IT WAS HARD to resist. The promotional copy of Oh Say Can You Sing? went directly to the Orioles' clubhouse for a review.
The two-disc CD and DVD, which sells for $17.99 on shop.mlb.com, features 10 major leaguers and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith singing mostly cover tunes.
Among those performing is former Oriole and legendary clubhouse needler Jeff Conine. His old teammates needed to hear his "Plush" by the Stone Temple Pilots.
"Brutal," was the one-word synopsis given by a current Oriole, whose name is being protected for fear that Conine might punch him the next time they cross paths. "I thought it was OK at first, and then he had to hit the high notes. Wow."
Conine's hard-rocking buddy, pitcher Sidney Ponson, was a little more complimentary.
"It was OK, I liked it," Ponson said. "It was better than I could have done."
Some were fine; some weren't. The worst was the San Francisco Giants' Omar Vizquel, who played the drums and sang "Broadway" by The Goo Goo Dolls. It sounded like a musical skit by comedian Cheech Marin. Vizquel was slightly worse than an original rap by the Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins, which featured the inspirational chorus: "When I was young I never had a big wish list. A bat and ball was all I wanted for Christmas(t)."
In concept, music for charity isn't a bad idea. It's the execution that's faulty. Major League Baseball should use this as a public relations tool, releasing CDs with songs and artists that speak to current baseball issues.
For instance, how about getting Barry Bonds to discuss his grand jury testimony by slightly altering Thomas Dolby? He could say, "He blinded me with science" as a defense for using cream and clear. At the very least, Bonds could sing this chorus from a Genesis hit: "There must be some misunderstanding. There must be some kind of mistake."
Baseball fans would have felt better if, instead of hearing Mark McGwire clear his throat and offer "no comments" to the congressional committee investigating steroid use, he had broken into "Guilty" by the old British band Classix Nouveaux.
"Don't say a word, I know what you are thinking. It is plain to see. I see my opportunities shrinking in front of me. I know you've made up your mind, but don't say. Although I'm guilty of no crime, it's the same. Guilty. Guilty. You've found me guilty."
If Big Mac had done that, he'd still be a lock for Cooperstown.
And then there's Jason Giambi. Instead of apologizing for something he couldn't talk about, he could have explained his steroid involvement by crooning, "I'm half the man I used to be" from the Stone Temple Pilots' "Creep."
All awkward baseball controversies could be sung away.
Former Oriole Marty Cordova could have explained his embarrassing tanning booth injury by slipping into a sound studio and doing Sheryl Crow's "Soak up the Sun" or Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me."
MLB missed the chance for several chart-toppers over the years, such as Pete Rose with "Midnight Gambler," Steve Howe with "Back in the High Life" and Peter Angelos rapping against Washington baseball in "Bust A Move."
To cash in on the idea, each team should have its own CD. The Orioles could feature Lee "Smokey Robinson" Mazzilli explaining his calm during questionable umpiring calls with "I Second That Emotion." Or maybe he could outline his bullpen philosophy with "Whip It" by Devo. Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan could answer reporters' questions about potential trades with U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
And the players could be involved, too: Miguel Tejada with "Heart and Soul," Steve Kline with "Meet Me in St. Louis," Luis Matos with "King of Pain," B.J. Surhoff with "I'm Still Standing," Sammy Sosa with "My Kind of Town (Chicago is)" and Ponson with "Bad Boys."
Unfortunately, the New York Yankees would get the better of the league again, because they would have the biggest seller. Even Yankee haters couldn't resist plunking down $18 for Joe Torre's "Under Pressure," Brian Cashman's "With or Without You" and George Steinbrenner's instant classic "Money for Nothing."
"I didn't expect him to swing at it. Most of the batters in Korea and Japan don't swing."
New York Mets rookie reliever Dae Sung Koo, a South Korea native and Japanese League veteran, on throwing a 3-0, batting-practice fastball to Florida Marlins slugger Carlos Delgado in a one-run game. Delgado hit a three-run homer.
Damon Hollins, a 30-year-old rookie outfielder for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hollins was drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in 1992, six years before the Devil Rays came into existence. He made his big league debut in 1998 at age 23. He didn't return to the majors until last year, again with the Braves. In between, he was with four organizations. He signed as a minor league free agent with Tampa Bay last December and was recalled May 2. He had six homers and 15 RBIs last month and was May's AL Rookie of the Month, only the second Devil Ray to receive the honor.
In the seventh inning of a game last weekend between Tampa Bay and the Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field, about 75 fans gathered in the home-plate concourse and protested Devil Rays managing general partner Vince Naimoli. Showing their support for new general partner Stuart Sternberg, half of the group chanted: "We want Stu, not Naimoli Poo." It raises the question, which is more inspirational: rhyming Stu with poo or learning that 75 people stayed for the seventh inning of a Devil Rays-Mariners game?
Interleague play is back and there are some good games, including a rematch of last year's World Series teams. The National League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals host the Boston Red Sox for three games starting tomorrow. Then the New York Yankees arrive in St. Louis for a three-game weekend series.