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Musical inspiration

Theme songs for MLB teams in contention

Posted: Monday July 31, 2006 3:32PM; Updated: Monday July 31, 2006 4:04PM
Steve Perry
A.J. Pierzynski (left) and Joe Crede (right) joined Journey singer Steve Perry in 2005 for a rendition of 'Don't Stop Believin' during the White Sox' World Series rally.
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You know the baseball postseason is fast approaching when your favorite team suddenly and inexplicably adopts a theme or a theme song. This isn't mandatory, and the baseball purists probably hate the idea, but it happens every year -- and it seems to work. Last season, of course, the White Sox selected Journey's Don't Stop Believin', going so far as to bring Steve Perry along during the World Series, probably interrupting him as he sorted through offers for a celebreality gig from VH1. The 2004 Red Sox had Nelson de la Rosa and his incredible "Mahow" song and dance, while the Angels continue to rely on their Rally Monkey.

So before the postseason arrives, in the spirit of some of my previous iPod playlist columns, here are some suggestions for possible theme songs for the various teams with October in their sights.

National League Division Leaders

New York Mets: This is a team that needs to go retro, to give a nod to the freewheeling '86 Mets. The biggest obstacle, though, is that the No. 1 song in 1986 was That's What Friends Are For, which would be a heckuva downer in a winning clubhouse. Steve Winwood's Higher Love and Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer both also dropped in '86, but I think the obvious choice here, for a team with so many players hailing from across various waters, is Billy Ocean's When the Going Gets Tough (the Tough Get Going). And if Ocean isn't available to travel with the Mets, they could call on Michael Finley, since he and Ocean look exactly alike.

St. Louis Cardinals: I've always thought the Cards were sort of a vanilla team. Not to disparage them, but like Tony La Russa's mullet, they're strictly always about their business. So to shake it up a little and provide some kick in the clubhouse, let's go with Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. It could be interpreted as a nod to the strange times when Mark McGwire was hitting 8,000-foot home runs, or for this year's team and its fans it could represent their resiliency and a hidden wild streak. As Cee-Lo sings, "All I remember is thinking I want to be like them."

San Diego Padres: Avast, mateys! That's right, someone out there needs to co-opt a Pirates of the Caribbean theme. Hey, the movie franchise came out of nowhere to become a runaway success and set box-office records. The Pads are on the coast, so let's get Mike Piazza to grow out the goatee and wear some mascara (not that there's anything wrong with that), then get an undead monkey for Bruce Bochy's shoulder and put him in a Captain Barbosa costume. It's too bad the Pittsburgh Pirates stink or this would be all theirs.