The 2010 Phillies in Music

After an off-season filled with mostly serious analytical posts here at Crashburn Alley, we need some levity. Take your thinking caps off and relax for a bit. What I am going to attempt to do today is assign key Phillies players a theme song for 2010 based on songs in my iTunes library. For the sake of simplicity, the relationship is entirely based off of the song’s title.

I invite you to share, in the comments section below, your suggestions for theme songs.

Without further ado…

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1B Ryan Howard

The Mars Volta, “Goliath”

The Phillies need Howard need to be the goliath out of the #4 spot in the lineup if they are to defend their throne as the National League’s most potent offense. Howard has hit no fewer than 45 home runs and driven in no fewer than 136 runs since getting regular playing time in 2006.

However, his production against left-handed pitching has been trending down each season and this weakness was exposed to the world by the New York Yankees in the World Series, holding the slugger to a .631 OPS in 25 at-bats. It’s bad news if teams finally catch on to this and abuse the mis-match.

2B Chase Utley

Dream Theater, “Constant Motion”

It seems like Utley is always in constant motion, whether he’s on the bases or in the infield with his trusty leather glove at second base where he has consistently been one of baseball’s best defenders.

Tommy Bennett of Baseball Prospectus put Utley’s base running prowess in an historical context:

Last year, Chase Utley stole 23 bases. That is a good number. In fact, it was a career high for the Philadelphia Phillies’ All-Star second baseman. Even more remarkable was that Utley was not caught stealing once all season.

[...]

Since caught stealing statistics were first consistently recorded in the National League in 1951, there have been three major leaguers who have stolen at least 20 bases in a season without being caught once. Kevin McReynolds did it in 1988 with the New York Mets, and Paul Molitor matched the feat in 1994 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

3B Placido Polanco

Soundgarden, “Never the Machine Forever”

Aside from a pressing need for a better third baseman than Pedro Feliz, one of the reasons the Phillies signed Placido Polanco is his bat control. He has a reputation for striking out very rarely, putting the ball in play and often in a way that advances base runners. However, his OBP last year fell nearly 20 points below his career average. Additionally, he set a career low GB% and a career high FB%, contributing to a .295 BABIP that is — surprise — twenty points below his career average.

As is the question with Jimmy Rollins, do these signs point to the beginning of the end of a fantastic career, or is it a simple blip on the radar screen? Polanco can’t be a machine forever.

SS Jimmy Rollins

Silversun Pickups, “Growing Old Is Getting Old”

Was his sub-par season — both at the plate and in the field — an aberration, or is it the first step towards the end of Jimmy Rollins’ career? It seems that his problem last year was due to hitting too many fly balls, nullifying his speed. From 2008 to ’09, he had an increase of 10.5% in fly balls hit. As a result, his BABIP hit a career low .253 compared to his career average of .295. If Rollins can get back to getting on base at an above-average rate, then he can also get back to putting his speed to good use. Should Rollins bounce back, the Phillies may have one of the most dangerous 1-2 punches in baseball in Rollins and Polanco.

LF Raul Ibanez

Disturbed, “Indestructible”

From the start of the season until June 17, Raul was indestructible, compiling a triple-slash line of .312/.371/.656 along with 22 HR and 59 RBI in 280 plate appearances. When he returned on July 11, he was a different player. In the 285 plate appearances between his return and the end of the season, he put up a triple-slash line of .232/.323/.448 with 12 HR and 34 RBI.

I’m pretty sure the 2010 Raul wants to call upon the indestructible Raul from the first half of last season.

CF Shane Victorino

Coheed and Cambria, “The Running Free”

After attempting 41 and 47 stolen bases and successfully stealing 37 and 36 in 2007 and ’08 respectively, Shane Victorino dropped to merely 25 bags in 33 attempts last season. It wasn’t because he was getting on base less — his on-base percentage improved by .006; he was likely being more tentative on the base paths. The Shane we all know and love runs free on the bases.

RF Jayson Werth

Chevelle, “To Return”

Jayson Werth is a free agent after the 2010 season comes to a close, and most of us have come to grips with the fact that he likely will not return. He has become a superstar, a five-tool player and he will get paid like one. However, all of us will have hope that Werth will want to return to the franchise that turned him into a superstar — the franchise that gave him a shot when no one else was willing.

SP Roy Halladay

Boston, “More Than A Feeling”

This doesn’t really need an explanation. If Phillies fans aren’t in love with Roy Halladay when they see him pitch in spring training, they will when they see him on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals. And yes, that will be much, much more than a feeling.

SP Cole Hamels

A Perfect Circle, “Weak and Powerless”

Hamels has, for several years, been considered the future of the Phillies. He dominated Minor League hitters, then came up to the Majors and left opposing hitters befuddled from 2006-08. He hit a rough spot last year and everybody attributed that to character flaws and off-the-field activityinstead of an abnormally high BABIP (.325). Hamels is supposedly weak and powerless now, but he’ll be out to prove his detractors wrong in 2010.

SP Jamie Moyer

Audioslave, “Your Time Has Come”

Jamie’s time has come. He’s 47 years old and on the mend from several off-season surgeries. We all know he, like Brett Favre, can play forever and they’re “like kids out there”. But unlike Favre, the jury’s out on whether or not Moyer can still play at a high level. If last year — 4.94 ERA in 25 starts — is any indication, the answer is no.

SP J.A. Happ

Silversun Pickups, “There’s No Secrets This Year”

As we’ve gone over countless times here on the Interwebs, J.A. Happ is expected to regress in large part due to that low BABIP of his in 2009. That may not be his only contributor to a downfall in 2010, however.

He threw a fastball 85% of the time last season: 70% four-seam and 15% cut. Happ will need to utilize off-speed pitches (change-up and/or a curve ball) more often going forward so that hitters are kept honest and can’t sit on his fastball. If he doesn’t, there will be no secrets and he’ll be victimized on a more frequent basis.

CL Brad Lidge

Aesop Rock, “None Shall Pass”

In 2008, “None Shall Pass” was his motto, as he never allowed a meaningful base runner to cross home plate. He went perfect in save opportunities not just in the regular season but in the post-season as well. All told, he was asked to close the door 48 times and he closed the door 48 times.

2009 was a different story. In fact, it was about the exact opposite of his ’08 campaign — he was allowing meaningful base runners to score on a nightly basis it seemed. 2009 was a nightmare of a season for him any way you slice it — a period of time Lidge would like to completely erase from his mind going into a brand new season.

RP Ryan Madson

Between the Buried and Me, “The Primer”

Primer is a coating used to prepare your walls for painting. According to Wikipedia, primer “ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection”.

Similarly, Ryan Madson will be Brad Lidge’s set-up guy. If he is able to be the dominant eighth-inning reliever that had a 3.55 K:BB ratio last year, the back of the Phillies’ bullpen is on its way to looking like a Rembrandt.

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That’s what I’ve got. What say you?

Leave a Reply

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10 comments

  1. GrandSlamSingle

    February 15, 2010 07:55 PM

    I’ve never heard of most of these bands. I suddenly feel old and out of touch. Thanks Bill!

    Anyway, in honor of their Philly connection, I decided to go with all Hall and Oates theme songs:

    Howard – Man On A Mission

    Utley – I’ll Be Around (it’s ok to take time off, really!)

    Rollins – Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid (less talk, more production, please)

    Polanco – How Does It Feel To Be Back

    Ibanez – Someone Like You (from the first half of 2009)

    Victorino – Downtown Life (he’s certainly been enjoying it)

    Werth – Make You Stay

    Halladay – I’m In A Philly Mood (ok, this one is sans Oates but it was too apt to pass up)

    Hamels – Looking For A Good Sign

    Moyer – Fading Away

    Happ – Change of Season

    Lidge – Head Above Water

    Madson – Rock Steady (one of the more reliable relievers in the game; hope he continues this year)

  2. Rich

    February 15, 2010 08:42 PM

    I’ll take a Beatles theme with mine to keep the fun going:

    Howard: I Am The Walrus – “I am the egg man, I am the egg man, I am the Walrus!”

    Utley: Helter Skelter – zany song for people that try to say “World F@cking Champions” on National TV!

    Rollins: Sgt.Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band: He’s been going in and out of style but he’s guaranteed to raise a smile!

    Polanco: Got to Get You Back In My Life – I took a ride, I didn’t know what I would find there…

    Ruiz: With A Little Help From My Friends – I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends

    Hamels: Getting Better- “I’ve got to admit, it’s getting better.. getting better all the time…”

    Halladay: Baby You’re a Rich Man: Now that you know who you are? What do you want to be?

    Werth: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds: Newspaper taxis appear on the shore, waiting to take you away..

    Manuel: Get Back! – Get back to where you once belonged … (In first place of course)

    I am starting to enjoy this way too much …. :)

  3. Shooter-B

    February 15, 2010 09:58 PM

    Kudos to GrandSlam on the Hall & Oates theme. Rock and roll!

    I was going to pick one band for a theme, but I had a hard time choosing between Slipknot and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. But I’ll add few anyway:

    Hamels – Freak on a Leash by Korn
    Lidge – Falls Apart by Hurt
    Moyer – Slow & Low by Beastie Boys
    Halladay – Rich Girl by Hall & Oates, can’t believe GrandSlam missed that one

    The good news is the Phillies rotation is much better than just a few years ago, when you could have dedicated the entire Winger song list to them.

  4. Argive

    February 15, 2010 10:32 PM

    Polanco: Radiohead, Prove Yourself

    Howard: Voxtrot, Wrecking Force

    Hamels: The Mars Volta, Since We’ve Been Wrong (what all of his detractors will be saying soon)

    Moyer: Bruce Springsteen, Counting on a Miracle

    Happ: Portishead, Sour Times

    And for the rest, I’m gonna use some songs by Led Zeppelin:

    Lidge: Good Times, Bad Times

    Werth: Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

    Victorino: Ramble On

    Domonic Brown: Your Time Is Gonna Come

    Oh, and for good measure:

    Cliff Lee: Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here

  5. Bill Baer

    February 15, 2010 11:58 PM

    Somehow I missed Argive’s Cliff Lee theme song, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”.

    That is a damn fine suggestion if I may say so myself.

  6. GrandSlamSingle

    February 16, 2010 12:08 AM

    Shakes walking stick at Bill

    Get off my lawn!

    Shooter: Thanks. Is Rich Girl a reference to Brandi? Otherwise I don’t get it.

  7. schmenkman

    February 16, 2010 09:47 AM

    “When [Ibanez] returned on July 11, he was a different player. In the 285 plate appearances between his return and the end of the season, he put up a triple-slash line of .232/.323/.448 with 12 HR and 34 RBI.”
    ——
    If you look more closely at his return, in his first 6 games back, Ibanez hit .348 with 3 HRs and a 1.270 OPS. He then proceeded to put a .582 (!) OPS from July 20 through September 5, and finished the year with a .941 OPS over the final month.

    Ibanez has always been a streaky hitter, and a .600 or lower OPS over a month or more is not unusual for him. So I predict that we will see both versions of Rauuuuuul in 2010, and obviously we hope more of the 1st Half ’09 version.

  8. pete_incaviglia

    February 18, 2010 05:39 PM

    somehow you seem to have forgotten our starting catcher? Carlos Ruiz. Who obviously needs to come out to Panama by Van Halen.

  9. Argive

    February 20, 2010 11:23 AM

    Thanks, Bill! I’m late coming back, but here’s a theme song for another ex-Phillie:

    Adam Eaton: Nirvana, Rape Me

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