We’re three and two games into the respective League Championship Series, and already, it’s as if everything we expected (NLCS) and didn’t expect (ALCS) is happening. However, there are multiple things which I’m interested in writing about this year, so we’re expanding to another field I love – music. Specifically, rock music. Even more specifically, a completely arbitrary way to honor past acts with a designation which may or may not actually mean anything in the long run.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot was released last week, and it’s an interesting pool of candidates, bringing together a diverse and completely unrelated group of acts that may or may not actually have to do with rock itself. In order to fully analyze the ballot, I felt that the best way to do it was to look at their blurb on Wikipedia, listen to a song on YouTube, and then compare them with a player/manager from the four teams remaining in the postseason to which they (somewhat) relate. This is why I get my own column – sheer genius and ultra-spontaneous collaborations. Behold, my breakdown of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015 ballot!
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller’s coming to Baltimore after a trade injected their bullpen with that most valuable of postseason commodities, a long reliever who’s completely dominating. He’s yet to be scored on in this postseason. Meanwhile, Paul Butterfield infused classic rock with Chicago-blues driven harmonica playing. Yet, both depend upon others to really succeed – Butterfield as a supporting musician on multiple tracks, and Miller as a former starter who has only succeeded in relief. (See also: Davis, Wade)
(This column might be a bit of a stretch…)
Chic – Billy Butler
Chic is a rock band from the disco era, a relic of its time. The music is good, but their array of greatest hits is predominantly reliable, safe, made for the dancefloor. They don’t get too adventurous but they are relatively consistent. Billy Butler has been a consistent hitter for years (though he had a down year in 2014), and he knows how to shake it on the base paths.
Green Day – Mike Moustakas
The young punk is finally coming around in the postseason. It’s taken him a few years to really break out, but now he’s not only leading all postseason players in home runs, but also he’s already talking about recording a punk rock opera that will critique the political scene of the future. Also, he’s known for a fairly juvenile nickname (“Moose Dong”). Green Day has written songs about masturbation. (Okay, this column doesn’t really work as a concept, but you’ve read this far, why stop now?)
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz doesn’t give a damn about his bad reputation. What you should give a damn about is his postseason career record, and how he’s once again mashing the ball in October. Also, Joan Jett totally took steroids to achieve that hair. (This song included over the obvious choice (“I Love Rock and Roll”) because of the Freaks and Geeks connection.)
Kraftwerk – Ned Yost
Yeah, I have no idea what’s going on here. But it’s working. Same thing with Ned Yost.
The Marvelettes – Adam Wainwright
Wainwright was there in 2006, an early hitmaker (or hit-taker!) for the Cardinals in 2006. He was still there in 2011, churning out hits (or taking away hits!) in their most recent World Series victory. Here he is again, leading the staff as the Cards quest for a ring. The Marvelettes are one of the earliest group of hit-makers for Motown, and just a fantastic bit of nostalgia. I mean, who doesn’t love Motown?
N.W.A. – Buck Showalter
Bear with me.
N.W.A. are a pioneering hip-hop group, along with Public Enemy and Run-DMC. They weren’t afraid to voice controversial opinions, or to make bold statements with their music. Shoot, this is Dr. Dre and Ice Cube at their most pure. Meanwhile, Showalter has never been afraid to be one of baseball’s most outspoken managers. His decision to intentionally walk the winning run in Game Three of the LDS in order to get the double play is, one might say, a managerial move that’s Straight Outta Compton. So, if you look at it through that light, Buck Showalter is totally like N.W.A.
(Welp, that happened.)
Nine Inch Nails – Bruce Bochy
Like Trent Reznor, Bochy knows how to manage a cast of supporting players. He runs his bullpen like a master artist. He gets the most out of veterans and rookies alike. He knows what’s up. Also, something about him terrifies me. Not sure what. Maybe the menacing stare.
Lou Reed – Jake Peavy
Peavy’s best years (when he was a Cy Young winner) are behind him, but he’s still a quality/dominating starting pitcher. Lou Reed has, sadly, passed on, but his music remained fantastic. His best work may have come with Velvet Underground, yet he continued to churn out his own peculiar sound, beholden to nobody. In addition, like Peavy, the Velvets weren’t truly appreciated in their time. Also, every now and then, Peavy has been known to take a walk on the wild side.
The Smiths – Pablo Sandoval
The Smiths certainly have their array of weaknesses, yet they are one of the most seminal original bands to ever exist. Sandoval certainly has his flaws, yet he’s continually stepped up in October, has a devoted cult following, and looks like he might be a sad panda every now and then, especially when you ask him if he’s likely to stay in San Francisco after this year.
The Spinners – Madison Bumgarner
Smooth, silky R&B. Consistent, like fine wine. Bumgarner has crowned himself the ace of the postseason, having already thrown 23.2 innings with a 0.76 ERA. Whenever you need him, he’ll be there.
Sting – Buster Posey
Sting has already received awards and honors for his work with The Police at the Rock Hall. Posey already has an MVP and two Series rings to his credit. And yet they both make such beautiful music. Masters of their craft.
Stevie Ray Vaughn – Yadier Molina
He just knows how to play. The Cardinals are better when Yadier Molina is playing – take a look at their record this year with Molina (69-53), and without (21-19). This world was undoubtedly better with Stevie Ray Vaughan. And now Molina may be out indefinitely with a strained left oblique. These are sad days for fans of the blues and of the St. Louis Cardinals. (Probably for fans of the St. Louis Blues as well.)
War – Lorenzo Cain
In both cases, we see “that’s what speed do”. In Lorenzo Cain’s case, it means excellent base running, superb skills with the bat, and otherworldly outfield defense. In War’s case, it’s actually speed. Pure unfiltered speed.
Bill Withers – Matt Wieters
Withers recorded a number of fantastic hits which we’ve all heard a thousand times without being able to put the name to. “Lovely Day”. “Lean on Me”. “Use Me”. “Just the Two of Us”. Seriously, that voice. That talent. This is a case where I looked him up 0n YouTube and went “Oh, this is who sang all those songs I love?!” And it’s amazing. <goes out and buys a greatest hits collection because damn>
What does this have to do with Matt Wieters? Well, not a whole lot. I wanted to get another Oriole in here, and ran out of appropriate players to use. Their last names both start with W? The most I can think of is that Wieters has been out for much of the year, and is probably singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” alone in his hotel room with every win. Yeah, you would too. It’s okay. We’re all here for you.
So, who do I think gets into the Rock Hall this year, you ask? Well, probably Green Day and Nine Inch Nails for sure. I’d bet on Lou Reed riding sentimental value into the hall, and the same for Stevie Ray Vaughan, though he’s been trying for years now. Joan Jett is considered by some to be a no-brainer. Bill Withers would be awesome. Truthfully, there are absolutely no standards unless you’re a megaband who influenced music so overtly that it’s impossible not to hear them anywhere you go. (See Green Day and Nine Inch Nails). Therefore, you’re more likely to see Buck Showalter record a charity album with Ice Cube before you see an accurate prediction of the vote. Besides, does it really matter? The Rock Hall’s symbolic meaning has all the weight of a sacrifice bunt: a relic of a time when rock dominated the landscape, given over to an ever-changing taste of popular music.
Enough of this tomfoolery. I’ve kept you here long enough. Let’s get back to baseball. After all, those teams are getting rusty. And rust never sleeps. (The baseball equivalent of Neil Young does not exist. Neil Young is a singularity.)