Mariano Rivera would be plenty intimidating coming into a game in complete silence, but playing “Enter Sandman” by Metallica as his entrance music definitely adds to the hitters’ sense of dread.
Yet as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes, Rivera isn’t even a fan of the song and the Yankees only stumbled into using it for his entrances because they were trying to copy the Padres’ use of “Hells Bells” for Trevor Hoffman.
According to Hoch in 1999 they initially tried “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses, but weren’t satisfied with the crowd reaction. Then a freelance member of the scoreboard production team named Mike Luzzi brought in some CDs and suggested “Enter Sandman.”
And the rest is history.
In retrospect the song’s ominous tone and lyrics are a perfect fit for Rivera coming in to close the door on opponents, but here’s what the future Hall of Famer told Hoch about being forever linked to the 1991 song:
I never said that I didn’t like it, but I didn’t care about the song. I didn’t pick the song. I don’t pay attention to the music. When I go in there, I’m going to business. I have a job to do, that’s it. It’s not part of my identity. People identify it [with me], but that’s it. I wouldn’t say that’s my identity. To tell you the truth, I have to do one thing. I go out there and pitch.
Which is of course exactly the sort of approach to things that makes Rivera so damn scary.
In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.
Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.
He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.
Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!
Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.