September 7, 2017

Hanley Ramirez And 1980s Norwegian Synth-Pop

During Red Sox games, my partner Laura and I usually listen to the radio feed while watching NESN on the MLBTV package. A while back, she told me that on the weekends, she would periodically hear in the background of the broadcast the unmistakable keyboards and high-pitched vocals of "Take On Me", a big hit back in 1985 for Norwegian synthpop band A-ha. She wondered if the Red Sox were playing the song during a certain inning, much like they did for Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline".

During the first game against the Blue Jays on Monday night, we both heard the song several times. It wasn't until the late innings that Laura finally put 2 and 2 together. When we heard it again, she told me that Hanley Ramirez had been batting the last time it was played. ... "Who's coming up?" ... Hanley Ramirez!

All doubt was washed away during Tuesday night's six-hour marathon. (Evidence!)

Every player has what is commonly referred to as a walk-up song, whether he is the fireballing closer jogging in from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth or the 25th man on the roster sent up to pinch-hit because there is no one else left on the bench. For some players, the short clip of music pumps them up. For others, it's a bit of a favorite song. (And then there are players who become connected with a certain song without their input, like Mariano Rivera and "Enter Sandman".)

Ramirez is not the only baseball player with an odd walk-up choice. Josh Reddick played the sax riff from "Careless Whisper", J.D. Martinez favoured ABBA's "Dancing Queen", and Trevor Plouffe likes "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".

When "Take On Me" was released, Hanley was not yet two years old. When did he first hear the song? Does this cheesy song really get him in the mood to hit a baseball? What do his teammates think? Does he sing it on the team plane at 2 AM? ... I have many questions. Also, I hope to keep hearing the song well into October.


FenFan said...

I always think of Shane Victorino and "Three Little Birds" when he was with the Sox.

J.D. Drew specifically wanted NO walk-up music when he came to bat.

laura k said...

Allan was too kind to mention that Take On Me is a favourite song of mine, what might be called a guilty pleasure. Plus one if the all-time great videos!