World Series Kulturkampf, Game 1: Theme Songs

We, as discerning fans of our national pastime, are generally left with very few indicators of whether or how major league baseball players are “cultured.” But, because fans cannot survive on wOBA alone, we search for these things in players. The items listed in the title of this post are amongst the cultural indicators we utilize in this search. Often, what we find might disappoint us: Chase Utley is hella handsome . . . except for his oily locks, plastered to his head, causing us to question not only handsomeness, but also his very character.[1] Or, it might corroborate our darkest criticisms: Tony La Russa’s hair has been fried from decades of overly involved managing.

That said, this World Series thing is gonna start happening tomorrow. Two teams who have both been hitting the snot[2] out of the ball this postseason will diamond-off for sundry prizes: a multi-phallic trophy, a pile of cash, and the rights to every Beatles song. I think that’s what’s at stake anyway. But what every discerning fan of baseball really wants to know is, How do the Cardinals and Rangers match up in the ways of cultural swag?


World Series Booty?

Without further ado, let’s examine the first match-up of our World Series Kulturkampf.

Player Theme Songs

The Loose Rubric:

What I’m looking for here is something that surprises me, that says, “I’m not what you think I am, you silly fan you.” Or, I just want to see some self-awareness, to be able to pretend that the player is trying to communicate with me, the culturally sensitive fan, trying to say, “I, too, have interests beyond baseball. I, too, have cavorted about, been a snob about IPAs and Fleet Foxes, wielded a Werner Herzog impression — without success — to win the attention of some bookish lass. I, too, have lazily considered occupying Wall Street, but instead settled for listening to NPR.”

I also give points for “general badassery.” Like, if it makes this white boy wanna dance, you know? If it gives me that riled-up feeling that only a solid high-five will squelch. I am scientific if nothing else.

The Teams, then:

THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (click for link to song list) aren’t doing much here to mitigate the insinuation by Nyjer “Tony Plush” Morgan that they’re a bunch of “Plain Jane Wonderbreads.” Look no farther than David Freese’s pick in “Pink Houses” by John Mellancamp (né Cougar) or Matt Holliday’s choice of “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band. Plain Jane lived in a pink house and put chicken fried on her Wonderbread and everyone fell asleep.

Still, badassery bonus points are certainly due Lance Berkman for using “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash. He gets to bat cultural cleanup for that one. Does Lance Berkman see himself as God, the opposing pitcher as a self-righteous hypocrite that needs a big Old Testamenty beat down? Or is Lance Berkman profoundly afraid of going to hell? Either way, totes cred.

Also, some kudos (a lesser form of points) to Nick “Best Impression of a Hot Dog” Punto for using Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight.” Any grown man who can admit — in front of tens of thousands of people no less — to liking Phil Collins is pretty ok in my book.

The Cards simply will have to bump up their game for the big series, though. Holliday could gain some serious points by switching to Madonna’s “Holiday”, with at least several bonus points added for purchasing the rights to said and changing the name to “Holliday.” Game-ending bonus points for seducing Madonna and getting her to admit, publicly, that he, Holliday, is a better centaur model kisser than A-Rod.

To boot, if Berkman struts to the plate in a black trench coat and swings with an acoustic guitar instead of a traditional baseball “bat”, it could be worth some huge late-game points.


Will we see Lance “Man in Black” Berkman this postseason?

 

THE TEXAS RANGERS have some duds themselves — Josh Hamilton’s song is predictably a Christian rap song, Mitch Moreland’s is equally predictably the most generic “country” music — but they also have more surprises and even some sheer awesomeness.

To begin with, saber-darling Mike Napoli’s friggin’ theme song is “Teach Me How to Dougie.” PUT THA TEAM ON HIS BACK, DU’. The song is by Cali Swag District. In case you didn’t read all of that last sentence, they are a musical group that have the word “swag” in their name, people. But seriously, to me, this seems to suggest a sense of humor on Napoli’s part — which I’m sure Mike Scioscia just hated — an ability to laugh at himself, something very few professional baseballers show signs of possessing. If the ol’ Nap-dog wants to really step it up for the World Series Kulturkampf, he should find his way onto YouTube to post his very own Dougie instructional video.

If that wasn’t enough, Ian Kinsler kicks in some badassery points with “Black Betty” by Ram Jam, which was immortalized in the Kenny Powers’s jetskiing montage in Season 1, Episode 2 of Eastbound and Down.

Finally I’m really glad I titled this category “player theme music” instead of “at-bat songs” because I’m so happy to give props to C.J. Wilson for his warm-up music, Chromeo’s “Call Me Up.” For real, if y’all haven’t seen the video for “Needy Girl,” here it is, you’re welcome. Chromeo has made significant contributions to today’s musical climate. Underappreciated pioneers of swag. Quote me. Judge me.

 

The Results:

Sorry TLR acolytes, Rangers get out to an early 1-0 in the Kulturkampf.


That ol’ Nap-dog and a couple of huge fans of the Dougie.

Owing greatly to my best bro Matthew Christman’s initial application of the above italicized German to our beloved game of baseball . . .


[1] Also causing great NotGraphs nicknames.

[2] Like, literally, snot. Official Major League baseballs are made with the gelatinized essence of Hall of Famers past extracted from hair samples using equal effort from an industrial-grade vegetable juicer and a necromancer, giving their cores a snot-like consistency that could, theoretically, ooze out of them when hit for homeruns. So there. Bud Selig: wizard.




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Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Kyle
Member
4 years 10 months ago

“Any grown man who can admit — in front of tens of thousands of people no less — to liking Phil Collins is pretty ok in my book.”

Yeah, I don’t know about that…

jake
Guest
jake
4 years 10 months ago

Eh, I might have some respect for Punto’s Phil Collins pick if he hadn’t picked what has quickly become Collins’ most overrated song (thanks to The Hangover and Mike Tyson, among others). Go with “Misunderstanding” or “Another Day in Paradise,” and I will give Punto his due.

Robert J. Baumann
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

But Kyle, what do you know about MY book?

I really like your blog, btw.

Kyle
Member
4 years 10 months ago

Admittedly, I know next to nothing about your personal book, Robert. There must be some serious theoretical physics up in there. And thank you, it’s much appreciated.

Anon
Guest
Anon
4 years 10 months ago

What about reliever walk-in music?

mattc
Guest
mattc
4 years 10 months ago

Nap-dog can teach me how to Dougie anytime.

Wait, that came out wrong…

Brian
Guest
Brian
4 years 10 months ago

I wrongly assumed I was your best bro.

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