A to Z is a diehard Cleveland Indians fan. (We shall not speak of this past weekend's near miss.) But our favorite team in the National League is, of course, the Cardinals.
While much of Busch Stadium's musical ambiance is supplied by organist Ernie Hays (see this week's feature story), each Cards player has his own theme song for psyching-up purposes as he steps into the batter's box. Slugger Larry Walker? Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." Leadoff man David Eckstein? "Number One Spot" by Ludacris. Jim Edmonds? Repping the Lou, he's using Nelly's "Errtime" (after pimping J-Kwon's "Tipsy" last year).
As the team embarks on its postseason odyssey, I'd like to suggest a few other tunes that might be appropriate, ones that highlight the best attributes of Cardinals players.
Fall Out Boy, "Sugar, We're Goin' Down": This pop-punk tune is an anthem for the acne-and-algebra set (and its chorus involves a boxing metaphor). But the rousing "And Sugar, we're going down swinging" is tailor-made for Carpenter's flame-throwin' arm.
Gwen Stefani, "Hollaback Girl": OK, so Ms. No Doubt's tune is, in reality, a fierce kiss-off to sleazy catcallers. But the underrated Tavarez should take Stefani's self-confidence and ability to deflect criticism to heart -- especially when fans are unhappy with his performance and not shy about telling him about it.
Fat Joe (featuring Nelly), "Get it Poppin'": The ex-Pittsburgh Pirate got to unleash ("pop") the first Champagne cork after the Cards clinched the Central. On a grander scale, the scrappy infielder revved his career into high gear after Scott Rolen's injury and reached lifetime bests in homers, RBI and batting average.
John Cage, "4' 33"": The baby-faced outfielder requests that no music play as he digs in at the plate. This tune -- featuring four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence -- respects his wishes while acknowledging So's worthiness.
Coldplay, "Speed of Sound": Ace closer Isringhausen is a lot like Coldplay's piano-laden smash single: earnest, reliable and so predictably good that flashier athletes overshadow him. But the band and the player both get the job done, the latter with an arsenal of pitches that's as varied as a Thanksgiving dinner spread.
Lil' Wayne, "Fireman": Like the youthful New Orleans rapper, nobody puts out fires better than the veteran Eldred, whose 2.19 ERA anchored the Cards bullpen.
30 Seconds to Mars, "Attack": This synth-and-screamo number could apply to many Cards players, but Sanders deserves the tune all to himself. In only 93 games he creamed 21 dingers and was on pace for a dynamite season had it not been for that broken leg.
Ludacris, "Pimpin' All Over the World": Replace "pimpin'" with "tattooing the ball" and "world" with "rest of the league," and this big-talking tune about sums up Pujols' talent. Dominating games is what our MVP does best.
The Cardinals team
The Offspring, "Can't Repeat": The Offspring may be the Atlanta Braves of alt-punk -- a maddeningly consistent group that won't go away -- but their newest single serves as a blunt reminder: Let's make sure last year's World Series collapse against the Boston Red Sox doesn't happen again.
Bunnygrunt's Matt Harnish and KDHX's Jason Rerun (he of Scene of the Crime radio-show fame) are embarking on a project to celebrate the early local punk and new-wave scene. The pair is looking for photos, videos, tapes, show flyers and any other remnants of these nascent years, as well as people involved in that era who might live out of town or have retired from rock-show-going and have memories to contribute. Anyone with artifacts or reminisces to share can e-mail email@example.com.
Last month we launched a new local-music column called Beat Happenings, written by clubs editor Kristyn Pomranz. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with recording news, CD release parties, one-off events and anything and everything else local-scene-related.