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Digressions: Beats & Eats

Lest the rainouts of the last few days (and my stat-heavy blog entries of the last few weeks) weigh you down, here's some lighter fare for Orioles fans out there.

Latin-lovin' O's?

Last week, Kevin Cowherd wrote a whimsical column in the Baltimore Sun about the Orioles that touched on some personal aspects of this year's squad. Among his observations:

  • According to O's PR man Bill Stetka, the Orioles had "the second-highest number of foreign-born players on Opening Day last year, behind Montreal." Nearly all of them were from Latin America.
  • As if that weren't enough, the three big-name free agents the Orioles signed last winter, Miguel Tejada, Javy López, and Rafael Palmeiro, are also Hispanic in origin. (Tejada's from the Dominican Republic, López from Puerto Rico, and Palmeiro from Cuba.) Cowherd concocts a piñata of Latin-flavored promotional tie-ins to celebrate the players' heritage, including "Guayabera Night" and "Arroz Con Pollo Night." Unfortunately, the PR department appears to have largely disregarded his advice.
  • Cowherd also reveals the titles of the songs that the Camden Yards DJ plays when Luis Matos bats ("Mi Banderas") and Jorge Julio walks in from the bullpen ("Yaleo").

Incidentally, "Mi Banderas" (Matos's song) appears to be a typo in the column. If my high-school Spanish still serves, the singular modifier "mi" ("my" in English) clashes with the plural noun "banderas" (flags). The grammatically correct title would thus be "Mi Bandera" (My Flag) or perhaps "Mis Banderas" (My Flags). Anyone out there know the song and can confirm the title or provide more information about it?

I am not familiar with Julio's musical selection, either, but a Google search of "Yaleo" brought up a gaggle of matches for "Da Le Yaleo" by the Latin rock outfit Santana. The track leads off their Grammy-winning 1999 CD, Supernatural. Odds are that this is Julio's song of choice, although I'll have to listen carefully the next time he pitches to be sure.

It would be nice to get a list going of all the songs that are played at games to introduce Oriole players. Songs for past Orioles would be welcome too. I can't recall many player-song pairs offhand, but I do remember clearly that Mike Bordick had the intro to U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky" preface his at-bats, and Brady Anderson, I believe, preferred Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" at some point or another. Also, I might be wrong, but I think that Javy López was playing Usher's latest hit single "Yeah!" at the first homestand.

Camden Comida

Although Caribbean beats fill the park on game nights, Latin cuisine has not made much of a splash on the Camden Yards menu. Traditional refreshments like hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jack are plentiful, but good luck trying to find chalupas or fried plantains or empanadas.

It strikes me as a tad incongruous that as baseball assumes an increasingly international face—mirroring the evolution of the U.S. population in this regard—the food served at Oriole Park remains, by and large, classically American. Some entrees are technically imports, such as Polish sausages, pizza, and nachos, but you get what I mean. It certainly wouldn't hurt for the Orioles to diversify their ballpark menu with more international selections and more nutritious options as well. Doing so would have the double benefit of attracting new fans and making existing ones healthier.

You can find good, albeit pricey, regional eats at the Yard if you know where to look. On Wednesday, Rob Kasper penned his annual column in the Sun describing his experiences trying to find something beyond the usual ballpark fare to warm his tummy at the Orioles' frigid opening night game. Among his recommendations this year are the soft-shell crab sandwich at Pastimes Cafe, buffalo wings on club level, Birdhouse Pale Ale made by the Brewer's Art, and that elusive cup of hot chocolate on a freezing night. Mmm. Nothing like beer, vittles, and a ballgame to fill yourself up (and empty your wallet) on a given day.

Comments (7)


I love that players get to choose their intro music. I think B.J. Surhoff used to come to bat with the opening of Bad to the Bone, Jay Gibbons at some point was using Dire Straits' Money for Nothing, and I remember Chris Richards using a Rush song as his intro. I pretty sure it was Tom Sawyer.


A couple years ago the Washington Post had an article discussing the music selections for the player ABs and noted that the players (at least at that time) had no choice whatsoever in the music played for their ABs. This explained some of the rather odd choices, although I cannot remember specifics right now. (I think Jerry Hairston had a particularly odd song for a while, though I can't recall what it was.) You are correct that Javy's opening homestand song was "Yeah" by Usher. Maybe they get to choose their own tunes now; it seemed that the opening homestand had better choices than in years past.


Josh, I did an archive search and found the article you were talking about. Written by the Post's pop music critic David Segal, it's called "Songs for The Orioles" and was published in the Style section on July 7, 2001. It's a revealing take on the activities of the Orioles' two deejays, Bob "Woody" Popik and Jason Siemer. (I don't know if they're still deejaying there.) Orioles who requested songs include:

Jeff Conine: "Devil's Dance" by Metallica
David Seguí: "Flying High Again" by Ozzy Osbourne
Jerry Hairston: "Ready or Not" by the Fugees
Jay Gibbons: "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits
Mike Hargrove: "River of Dreams" by Billy Joel

Gibbons also expresses a liking for "anything by U2," including "Desire."

For players who did not express a preference, the Yard's deejays took it upon themselves to select these songs:

Larry Bigbie: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
Fernando Lunar: "World in My Eyes" by Depeche Mode
Cal Ripken: "Wire" by U2
Melvin Mora: an unidentified song by 311

When asked whether he likes 311, Mora responds: "The song is not good. I like Spanish music....I have no idea what they play. I like [Venezuelan salsa titan] Oscar D'Leon. They play Oscar D'Leon, I be happy. Go up there and tell them: He want Oscar D'Leon, salsa. I don't want no country rock or whatever. I don't know what music they play up there. I want salsa. That's all I want." (Yeah, Melvin, I think we get it now.)

Segal also names some of the songs the deejays keep cued for certain moments, such as Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" for when an Oriole walks, Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" for would-be Oriole rallies, and Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft 400" after Oriole home runs.

My search also turned up an audio feature that appeared a few weeks later on NPR's Morning Edition on July 23: "Take Me Out to the Rock Concert: Baseball Now Part of a Multimedia Experience." It rehashes some of the Post story and adds a profile of Nancy Faust, the organist for the Chicago White Sox's home games.

Although I think that a lot of the music and sound effects played at games are gratuitous and cliched, I think that allowing players to choose their own intro clips is acceptable. It helps the players feel at home and gives the fans a way to relate to them.


Something else occurred to me about Luis Matos's song since I first posted. There is one case I can think of that would make "Mi Banderas" grammatically correct, and that is if the subject of the song were a person named Banderas—for example, actor Antonio Banderas.

It's certainly possible that Luis is a movie buff who appreciates Banderas's cinematic work, say, in Spy Kids or The Mask of Zorro. Perhaps Matos has been fortunate enough to see Banderas's pre-Hollywood collaborations with Pedro Almodóvar in films like Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) or Matador (The Bullfighter).

Or perhaps, through "Mi Banderas," Matos is trying to tell the fans something more intimate about his preferences—well, for the sake of the ladies, I won't go down that road. I don't want this blog to degenerate into speculation and rumormongering.

eli hyman:

i was wondering does anybody melvin's actual song the artist he said he wanted has 50 songs or something it's way to many to look through


What is that song that they play that goes or-e-ole oooooooo?


I believe you're referring to the "Oh-wee-oh, yohhh-oh" chant of the Wicked Witch's guards (known intimidatingly as the Winkies) from the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. The Camden Yards deejay plays it a few times a game, presumably to get fans to make the "O" sound. You can hear a clip at MovieSounds's Wizard of Oz Sounds, among other places.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 15, 2004 2:40 AM.

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