A Suggestion for Mr. Papelbon

Dear Johnno–

It’s come to my attention that your search for a new entrance song isn’t going as well as you thought. I can appreciate that. The choice of entrance music is supremely important for a player’s image. Choose it well and it becomes part of your identity. Choose poorly and you look like a jackass, or a wimp, or worse. For a closer, picking the right song is even more important. A position player can just pick whatever’s on his mind, or a song that relaxes him before the most intense part of the game. But closers don’t have it so easy. Ideally, a closer’s song is intimidating and energizing. Trevor Hoffman had that nasty changeup, but he also had AC/DC. Or how about Mariano Rivera–a quiet, polite, reserved, religious man by all accounts–augmenting his cutter with one of Metallica’s most ominous hits. You need to pick an entrance song on that level, and I’m here to help you.

A good closer intro needs to be aggressive and foreboding, and failing that, needs to incite a capacity crowd into a mob mentality. By the time the closer is on the mound, if he chooses his music well, violence will ensue. You had it kind of easy in Boston. Red Sox fans love their city, and they get on board with anything remotely Irish. But you even though Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey came off like kind of a dick when he announced you couldn’t use “Shipping Up to Boston,” you had to know that a song with Boston in the title wouldn’t play in Philly. And neither Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” nor Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” really cuts the mustard as a harbinger of bad things. Though to Casey’s credit, the offer to write you a new song was quite generous, but any bespoke entrance music comes off as kind of gimmicky.

And “Man in the Box” was a nice try–it’s got the aggressive, repetitive, foreboding electric guitar, and it was clever of you to work in the “Won’t you come and save me” angle. But the anger in “Man in the Box” is more suicidal than homicidal, and we want you to be more directly menacing than full of indiscriminate anger. The best available song on the shelf is Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” which absolutely conjures up images of a man in a black leather jacket and aviators, face covered in soot, a sawed-off shotgun in his hand, walking toward the camera in slow-motion as the landscape behind him goes up in a napalm explosion and burns until there’s nothing left. If that’s not the ideal projection for a closer’s song, I don’t know what is. Unfortunately, Chase Utley‘s already called shotgun on that song, and he uses it well. Time to look for something original.

My first inclination was John Murphy’s “Adagio in D Minor.” It’s a beautiful bit of composition, very storm-on-the-horizon, and while it lacks the in-your-face aggressiveness of “Hell’s Bells,” it’s every bit as capable of inspiring dread. It’s got one of the most intense and beautiful crescendos I can recall, a crescendo that doesn’t beat you to death with a lead pipe the way Metallica does, but instead toys with you for a while, then vaporizes you. It leaves you there to think about the terrible thing that’s going to happen. It’s no accident that Hans Zimmer wrote something eerily similar to close out Inception. In Sunshine, the movie where “Adagio in D Minor” made its debut, the theme symbolizes the inexorable destructive power of the Sun. Badass. Just what a closer wants.

The problem is that “Adagio in D Minor” starts out quietly and lasts more than four minutes. And because of the crescendo, it’s not like you can cut it up like a rock song. But lucky for us–Murphy’s theme was remixed and truncated for the strobe light fight scene in Kick-Ass. This version gets to the point in about a minute and a half. And I love it, but the problem is you can’t sing along. If you’re getting 45,000 people up and at ‘em, you need the song to be faster (and even the remix with its driving guitars doesn’t quite cut it) and have an identifiable melody and/or lyrics.

Which brings us to a song you need to try at least once this season, a song to warm the hearts of nations.

That’s right: “Ebolarama” by Every Time I Die. I really don’t like hardcore or screamo, and I don’t know enough about them to tell you which one this is, but “Ebolarama” checks all the boxes. First of all, having a different song for each outing is obnoxious. And this song is nothing if not obnoxious.

But in all seriousness, you want to rile up the crowd? Child, please. You know what people do to this song? They jump around and flail their limbs like imbeciles and scream at the top of their lungs. They run into each other on purpose. Two minutes into “Ebolarama,” Citizens Bank Park would be the scariest place in Pennsylvania. Try to hit in the clutch now, Jose Reyes. We’re going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge.

And perhaps more importantly, I want to direct you to the breakdown and final verse. In the span of four lines, you get these lyrics:

Run like hell
Run like hell
Run like hell
This is a rock and roll takeover

What image do you want to project to the crowd, and more importantly, to the batter, Jonathan Papelbon? I think the image of a rock and roll takeover is as good as any. Just thinking about those lyrics makes me want to beat a stranger to a bloody pulp with a golf club–I’d be shocked if using “Ebolarama” as your entrance song didn’t add at least four miles an hour to your fastball. This song is airborne adrenaline.

Mariano Rivera, by using “Enter Sandman” is saying to the hitter: “You know, I’m probably going to get you out.” You, Mr. Papelbon, by entering to “Ebolarama” say to the hitter: “HIT THIS, I DARE YOU! I DOUBLE DARE YOU!” Every Time I Die makes Metallica look like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Don’t bring that weak stuff, Johnno. Bring the truth, the unrefined, 195-proof filth. Be R-rated. Be in-your-face. Expose Rivera and Hoffman for the poseurs they are. Save 55 games. And thank me when all is said and done.

This has been a rock and roll takeover.

Love always,

-Michael Baumann
Crashburn Alley

 

 

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28 comments

  1. Cutter McCool

    April 14, 2012 06:16 PM

    Nope Bill Baer, he might as well use Dancing Queen than that.

    Can’t go wrong with the opening riffs of either “McFearless” by Kings of Leon or “Sinister Kid” by the Black Keys. But I doubt that Papelbon has heard of these songs any more than a sabermatrician has.

  2. Gaël

    April 14, 2012 06:29 PM

    Wait, are you trying to play the hipster card while talking about Kings of Leon and the Black Keys?

    Or is my sarcasm detector all out of whack again?

  3. dl

    April 14, 2012 06:40 PM

    I’d go with a heavy This or the Apocalypse tune, maybe even August Burns Red. They’re Pennsylvania local!

  4. Josh G

    April 14, 2012 06:41 PM

    Please. I listened to Kings of Leon and The Black Keyes back when they were cool.

  5. Conrad

    April 14, 2012 07:38 PM

    Cmon guys, Black Keyes? Kings of Leon? Everytime I Die? All of those are weak, girly bands. What Papelbon needs to use for his entrance song is some real heavy metal music – I’m talkin bout SLAAAAAYER!!!

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_7TMeDTX_U

    “Angel of Death, Monarch to the Kingdom of the dead! Infamous Butcher, Angel of Death!”

  6. Andrew Chrzanowski

    April 14, 2012 10:07 PM

    My first post here.

    I have always thought that “This is Now” would be the perfect intro to any intimidating pitcher. It’s definitely abrasive hardcore, but it has a positive message about confronting one’s challenges and the obstacles ahead.

  7. Cutter McCool

    April 14, 2012 10:30 PM

    @Josh G

    Poser. If you’re one of those hipsters who stops listening to a band when the become popular, you don’t deserve to listen to Brothers which surpasses even Thickfreakness.

  8. Dan K.

    April 14, 2012 10:45 PM

    I must admit, I really like hardcore music, but I laughed at this article (and the ensuing comments). That being said…

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqll3l_2ykI&ob=av2n

    If you include the crazy double bass at the end (around 3:28), that would make the hitters think they’re getting shot at by an AK-47. Or perhaps:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSPsrvnYbMg

    Any part of the song will do, really, but I feel the two first stanzas work best (“You’re afraid” “You been at it for years, but couldn’t reach the next level” “Let’s keep it real, this is no competition to me” are all fairly appropriate lines). Plus, hey, the name of the song totally fits.

    Well this was fun, back to analyzing baseball.

  9. soundofphilly

    April 15, 2012 01:20 AM

    What a bunch of fucking nerds. I’ll fight all of you. Except Bill.

  10. The Living End

    April 15, 2012 02:16 AM

    Quit screwing around and go for something local, something before all this nu metal slop, and something that says, “It’s all over, pally.” Delaware’s own Smashing Orange:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpfEmJ6FoIA

  11. Nate

    April 15, 2012 02:50 AM

    Unfortunately, while epic, none of these songs really reach any sort of frenzied climax or creep one out.

    May I humbly submit, for the approval of the Crashburn Alley readership, Justice’s dance remix of Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, entitled Stress (Pardon the graphic nature of the video, though I think this simply helps to illustrate the song’s suitability):

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY03BwHDmGQ

  12. The Howling Fantods

    April 15, 2012 07:59 AM

    Never change, Mr. Baumann. Thank you for leaving the hell of Phillies Nation.

  13. Sam

    April 15, 2012 08:43 AM

    I’d use Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell,” unless somebody already has it

  14. The Old HC

    April 15, 2012 09:45 AM

    How about the Victory notes (da-da-dadum)from Beethoven’s 5th with earth shaking bass- the fans could shout/sing “Yer butt is ours, yer butt is ours- this is the end, this is the end!”

  15. Eric

    April 15, 2012 10:49 PM

    Pantera – Cemetery Gates

  16. let's eat

    April 16, 2012 01:17 PM

    I dunno. I always though Snapcase-Caboose would do the trick. I mean…you’re the closer…coming in at the end of the game…not to mention…it makes people want to punch each other in the face.

  17. Max Power

    April 16, 2012 03:27 PM

    Does anyone prominent use “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden, cause that’d be awesome.

  18. Andrew

    April 16, 2012 05:18 PM

    What about Ozzy Osbourne “Let me hear you scream” thats a good loud song.

  19. phillycheese

    April 17, 2012 02:59 PM

    I’m in awe by how terrible most of these selections are. The Led Zepplin picks are alright, but both lack the necessary energy. Pantera, Hatebreed, and As Blood Runs Black, though? Are you kidding me? They’ll be dismissed as noise by the majority of fans, whether that’s right or not, so they’d be worthless as a closer’s entrance song. Few individuals, save some beer-swilling males, will actually get riled up to those tunes. Everyone else will just be confused, the the fan energy will disappear. C’mon, people.

  20. madison

    April 17, 2012 03:03 PM

    I like the suggestion of using Justice’s Stress. I’m not sure if it’s a very good choice for a closer’s entrance song, but the video reminded me of another, but far more ominous, electronica tune:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwMc91DQXHU

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