In baseball, it seems, there's a Rocker and there are rockers. On March 14 a dozen present and former major leaguers released Big League Rocks! (EMD, $16.98), a compilation CD of mostly original material to benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust for Children. Our ratings of selected cuts, in the order in which they're heard:
Mark Langston, Welcome to the Show: Indians southpaw starts this party playing acoustic guitar on a Jump-era—Van Halen-flavored rendering. When we played it backward, we thought we heard, "I'm still waiting for that called third strike on Tino Martinez." Rating: Two-base hit.
Paul O'Neill, Just Like Baseball: Yankees rightfielder-drummer backs up an uncredited vocalist with a driving tempo. One-base hit.
Jack McDowell, Silence: Black Jack rocks! Cy Young winner sings lead and plays guitar on a hell-bent rocker that conjures REM's Orange Crush. Homer.
Bernie Williams, Eye of the Storm: No aromatherapist's office should be without this lithe, mellow jazz instrumental from the Yankees centerfielder-guitarist. Two-base hit.
Ernie Banks, Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Backed, it seems, by every drunk on Waveland Avenue, Mr. Cub sings one yeoman chorus, followed by a second. Let's play two? Let's not. Whiff.
Jose Lima, La Gozadera (The Party): Is the Astros' All-Star the next stellar Latin crossover singer? If so, he needs better pitch. Fielder's choice.