Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Rockies 9, Royals 4
2005-06-26 16:07
by Mark T.R. Donohue

For fun (and also because I am quite sick of George Frazier) I watched the game today with the sound off and my iPod on shuffle. The results were interesting.

Top of the first: As Joe Kennedy took the mound, the Stooges’ “Your Pretty Face is Going to [Heck]” comes on. That can’t be a good omen, I think, and it isn’t, as Joe first loads the bases then lets a grounder go right through him on its way to scoring two runs. Before Kennedy gets out of the inning, Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” (the version from Biograph) plays in its entirety. This could mean one of two things, I ponder. Either the Rockies are going to score a bunch of runs and get Joe off the hook, or he’s not long for this game.

Bottom of the first: Jose Lima’s entry theme is “Welcome to the Terrordome” by Public Enemy, and the terror in question I believe is in relation to Lima’s frightening blonde dye job. Or the fact that Eddy Garabito is the Rockies’ leadoff hitter today. Garrett Atkins doubles to the Dismemberment Plan’s “One Too Many Blows to the Head,” which may well be the explanation for Lima’s hair. Lima gets his glove knocked of by a Todd Helton liner just in time for the trombone solo. His facial expression after Helton reaches on the infield hit looks appropriate for trombone accompaniment. Preston Wilson knocks the Rockies’ first run as “Brooklyn Zoo” by ODB kicks in. I don’t know what this presages. Maybe a trade to New York? Anyway, Helton scores on a groundout as Ol’ Dirty taunts Lima. I can’t here repeat how, but it sure made me laugh.

Top of the second: Calexico’s funky instrumental “Attack El Robot! Attack!” is on as we resume play, and strangely there are motorycles on the field. The promotional significance of this escapes me because I don’t have the sound on. Next, as Lima singles with one out, we have “Temporarily Blind” by Built to Spill. Now I’m going to watch the ball-strike calls very closely. Nothing controversial occurs, though, as David DeJesus lines to Helton, who tags a sheepish Lima out for an easy double play.

Bottom of the second: “Come Around,” Sugar. But what’s coming around? The Rockies’ offense? Lima’s season? Clint Hurdle’s shocking midgame firing? Maybe it’s J.D. Closser’s bat; the onscreen statistics seem to bear it out. Or maybe not, he pops up. Joe Kennedy lays down a sacrifice bunt. Uh-oh, here we have “Refugee,” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Not too difficult to apply that to the current situation. On cue, Garabito flies out to strand the runner.

Top of the third: No Frank White on Frazier’s list of the top five all-time Royals? Anyway, the soundtrack for this inning is Radiohead’s “We [Blank] Young Blood,” which is what their respective leagues are doing to the pink-cheeked Royals and Rockies. Kennedy goes 1-2-3, how ‘bout that?

Bottom of the third: Yo La Tengo’s “Double Dare,” as Shane Costa robs Atkins of a double. Lima goes 1-2-3 too.

Top of the fourth: Death Cab For Cutie’s “Surprisingly, Kennedy Continues to Cruise.” OK, I made that up, it’s “Little Fury Bugs.”

Bottom of the fourth: Over the commercial we had “I Got a Woman,” by Ray Charles, which doesn’t have anything to do with baseball but sure gets you moving in your seat. Next up: The Descendents’ “Mr. Bass.” OK, it’s a song about a fish, I got nothing there. The lack of synergy is really hurting the Rockies’ offense, as Lima sets them down in order once again.

Top of the fifth: The Vines, “Autumn Shade.” Well, I assure you come autumn no one on the national scene is going to be paying attention to either of these teams. Perhaps I’m stretching a bit. As Jurassic 5’s “I Am Somebody” livens the mood in my living room, Alberto Castillo livens up the game by singling. My sources however tell me that Castillo is not somebody. Ben Folds kicks into “You To Thank” and we have Lima to thank as he fails to get a bunt down and the Royals mount no further threat.

Bottom of the fifth: By this time I’m wondering if I turn the shuffle off and start picking songs manually I can affect the teams’ play. Maybe next game. Closser singles and Kennedy executes his second sacrifice of the afternoon. The Replacements’ “Bent Out of Shape” is the song and Lima certainly looks so on the replay from the last half-inning, after he struck out bunting. For the second time this game, Colorado gets an infield single off of Jose Lima’s glove as Atkins sends Closser home. A long Todd Helton at-bat takes almost the whole length of Joy Division’s “Disorder,” but it ends happily as Todd doubles down the rightfield line to score Atkins. Momentary disorder ensues in the visitors’ dugout as the Royals start getting some relievers up. “Reconnez Cherie,” Wreckless Eric, starts going as Preston Wilson steps in. Hmm, maybe a trade to Washington, formerly from that French-speaking Canadian province? Preston draws the unintentional intentional walk. Brad Hawpe walks, too, and Elvis Costello’s “That’s How You Got Killed Before” comes on. I hope this means what I think it does. It’s the end of the line for Lima, at least. It looks like Andy Sisco will be the Royals’ next pitcher. He’ll enter to Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song,” which seems appropriate enough for a Rule 5 guy. Sisco strikes out pinch-hitter Dustan Mohr, but the Rockies have gotten Joe Kennedy his lead.

Top of the sixth: “Be Mine,” by R.E.M. I’m not sure if I’m ready to ask Joe Kennedy to go steady quite yet, but he keeps this up, who knows. With two outs, Joe gives up a single to Mark Teahen, and I burst out laughing as a song by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, of which two of the three words in the title are inappropriate, bursts out and Kennedy notches his sixth strikeout. Ha ha, Royals ain’t [blank] but [blank] and [blank].

Bottom of the sixth: Kid Million’s “Unwanted Toy.” Kid Million were a mid-‘90s band from my hometown of Chicago, and this song could apply to Sisco, who the Cubs didn’t want. Desi Relaford draws a walk and steals second. Closser moves Relaford over with a flyout, and…what’s this, Kennedy is going to hit for himself. OK, Clint. But hey look, the Rockies perfectly execute the suicide squeeze, and it’s 5-2. It’s Dylan again, “Maggie’s Farm,” and I’m not sure what to make of that. The relationship between Hurdle and Dan O’Dowd, perhaps: “He gives you a nickel and he gives you a dime, and he asks you if you’re having a good time.” The Rockies are playing like a pocketful of shiny quarters today, as Garabito and Atkins follow the sacrifice play with back-to-back singles. A coach’s visit to the mound is underscored by 2Pac’s “Keep Ya Head Up,” which is kind of funny. Either the coach’s words or 2Pac’s must have done the trick, because Sisco pops out Helton to end the inning.

Top of the seventh: Alejandro Escovedo’s “The Last to Know” includes a phrase that could be applied to Dan Miceli, now up in the Colorado bullpen: “more miles than money.” Apparently I am the last to know that Joe Kennedy has been replaced by a strike-throwing lefty cyborg from the future. Seriously, this is the best he’s looked all year. His pitch count is under a hundred, too -- he could finish this thing.

Bottom of the seventh: “Tho Dem Wrappas,” by noted Cardinal fan Nelly. He’s obviously referring to Kennedy’s curveball, which has wrapped nicely to the fringes of the strike zone all day today. On TV some kids are”tho”-ing things from the press box into the stands below. Leo Nuñez -- the Leo Nuñez â€" is on the mound for Kansas City. “Angel” by Belly is the next song to come up and amazingly, Dustan Mohr, originally drafted by the Angels in 1994, hits a homer. OK, he didn’t sign, but still, that’s pretty cool. Superchunk’s “Becoming a Speck” follows, obviously regarding the Royals’ chances of pulling out a victory in this one. Poor Nuñez is getting brutalized out there as Desi Relaford smokes one to right for a triple.

Top of the eighth: The title track from Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter plays over the commercials and the very beginning of the inning, as Jay Witasick takes the bump for the Rockies. Like any good Colo-blogger would, I will take this as proof of the Rockies’ bright future. Next track is Elvis Costello’s “Girls Talk,” for which I have nothing. If you’re a girl and were talking about the Rockies during the top of the eighth of today’s game, please let me know. I must be hitting a cold streak, because as Witasick is walking Tony Graffanino, “The Abandoned Hospital Ship” by the Flaming Lips starts up. I don’t have any idea what any of the Flaming Lips’ songs are about, let alone what their tenuous connections to Colorado baseball may be. Maybe something about the disabled list somehow?

Bottom of the eighth: “After This Time is Gone,” by Eleventh Dream Day, which is just a flat-out great song. Let’s see -- after this game, I will probably watch another baseball game. I may have a bowl of cereal. And I will almost certainly go get another Diet Coke. Mike MacDougal enters to pitch for the Royals to another classic, Yo La Tengo’s “As the Hour Grows Late.” It’s the bottom of the eighth -- the hour could hardly be later. Ooh, and MacDougal pegs Eddy Garabito, right in the small of the back. That looked like it hurt. The Clash’s “The Guns of Brixton” is the soundtrack for the Rockies piling it on, as Atkins doubles to score two. He’s having a nice little game. I would have to say he and Kennedy have been the biggest beneficiaries of the iPod experiment thus far. Nirvana’s “Pennyroyal Tea" hmm, that one stumps me. Good song, though. Still nobody out as Helton walks and Wilson steps up again. Let’s see, where’s he going to be traded this inning? Well, his song is The Orb’s “Pomme Fritz,” so to England, I guess. Or to A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Center of the Ultraworld. Wilson walks and there’s still nobody out. The Royals finally get a force at home on a Brad Hawpe ground ball. Ooh, and new reliever Jonah Bayliss plunks Desi to force in another run. Rockies 9, Royals 2.

Top of the ninth: I swear upon all that is holy that I am not making this up: Entering the triumphant final half-inning of this convincing sweep, the iPod coughed out Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Really. No, really. I haven’t made anything up so far, so why would I now? I was hoping that that Orb song was Björk, because Preston Wilson being traded to Iceland is much funnier than England, and I really couldn’t tell at first. But I stuck to the truth. And it’s all paid back in spades. Come to think of it, why don’t they play “Purple Rain” after every Rockies home win the way they do “Dirty Water” in Boston or “Na Na, Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” on the South Side of Chicago? I guess all of those extended lighters would constitute some kind of fire hazard. Great, great song though. And a pretty nice win, too. Remember, the Royals swept the Yankees earlier this season. Anyway, David Cortes comes in to mop up for Colorado over the funkin' strains of OutKast's "Player's Ball." Bring on the Astros! Oh, wait, Matt Anderson is coming in with two out and nobody on. Well, I supposed it can't hurt for him to pitch to a batter or two in a low-leverage situation. To Superchunk's "Tiny Bombs," Matt Stairs hits a pinch-hit two-run homer. Terrence Long singles, and finally Anderson induces a lineout to end it. Well, that could have could have gone a little more smoothly. We'll take the W's any way they come.

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