Each fall Major League Baseball and its broadcast partners put together a pretty elaborate music video/promo thingy for the postseason. The song and its underlying theme are used for commercial bumpers and intros and become ubiquitous — often annoyingly so — to anyone who sits and watches the playoffs every night.
But if we’re gonna get tired of a playoff promo song, at least this year baseball has made a massive improvement over “Written in the Stars.” It’s The Boss, “Land of Hope and Dreams.”
Like most repurposed-Springsteen, it’s best to not get too hung up on the fact that the song is rooted in the crumbling and elusive American Dream and, instead, just groove on the uplift. You know, like “Born in the USA” at a political rally. Or “State Trooper” at a FOP banquet.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.