|Roy Mitchell didn't make the rotation, but might|
be a good long man out of the bullpen.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs
Division Washington, D.C.
The bullpen gate opens and out strides Sparky Lyle, as the Yankee Stadium public address system suddenly blares the opening bars of..."Pomp and Circumstance"? It's the first time a reliever has entered a game with his own theme song. And Lyle feels it just doesn't work for him. After the game - after successfully getting George Scott out to finish it off - he puts it on hold.
Theme music worked for Gorgeous George, when he used "Pomp and Circumstance" in the 1950s, and later "Macho Man" Randy Savage would use the same tune, but theme music for pro wrestlers didn't become commonplace until the 1980s. Baseball, the sport that held Disco Demolition Night, used organ music, and fans would have to know tunes (without hearing the lyrics) to catch the connections (snake charmer music for Dave "The Cobra" Parker, for instance). Now, though, especially since the fictitious Ricky Vaughn first strode onto the field to "Wild Thing" in 1989 in Major League, every baseball player has his own music, it seems. During the 2010 World Series, whenever Shane Victorino walked to the plate for the Red Sox, 33,000 fans sang in unison, "Every little thing gonna be alright." Music, more than ever, is a part of the game.
Bucky Walters and Frank Viola make for a solid one-two punch at the start of the rotation, and Joe Mauer definitely stands out among his peers, so we'll go with them.
Walters (198-160, 3.30 ERA) will get us started from the number on spot, and Frankie V (176-150, 3.73) backs him up ably. Even our third and fourth starters give us a good chance with each game. Zach Duke (58-83, 4.39 and still pitching) may not have the best record, but in today's game his ERA is adequate for a back-of-the-rotation guy, as was Scot Kamieniecki's (53-59, 4.52). Since we have the Lyle story, and since, on this date we had the first-ever Presidential relief opening day ceremonial first pitch tosser (Vice President James Sherman threw it out in place of President William Howard Taft, who was mourning the loss of a friend on the Titanic) we'll look at a few relievers. John Wyatt is a shoe-in with his 103 saves, and George Sherrill is next with his 56.We'll also take Ambiriox Burgos for his 20, as well as his name. Fred Mauer will join us, too, so at least at one moment in time we can say that the battery is Mauer and Mauer.
Joe (.313, 120 HR, 762 RBI) will catch and Spike Owen (.246, 46, 439) will play short. Jose Cruz (.247, 204, 624, 113 SB, and not that Jose Cruz, but his son, also the nephew of Hector and Tommy) will play left. Rick Miller (.269, 28, 369) will play center and Alberto Callaspo (.265, 52, 369 - the same number of RBI as Miller) will start at second so we can have room for Whitey Kurowski (.286, 106, 529) at third, he of the four all-star games in a nine-year career. R.J. Reynolds (.267, 35, 294, 109 SB) takes right field, and Bill Greenwood (.226, 8, 185, 194 SB) will step out of the nineteenth century to play short. Harry Craft, Chick Shorten and Nat Hicks will all back up the outfield.
And somewhere, music plays, as a batter steps to the plate. Our game being global means that music is always playing on a baseball field somewhere, even if it's just in the head of the kid who believes he's the next Nat Hicks.
The Round Numbers
Hits Allowed: John Wyatt, 600.
Walks Allowed: Dennys Reyes, 400.