Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fight Song for Papelbon

What'll be playing when he strikes YOU out?

Every good closer worth his kill pitch needs entrance music; something to pump up the crowd and himself and strike fear into the hearts of the batters who are about to face him. Of course, some might argue that very best closers don’t need entrance music to get ready to cow the opposition; they’re just intimidating by themselves and having the entrance music is a bit like sounding trumpets before a hanging: it gets the crowd ready for blood and loosens the bowels of the condemned. Since baseball is entertainment and entertainment thrives on spectacle, even closers like Rivera, who could care less, get their trademark sound that (hopefully) lets everyone know that stuff is about to hit the fan. As an article on details, some closers have made better choices in this department than others; the best selections of entrance music are the ones that show how much of a badass the pitcher is and by implication, how he’s going to win the game for the home team. The article details some of the selections over the past 40 years and looking at it, it seems being a closer is a bit like being a gangsta rapper; you use your music to show how much tougher you are than everyone else.

For the past two years in Boston, of course, we’ve had Keith Foulke coming out of the bullpen to Glenn Danzig proclaiming precisely how he’s going to corrupt your children in “Mother,” which rates pretty highly on the awesomeness scale and helps bolster Foulke’s image of a somewhat wimpy finesse-pitching closer. But for now, with Foulke still regaining his 2004 form, Jonathan Papelbon is the go-to man…and he doesn’t have entrance music. Paps put out a call for suggestions and RSN responded in force, although nothing struck Papelbon’s fancy. Still, it begs the question: if you were closing for the Boston Red Sox, what song would you pick? Robin and I each put our top five choices below (in no particular order); let us know what you’d pick in the comments section.

  1. Ozzie Osbourne - Crazy Train
    Today’s closer is part fastballer, part psycho killer, so “Crazy Train” seems an obvious choice. Plus, with an ominous intro and a riff that slowly builds in speed, this song will get the crowd going every time.

  2. Anthrax - I am the Law
    Fantastic opening riff and the song is about the ultimate representative of cold, hard justice? You can almost imagine all of Fenway headbanging along to this selection.

  3. The Doors – L.A. Woman
    Start with the “Mr. Mojo Rising” section, which builds up in speed, is appropriate to someone who just got off a bench to rise to the occasion and is good song for the crowd to get into (36,000 drunken idiots screaming “Rising, rising!” should do the trick).

  4. Slayer - Raining Blood
    Skip the first minute or so of this song and it’s perfect for the closer looking to present the image of a complete and utter fiend on the mound. Combine pouring rain, drums like thunderclaps, squealing guitars leading to one of the best doom riffs ever and then pure metal pandemonium, all with a theme of blood pouring from the sky and you get entrance music that will make batters think that you spend your spare time sacrificing goats to your dark pitching gods. Plus, the mental picture of Fenway turning into a massive mosh pit is pretty appealing.

  5. Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil
    So obvious it’s easy. “Shout! Shout! Shout at the Devil!” Any closer who likes to go toe to toe with the Devil is probably going to throw some high, hard heat, too.

  1. Van Halen – Hot for Teacher
    I have been pushing for SOMEONE to use this for a long time. The opening drums and guitar make ME want to pitch 97 mph. "I DON'T FEEL TARDY!!"

  2. Tool – 46 and 2
    Deep, dark and brooding with an opening riff that makes teenagers (and hitters) want to cut themselves.

  3. Korn – Blind
    Can you imagine 36,000 Bostonians screaming "ARE YOU READY?" I can. And it rocks.

  4. The Beastie Boys – Sabotage
    Nothing says Red Sox Closer like three Jews rapping!

  5. The Toadies – Tyler
    Doesn't really work for closing music I guess. Anyway it’s a great song until you listen to the lyrics and realize, "Oh my God...he's gonna rape that girl!"