Cataloging the music which is haphazardly barfed out of the loudspeakers at ballgames

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Let’s talk about music and other pumped-in sounds at the ballpark.

I don’t have anything against walkup music or some well thought out musical interludes here or there, be they organ or pumped in rock or whatever. But the level of sound saturation we have these days — not to mention its scattershot nature — is really frustrating. Wall-to-wall music is bad enough, but it often makes no sense even if you accept its presence. The “charge” organ when nothing particularly interesting is happening. The “everybody clap your hands!” thing. “Day-O!” Those opening claps to “Car Wash” or whatever it is is simply pointless. It doesn’t comment on or enhance or often even match what’s going on on the field.  It’s the equivalent of some dumb conversation people have when they can’t bear even a momentary silence.

Larry Granillo of Baseball Nation has noticed this too and he did something I’ve thought to do in the past but never had the drive to actually accomplish: he made a note of every single musical cue that blared out of the loudspeakers at a major league game.

His game was Monday’s Pirates-Brewers game and the results are pretty startling:

Of the 271 pitches thrown on Monday, 119 had some sort of musical cue afterwards. If we count the walk-up music for each of the Brewers’ plate appearances, that brings the total to 152, or 56 percent of the game’s pitches punctuated by music in some way. This does not include the extended musical selections heard during nearly every inning break.

He catalogs each and every song in a separate appendix, showing what was played batter-by-batter. Reading that appendix is telling of that stuff I talk about above. The lack of a plan with music. It’s just belched out there for no reason so often.

While I think baseball would be fine without musical accompaniment, music can be just as good and entertaining a part of a viewing experience as the event itself. Think movie soundtracks and scores and the like.  Why baseball, if it insists on pumping in so much music, seems content to treat it as some moronic afterthought is beyond me.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.