. I wasn’t saying it’s a song about kicking ass, it’s a song about taking an ass-kicking and then getting ready to kick ass in return. The original Big Payback.

  25. hrrundivbakshi

    My point was that you should feel like shoving a bayonet up limey’s ass when you’re singing it. It’s a drinking song about bombs and Old Glory, not some mince-y boy band harmony fiesta!

    Hendrix had it right, of course, in his own cosmic fashion.

  26. Wonder no more, regarding the musical lineup when the Series gets to Philly.


  27. trolleyvox

    Did not Jayson Werth rock a tasteful Levon Helm Spanish Musketeer van dyke last night to great effect?

  28. That’s fine, bakshi and alex, but I still want the damned pince nez. Who’s currently in possession of that thing?

  29. mockcarr

    The damned song starts and ends with a question, fer crissakes. I’m surprised the American people stand for it. If we made it This Land Is Your Land, no one would know when the song should end. Might as well sing a round of Row Row Row Your Boat.

    Gruden’s lineup reading was a definite factor in the Rays victory last night.

    Pretty much every lefty move can be called a balk because of how they land that front foot. What I like is how Madden went out after the inning to describe his complaint.

    I’m dubious of Hrrundi’s facility in predicting series, however, his forecast for particular events has cost me many beers.

  30. BigSteve

    The blown call of the night last night was obviously that non-strikeout/strikeout in the 2nd inning. I’m not saying it changed the outcome, but if the players are going to step up their game for the Series the umpiring should be better than it has been.

  31. mockcarr

    That might have been a check swing, but the ball DEFINITELY hit Rollins’ jersey.

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