Friday, March 23, 2007

The Real Way The Sox Should Be Looking For A Closer

The hot topic around the hot stove concerns who should be the Closer for our beloved Boston Red Sox. Sure, today they say it's Papelbon, but how long until they change their minds? Sabermetricians trot out stats like ERA, WHIP, VORP and BAC (Tony Larussa only), but I think the only way we can appropriately make this decision is to do it is song- style. What potential Closer would have the best entrance song? Don't think it's important? Tell that to Mariano Rivera and Billy Wagner when "Enter Sandman" rocks the Big Apple.

The perfect Closer entrance song needs 3 things.

1)Intimidation Factor


3)Crowd Response (Fenway's a weird place to gage this. Where else would you get to hear a Neil Diamond sing-along, 2 Phish songs and Brass Bonanza a.k.a the Hartford Whalers' goal song in the same place? )

With that, let's take a look at the prospective Closers.

The Frontrunners:

Jonathan Papelbon - "Cherub Rock" by Smashing Pumpkins:
The choice for Closer that makes the most sense gets a song that makes a whole lot of sense. Pap is young enough to still look cherubic, and face it, the dude rocks. More importantly, the man's been a Fenway legend since early last April and needs a song to reflect it. A double drum roll into a soft buildup then full-tilt rocking. Sounds about right.

Julian Tavarez - "Nightmare" by 123: I love this guy. Not only did he pitch great when all hope was lost last year, not only did he give up an important home run to Mark Bellhorn in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series, not only did he punch a phone and break his hand when he got upset, not only does he act as Manny Ramirez's personal spokesman BUT he bears an UNCANNY resemblance to Freddy Krueger. The theme song to A Nightmare on Elm Street is just too perfect.

Mike Timlin - "With A Bullet" by Sam Roberts Band: A lot of pitchers like to go with song's they remember from their childhood, unfortunately, I don't think Fenway's soundsystem could handle Beethoven's Fifth (Zing!). I went with a Canadian band so Timlin could channel his heyday as a Blue Jay. Also, there's the fact that he's wearing those weird camo undershirts offering up the 97% probability that he does have live ammunition in his pockets while pitching. Sadly, Mike will start the year on the DL, so we may never know.

Joel Piniero - "Nothing Man" by Pearl Jam: Entrance songs are supposed to strike fear in the heart's of men. Unfortunately, in Piniero's case, most of those men are Red Sox fans. "Nothing Man" would work if he ends up being terrible, and it could end up being intimidating if he's any good. It's always good to note that Theo Epstein is a huge Pearl Jam fan, and hearing this song every few days could be the difference between staying in Boston and being traded for a case of Skoal.

Brendan Donnelly - "El Scorcho" by Weezer: Remember when Weezer made two absolutely amazing albums, then made three kinda crappy/just OK albums? Well Donnelly had two absolutely amazing seasons (ERA under 2) and followed it up with three kinda crappy/just OK seasons (ERA around 3.5). Also, he wears glasses, I'm sure Rivers Cuomo will be thrilled.

Maybe Yes, Maybe No:

Craig Hansen - "You're So Last Summer" by Taking Back Sunday: Wasn't it last summer when we were all stoked about the Craig Hansen era, then it turned out he only threw fast balls and really struggled throwing any breaking stuff (like the pitching version of Pedro Serrano feat. Jobu)? Either he learned how to pitch this off-season, or he'll be doing it in Pawtucket.

Manny Delcarmen - "Can't You Hear Me Knockin?" by The Rolling Stones: Out of all the young guys, I think he is ready to take the next step. The fact that I'm so enamored with him may or may not be indirectly related to him choosing to live in my hometown. If his career is anything like the Stones, he'll be epic for a decade or two, then do nothing relevant for a longer portion of time than he was actually epic.

Hideki Okajima - "From The Ritz To The Rubble" by Arctic Monkeys:
Okajima was a well-known player in Japan, now he's known as the Japanese guy on the Red Sox who isn't Daisuke Matsuzaka. Good times.

J.C. Romero - "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)" by The White Stripes: J.C.'s ERA is hovering around a touchdown. Don't call us, we'll call you.

The Longshots:

Curt Schilling - "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd: Depending on what version you play, Freebird lasts anywhere from 9 to 10 minutes. This should give him ample time to talk to the media, blog, finish a mission or two on Everquest, stump for a presidential candidate, and consider running for public office on his way from the bullpen to the mound.

Rich "El Guapo" Garces - "Rico Suave" by Gerardo: Natch.

Matt Clement - "Foreplay/Longtime" by Boston: "It's been such a long time, think I should be going. Time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rolling." See ya Matt. For the record, I think you were rushed back from injury and never pitched fully healthy, but I'm in the minority. Good luck dominating us in the future.

Roger Clemens - "I'll Believe In Anything" by Wolf Parade: Self explanatory

For The Record:

Me - "Take On Me" by A-Ha: My entrance would be of multimedia legend. As the best 80's song ever played, the JumboTron would show highlights of me, half in sketch, half in video, striking people out. It would be worth the price of admission alone.

And, I think making Papelbon Closer is a good move for the Sox this year, and, for once, it's the right move.