I have no idea who or what Omega El Fuerte is. But if it's good enough for Texas Rangers' fireballin' phenom Neftali Feliz, it's good enough for me.
When the ridiculous rookie enters a game over the weekend in a crucial series against the Seattle Mariners, he'll be serenaded by cheers from frenzied fans and by the pulsating sounds of Omega - a hot Latin artist from his Dominican Republic - courtesy of Rangers' in-game entertainmant guru Chuck Morgan.
We've come a long way from a simple organ hitting a couple a notes as Major League batters stride to the plate or jog in from the bullpen. Go to a game in Arlington and you'll be reminded that the Rangers are, indeed, a little bit country, a little bit Rock & Roll and a whole lotta rap.
"Back in the day, organists in ballparks use to play something that had to do with the player's name or where he was from," says Morgan, who got his start in AA ball in Nashville in the late '70s. "That evolved into the playing of records for names and homes. Today, youth leagues, high schools, colleges and minor league teams all have access to music systems where music can be played with the click of a mouse. So a lot of these players, by the time they get to the big leagues, have had music played for them from youth leagues on."
You work out to your iPod; baseball players have Morgan.
Went to Rangers Ballpark last week and before a lazy, sparsely attended doubleheader, suddenly Korn was blaring through the speakers as Ian Kinsler came to the plate. Suddenly, the Rangers sounded like a shot of 5-hour Engergy. As the night wore on I heard some Brooks & Dunn, Gorilla Zoe and - when Frankie Francisco was summoned to close consecutive wins - something called Mambo Gago, this crazy ditty with a kickin' back beat but also what sounded like New York City cabbies laying on their horns.
"I start getting the list together around the first of March," says Morgan. "Some guys change daily, some change by homestand and some will hear something on the road or on the radio and change when they get back from a road trip. But this year, we've had very few changes."
If the record ain't broke, don't change it. Right?
Morgan was kind enough to send me the Rangers' full playlist. Some of the songs you'll recognize. As it seems we're headed for meaningful October baseball, the rest you better start becoming familiar with.
My review: Josh Hamilton went Christian, Kinsler and Michael Young kick it old school, Jason Grilli has the best taste on the team and the stoic, effective Darren O'Day picked the most fitting tune.
Josh Hamilton Saved The Day/ Phillips, Craig and Dean
Chris Davis I Got It/Gorilla Zoe Come Around/Collie Buddz
Marlon Byrd Work/Gangstarr
Kevin Millwood Back Roads/Brandon Rhyder
Nelson Cruz Amen/Daddy Yankee Somos De Calle/Daddy Yankee
Jarrod Saltalamacchia Hillbilly Deluxe/Brooks & Dunn
Michael Young Sure Shot/Sabotage Slow and Low/Beastie Boys
David Murphy Strong Tower/Kitless
Hank Blalock Whereabouts Unknown/Rise Against
Elvis Andrus You Know You Want Me/Pitbull El Chombo/Chacarron
Ian Kinsler Black Betty/Ram Jam Make Room-The Alkaholics
Eddie Guardado Low Rider/War
C J. Wilson Call Me Up/Romeo
Taylor Teagarden Ice Cream Paint Job/Dorrough
Frank Francisco Mambo Gaga
Julio Borbon La Fuga/Daddy Yankee
Jason Grilli All My Life/Foo Fighters
Darren O'Day Poker Face/Lady Gaga
Neftali Feliz Omega El Fuerte
Derek Holland Welcome to Heartbreak/Kanye West