Once Upon an American Idol……………………Baseball Style


I tried to tell all of you I was bored today because the Tampa Bay Rays decided to take a day off. Well, I had this wild thought in my mind of what MLB players would make the finals of American Idol when I remembered that dusty CD on my bookshelf from 2005. Long time baseball fans know the one I am talking about here. It was entitled: “Oh Say Can You Sing.” Well, I put it into my CD player on my computer and again began to remember the warbling of such stars as Coco Crisp, Aubrey Huff and Jeff Conine on this one-disc album.

So I decided to look into seeing if there was any information online about the CD, and lo and behold, our very own professor of J-Blog school did and article on the CD back on May 23, 2005. There was that name “Mark Newman”, who we all know is our overseer and guide dog through the blackness of the bloggers world. So I sat there and read his musings on MLB.com about the CD and loved this line in the article: ” Here’s the news flash: This isn’t your average karaoke bar.”  That is why we love the professor. He is always willing to educate us on words, vocals and the soft sounds of Coco Crisp with his original tune,” We Got That Thing.”

The CD featured 11 players in various types of music types, but one of my favorite was still Matt Ginter’s bluegrass rendition of “Dooley.”  Let me give you the 11 artists/players who have volunteered their golden pipes for charity and clubhouse amusement for the entire year.  You have Ben Broussard, Sean Casey, Crisp, Huff, Ginter, Conine, Scott Linebrink, Jimmy Rollins ( Doing his own tune),Omar Vizquel and Kelly Wunsch. The 11th singer might not be a surprise. Ozzie Smith also put his voice to a track, and we know his son can sing from his own American Idol auditions. I had forgotten how good some of these guys sing.

I know it was a running joke during Huff’s day with the Rays that he was the team karaoke god and used to go on stage a few times a year to belt out a country song or two on the road. I have even been told he has done a rock ballad that actually sounded better than the original. So I guess my thought at having some type of originality with a Top 12 American Idol/Baseball style might have already been played out.  I even still have the prank poster put up in the Rays clubhouse of a “Huffapalooza” event in Tampa a few years ago. I was told two former Rays players were the originators of that poster, but neither would confess up to it when I asked them about it.



But with the Wild Card round going on tonight on American Idol, I have decided to add a 12th player to this list.  I mean we all know that Conway Twitty was offered a chance to play with the Philadelphia Phillies after he finished high school, but he went into the U S Army instead and his baseball dream ended. But are their any former singers who did play baseball besides this group of 11 on the CD?

I mean who can forget the “Ed Sullivan Show” where the ’69 New York Mets featuring Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan sang ” You Got to Have Heart”. But who else came from the dugout and sang for their supper. Well, most people know that we used to have a singing owner on the west coast of the United States. I mean who really did not know that the singing cowboy, Gene Autry used to be the majority owner of the California/Aneheim/Los Angeles Angels. What is even more fitting was that his widow was the person who presented Rays Manager Joe Maddon, a former Angels employee when Autry was alive, with the American League Championship trophy at Tropicana Field in 2008.

There is that mix of baseball players who are also in bands like Brandon Arroyo, but a majority of them might just keep that passion to their home showers or away from the ridicule of team mates.  I mean is there a karaoke machine in any of the major league clubhouses? Not to my knowledge, but that doesn’t mean it has not been discussed before by members of teams. One guy who has made his musical passion as bright away from the diamond is former New York Yankee Bernie Williams. His classical guitar arrangements are excellent, and his concerts are amazing. I have to admit I do own one of his two CD’s, and they do a great job of relaxing me on long trips through the hectic NASCAR-like Atlanta highways.



I mean  we even have a singing umpire in the major leagues. Joe West, who has been in his blues since about 1979 when he began umpiring in the National League.  “Cowboy Joe” as some of his colleagues know him is known for his singing and his songwriting.  In 2008, his umpiring crew was known as Crew J and included C B Bucknor, Ed Hickox , West as the Crew Chief and Ed Rapuano. There have been no talk of a barber shop quartet from the crew, but you can be sure that West keeps his crew loose and ready with his singing.


West has sung with Merle Haggard,Mickey Gilley, T G Sheppard and both Mel Tillis and George Jone’s bands.  West released a country album called ” Blue Cowboy “and just finished his second CD called “Diamond Dreams”. In his second CD, West sings about things that have happened in baseball and has an up-tempo song about going to a baseball game. It’s distributed on Good and Western Records and this second CD was  released near the end of Spring Training in 2008.

I mean why wouldn’t music and baseball make a good marriage. Every player in the major leagues has a walk-up song or two pre programmed to play as they stroll to the plate. Baseball and music are interwoven by songs about teams, players, and memorable events in the sport. I mean, Paul Simon asked “Where did you go Joe Dimaggio?” So  maybe tonight as I am watching the Wild Card round I will think about Conine, Huff or maybe even Rollins up there getting critiqued by Simon Cowell. As long as Huff doesn’t wear that outfit he bought in Texas a few years ago, he might get props on his chops.

Photo Credits for today’s blog go to: http://www.target.com, http://www.goodandwesternrecords.com, RRCollections.


Yeah, I remember writing that about 5,000 bylines ago! Thanks for the shoutout, I’ve definitely been called worse than that! Guide Dog is pretty cool.


Got to give credit where it is due. I was researching it and looked up and thought it was a great thing to run across online. What gets me is that no one has done anything like that since 2005. I thought it might have been a yearly thing, but it never materialized………..might be something to throw out in a MLB Advanced Media fact finding think session.

Well Mark, if you were not a good writer you would have gotten blasted by Rob Ney like that Rays blogger the other day ( not me).

Rays Renegade


Rays Renegade – No I have to see if I can go find that CD! I just blogged about Bernie Williams yesterday and was listening to his songs on my mp3 player earlier today! Got to love all the great music (and not so great!) that it out there! Thank you for pointing out what our fearless leader was doing when he didn’t have all of us to guide and care for!


That was my PSA moment for the month. Seriously, Mark has written over 5,500 bylines, if you paste them all together and spread them over the entire USA, they would stretch from Fenway Park to Dolphin Stadium then west bound to Minute Madi Park, and then Petco Park, and then north to Safeco Field. Holy Molt that is a bushel basket of words.

Rays Renegade


Despite your kind review and rediscovery, I think I am still going to stay away from this CD entirely ;-)


Jeff I do agree some of the song are a bit…..well hoky, but it was a fun album.
I just like the part where it was done for charity and it also shows a different side of these guys. That makes them more likeable and more human. Some people tend to put every athlete up on a pedestal from day1. I just see them as the same as me, but in a extremely higher tax bracket.

Rays Renegade


I think I agree with jeff whole heartedly. This is something I would pay the purchase price for to give to charity then make sure they kept the cd to sell again!

Iy actually was not as bad as you might think. It had it’s moments. Come on Ozzie Smith in falsetto singing “Cherie”. I alright, but it was better than Vanilla Ice’s second album

Rays Renegade


I have a buddy that’s Twins fan that swears he saw Ron Gardenhire sing a pretty good “It’s a Wonderful World” at a Karoke bar. He sent me a pic of him and Gardy, so I have to believe it. Maybe, a 2009 CD is in the works.

If it is not in the works, maybe someone will see this and bring it up to be done. I mean teams do fashion shows, and other events for charity, maybe something like a singing or even group album might be a good idea…………again.

With the popularity of AI, you would think they might try and catch lightning in a bottle for the second time.

Rays Renegade


That’s the best reality TV suggestion I’ve heard in a long time! But really, who would be the judges?!
The Rays’ fashion show looked like a whole lot of fun last year!

I know anyone on the panel of ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” is not invited. I was thinking maybe MLB Network’s Hazel May and Joe Magrane, with Don Zimmer and maybe Tim McGraw.

Rays Renegade


J-Roll actually has his own record label and produces for a number of musicians. He is an entertaining guy :O)


I wonder if this CD is the reason he started the production company. It was back in 2005 that they laid down these tracks. Who knows, it might have given him the inspiration to start the company.

Rays Renegade


Yes, Tim McGraw would be a good choice – ok, great choice. Maybe we could get Julianna Zobrist to help out too!

That is true, or maybe even Amy Carter, former closer Lance Carter’s wife. They still live down here.

So many choices.

Rays Renegade


Are you still going to Jane’s book signing? She’s counting on you! This is not the time to annoy a huge Yankee fan! (and a she-fan at that!) There will be tons of time for that later. LOL!

It is today.

Well, I might have to drive across the bridge and see her then……………….
I did go see her and her husband today at 1 pm. they had awesome dinner last night at an Italian bistro in Tampa… Now it is time for her to probably hit the hotel and pop up a short book signing blog today.

Rays Renegade


I was about to leave a comment about Joe West singing (I had NO idea!), because I haven’t posted yet about the signing and meeting you, Renegade. But I’d better get over to my blog and get to work. Michael’s downloading the pix right now.


You do not need to worry.
I am hard to work doing my review of Keven Kennedy’s book for today.
Take your time, I am in no hurry.

Rays Renegade


Oh wow… I had never heard of this CD before, but now I’m strangely compelled to find it. Baseball is second only to music on my list of lifelong loves (and I’m still fond of Huff from his Houston days, however brief), it seems only natural I should give this a shot. The talk about Bernie Williams’ CDs since his WBC return has reminded me that I wanted to look up the music done by Jose Lima a few years back too. Thanks for posting this!

Not a problem.
I still find it interesting that our own guru Mark Newman did the original article on MLB.com about the CD release.. Sometimes it is a small, small world.

Rays Renegade


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