Tony Cavallario: Baseball is a sport of nuance. An atmospheric, thinking person’s pastime. And it’s a game of failure, where a great showing means screwing up real bad three out of five times. There are few chances for ballplayers to breakout and really show some personality. To express themselves to a stadium of people checking their phones or inhaling a footlong. This is the function of walk-up music—that disembodied, echo-laden five-bar bat signal sent out in hopes that we might understand a player better. Maybe you are a woke dude who likes Vince Staples. Maybe you are a metalhead, a devoted Christian or a proud redneck.
Or maybe you are Lonnie Chisenhall. A player so ruthless, so merciless, so brazen that he stole his walk-up song from the one playlist no one else dares to raid—the canon of long-established stadium jams. Yep, he walks up to “Crazy Train,” which any eight-year-old already knows is the go-to song when sports shit is about to go down. Bases loaded in the home half of the seventh? “Crazy Train.” Reliever just walked in a run? “Crazy Train.” A fringe major leaguer up with two out and nobody on in a meaningless September game? Going off the rails on a crazy train. It’s like jacking Gary Glitter or C&C Music Factory. You need super big balls.
You doubt me? OK maybe Lonnie Chisenhall doesn’t even like “Crazy Train.” Maybe he just doesn’t know any other songs. Maybe it’s a case of mental wounds not healing. But the truth is, fans want to see a little bit of Kenny Powers in their guys. Let us project some of that on Lonnie, he of a modest lifetime .700 OPS and many, many fielding errors. That ‘80s mullet yearbook photo that made the rounds, purported to be the young Chiz? We want that Lonnie Baseball. With the sonorous name of a long-lost Sunset Strip hair-metal screamer. Should you think I’m spilling ink about a scrub, you should know that he made a fruitful move to the outfield last season, and his closest comp is Alex Gordon, who made a similar position switch and became an All Star for the Royals. The reigning champs. And if Lonnie doesn’t live up to that billing? Well, sometimes life’s a bitter shame.
Note: Between the time of writing this item and publishing, Lonnie Chisenhall has changed his walk-up music to Ginuwine’s “Pony.”