No visit to South Philly is complete without a soundtrack and the songs chosen by the Phillies give fans a pretty good one to listen to. http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/fan_forum/player_songs.jsp
Fans know they are at Citizen’s Bank Park and Cliff Lee is set to pitch the moment they hear Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” blaring from the speakers.
As it should be, Phillies fans exit the stadium victorious to a decidedly different tune: “High Hopes,” as sung by the late, great Phillies announcer Harry Kalas. The familiar refrain never fails to produce a crowd sing-a-long or the occasional tear.
No matter how this season turns out, it demands a playlist of its own. From the Phillies’ unexpected drop from contention to the team’s equally surprising climb back in, the drama is worthy of an appropriate soundtrack.
Track one: “Train Kept a Rollin’,” by Aerosmith
This one’s for Phillies catcher Carlos “Chooch Train” Ruiz. He steamed through the season’s first four months, leading National League catchers in nearly every category. Ruiz carried the team until a foot injury derailed him—fortunately he is now getting back on track.
Track two: “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” John Denver
Sometimes addition does result from subtraction. Still, the departures of Jim Thome, Joe Blanton, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino suggested otherwise. Blanton and Victorino helped secure a parade down Broad Street in 2008 and Thome and Pence helped put the “Fightin’” in Phillies, so they all remain missed.
Track three: “Tempted by the Fruit of Another,” Squeeze
In August, a contingent of Phillies fans became fickle. Empty seats appeared, as did jerseys of other teams. Citizens Bank Bark suddenly looked like Veterans Stadium in the late 1990s. Phillies from that era even materialized on the field to induct former catcher Mike Lieberthal into the Phillies Hall of Fame.
Track four: “The Boys are Back in Town,” Thin Lizzy
One by one the players came back. First came the “Big Piece,” Ryan Howard. He doubled in his first at bat. Next came Chase Utley who, to the familiar refrain of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” stepped into the batter’s box. He promptly hit one over the wall in left center. If fans listened, they could hear Harry Kalas humming.
Track five: “New Kid in Town,” The Eagles
Domonic Brown is, once more, the future that once was. The Phillies’ heralded prospect, often injured and unimpressive while called up each of the last two years, is at last showing some promise. Brown’s batting average remains anemic, but the young outfielder is solid on defense and is beginning to show some pop at the plate.
Track six: “We Can Be Heroes,” David Bowie
Kevin Frandsen is unlikely to supplant Michael Jack Schmidt at third base anytime soon in anyone's mind. It is equally hard to foresee the future of recent additions, such as Nate Schierholtz and Erik Kratz. Lately, though, all have contributed to the Phillies resurgence. For now, that is enough.
Track seven: “Run Like Hell,” Pink Floyd
All Juan Pierre does is get on base. Then, he steals second. In fact, rare is the night he goes hitless. He does whatever the team asks and always provides a spark in the process. Pierre is hitting nearly 20 points above his career average this season and remains a terror on the basepaths.
Track eight: “Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor
There had to be a Rocky theme somewhere—this is a Philly list after all. Besides, manager Charlie Manuel still has it—the eye of the tiger, that is. Despite everything this season, the Phillies skipper has remained committed to winning, each and every day. Manuel insists that players play like they mean it. Just ask Jimmy Rollins.
Track nine: “The Twist,” Chubby Checker
Speaking of Philly institutions, c’mon Phillies fans, let’s twist again, like we did last summer! There is a big homestand on the immediate horizon with the Braves and Nats coming to town. Whatever happens, it is mid-September and meaningful baseball still awaits. This year, that is worth celebrating and, who knows, this may only be the beginning.
Bonus track: “Just One Victory,” Todd Rundgren
Phillies 4, Braves 1, let the postseason begin!