All the trades and free-agent acquisitions this off-season don’t just mean that some guys will be wearing new clothes come (real) Opening Day. It could also mean they’ll take the field to new music as well. To help make their transitions as painless as possible, here are some walk-on music suggestions for players whose addresses have changed.
1. Albert Pujols – EMA, “California”
Albert Pujols is a professional baseball player who left the friendly confines of St. Louis for the warm sun and deep pockets of California. Erika M. Anderson (a.k.a. EMA) is a singer/songwriter who thought so highly of her time in California that she flipped off the entire state in the first two words of the song that bears its name. Clearly, this is an at-bat-music match made in heaven. And given that Pujols’ decade-long bank-breaking contract will see him turn from one of the game’s most feared hitters into a $24 million millstone, it’s only fair to remind the Los Angeles of Anaheim faithful what their fair state will eventually do to him.
2. Prince Fielder — Action Bronson, “Ronnie Coleman”
Given Prince Fielder’s genetic disposition, it only makes sense to pair him with a tune from Queens’ finest rhyme-spitting gourmand. And since just about every Action Bronson track features a shout-out to something edible, almost any tune would do for Prince. “Ronnie Coleman“‘s back-and-forth between an exercise-hating Bronson and a motivational-personal-trainer Bronson makes it an especially appropriate choice.
3. José Reyes — Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream”
Some folks might focus on the image of Katy Perry in skin-tight jeans, which is an understandable fixation, and then assume we’re extrapolating that onto Jose Reyes. But no: slightly more on-topic is the song’s refrain of “don’t ever look back,” a notion that Reyes embraced the minute he signed his name to the Miami Marlins’ lucrative offer. Only time will tell whether Mets fans come to grips with that notion as well. (Fun fact: the whipped-cream bazooka bra from KP’s “California Gurls” video is part of the Marlins’ home run statue.)
4. Jonathan Papelbon - Pissed Jeans, “I’ve Still Got You (Ice Cream)”
The Phillies’ new closer is a man of simple pleasures. He likes to strike hitters out. He likes to pump his fist after securing a save. He likes Playboy parties over meeting the President. He likes to strip down to his skivvies and do a jig when his team wins a playoff series. And he used to like taking the field to the Dropkick Murphys. But since shipping up to Boston’s no longer an option, why not have everyone’s favorite mouth-breather psych up the crowd with a hard-charging tune (from an Allentown band, no less) that probably reflects his state of mind more accurately than anyone’s willing to admit?
5. Michael Pineda – Burzum, “Dunkelheit”
When the Yankees traded their all-bat catching phenom Jesus Montero for this equally phenomenal young pitcher, they didn’t get a player that could be the team’s second-best starter; they got a scapegoat-in-waiting. Pineda’s Spring Training struggles have the brutal New York sports media suggesting he should take a back seat to vets like Freddy Garcia and Andy Pettitte, or perhaps even be sent to the minors for more seasoning. So, what’s the only way to combat this high-quality trolling? Introduce Yankee fans to the musicals charms of one church-burning bandmate-murdering black metal progenitor. As Suzyn Waldman once said, “Oh my goodness gracious.”
6. Carlos Zambrano – College, “A Real Hero”
As he assaulted water coolers and the occasional teammate last season, Carlos Zambrano probably had a song running in his mind similar to College’s “A Real Hero” (made famous by how often it played over languorous shots of Ryan Gosling during the movie “Drive”). But now that College has put into words what Zambrano believes of himself — that he is, in fact, a real human being, and a real hero — it only seems fitting for this to play before each of his starts goes into the toilet.
7. AJ Burnett – Usher, “Climax”
See, the joke here is that, with his bunt-related orbital bone injury, AJ Burnett’s inaugural season with the Pirates has already climaxed. Because the Pirates are probably not going to be that good, and neither is Burnett, even if hadn’t hurt himself. Did I mention that he broke his own eye-bone while bunting in batting practice? Great song, though.
8. Joel Zumaya — Lana Del Ray, “Video Games”
Sadly, with the news of his most recent season-ending injury, there won’t be any chance for Joel Zumaya to take the hill for the Twins. But that doesn’t mean Minnesota can’t honor their fallen would-be teammate with a heartfelt video tribute set to the sounds of this haunting and mournful ballad. And it especially doesn’t mean the tribute can’t include gameplay clips of Guitar Hero in between sexy slow-motion action shots of Zumaya throwing heat.
Bonus: Ozzie Guillen — Rick Ross, “BMF”
Unless the rumors that Connie Mack took the field to The Charleston are true, no Major League Baseball manager has ever had their own “theme song.” If any current skipper deserves to have his moves up and down the dugout steps soundtracked, it’s the guy filling out the Miami Marlins lineup card. And a larger-than-life figure like Guillen deserves a larger-than-life song. #MaybachMusic