While most parody artists are of the here today/gone tomorrow variety, Al has proven to have tremendous staying power. His appeal stretches across generational lines, and shows no signs of abating (his last album, 2006’s Straight Outta Lynwood, debuted in the Top 10 and yielded a Top 10 single in “White and Nerdy”).
But despite Al’s long-standing role as one of America’s foremost satirists, he has never figured prominently in the world of Minor League promotions and game presentation. I have always considered this to be puzzling, as Al’s propensity for parody, puns, and family-friendly absurdism would seem to be a perfect fit within the anything-goes world of the Minors. In fact, I would argue that “Dare To Be Stupid” — the title of one of Al’s best albums — serves as a near-perfect encapsulation of the everyday attitude that prevails in many Minor League Baseball front offices.
Therefore, I would like to use what little influence I have to sincerely ask that “Weird Al Night” be added to team promotional schedules in 2010. What follows are a few (okay, a lot) of suggestions that could help make this dream a reality.
What: “Weird Al Night” at the ballpark
Where: Minor League stadiums nationwide
When: April-September 2010 every year thereafter
Why: To illustrate the symbiotic relationship that can exist between Minor League Baseball and America’s premier parodist.
The evening will feature Weird Al’s music throughout, as well as Al-themed games and contests, concession items, player headshots, and more. Let’s break it down.
— Player at-bat music consisting of snippets of Weird Al songs (at least for the visiting team). This would serve as a great way to inundate the crowd with the choruses of well-known Weird Al parodies (“Like A Surgeon”, “Yoda”, “Smells Like Nirvana”, “Jurassic Park”, etc. etc. ad infinitum).
— Player headshots doctored in one of two ways — the player’s face could be superimposed on album covers such as these:
Or, Al’s signature characteristics — long curly hair and glasses — could be added to existing head shots (yes, I know that Al got contact lenses and changed his hairstyle 10 years ago, but it’s the “classic” Al look that is still most prevalent in the public mind).
— Weird Al has written many songs about food throughout his career, so special items at the concession stand could include “My Bologna“, “I Love Rocky Road“, “Spam“, “Lasagna“, “Spuds“, “Taco Grande“, and, of course, the Twinkie Wiener Sandwich (taken from the 1989 cult comedy classic “UHF”)
Happy Birthday — A day at the ballpark isn’t complete without a nod to those in attendance who are celebrating their birthday. Well, Weird Al has just the song for that:
Taunt Your Opponent with the music of “Weird Al”– Whether it’s part of a larger promotion or not, there are many ways to insert Al music and video into the game day experience. Some suggestions on how to rile the opposition:
— When opposing team’s pitcher is taken out of ballgame, play snippet of “One More Minute”: “I’d rather get 100,000 paper cuts on my face, then spend one more minute with you”.
Or, even better, launch into “One of Those Days“.
— When the opposing team holds a conference on the mound, play snippet of “Confessions Part 3“.
— If opposing team is melting down, play hook from “I Can’t Watch This.”
— As a new pitcher warms up, play “Good Enough for Now” (“I couldn’t live a single day without you. Actually, on second thought, well I suppose I could”).
—- If opposing team’s line-up consists of a big money first-round pick, play “This Is the Life” when he comes to bat (“I eat filet mignon seven times a day, my bath tub’s filled with Perrier”).
— Finally, it’s a little harsh, but how about this after a bonehead play?
(yes, this is from the aforementioned “Wheel of Fish”)
Uplift the Home Team! — Weird Al shouldn’t solely be used to denigrate the opposition, however. Many clubs play rally videos if the home team is trailing heading into the bottom of the ninth. Well, it doesn’t get any more inspiring than this:
Polka Your Eyes Out! — Weird Al is a renowned accordion player, and 10 of his 12 albums contain polka medleys of popular hits. So how about hiring a polka band (or at least an accordionist) to play the national anthem and perform on the concourse? And let’s not forget that the following ballpark staples (and many, many more) have been “Polka-ized” by Al, and could be played as quick audio snippets in lieu of the original song:
“Smoke on the Water”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “Satisfaction”, “Love Shack”, “Unbelievable”, “Enter Sandman”, “Walking on the Sun”, “Tubthumping”, “Let’s Get It Started”, “Take Me Out”, “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, and the entirety of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (on 1993’s “Alapalooza”).
And, finally — this is neither here nor there, but a Weird Al Minor League Ballpark Tour is something I would love to see. Move over Bob Dylan, because Weird Al is the true troubadour of our times, a walking embodiment of the pop culture zeitgeist.
In Summary — I would never expect the above suggestions to be incorporated wholesale, but I do hope that they get those in Minor League front offices thinking about how the music and video of Weird Al Yankovic could be utilized toward a more fun (and funny) game day atmosphere.
I will gladly serve as a consultant on any proposed “Weird Al” promotional nights, as I feel a responsibility to the next generation to do my part to spread the Gospel of Yankovic. If there are those in the world of Minor League Baseball who also feel this responsibility, then I urge you to act upon it.
But if this post turns out to be just one more quixotic endeavor in a life filled with them, that’s okay too. It was truly a pleasure to research and revisit Al’s entire career, because to do so allowed me to to revisit an era of my own life in which he was my hero. In many ways, he still is.
So — once again — Happy 50th Birthday, Al. Here’s hoping your reign at the top of the comedy music scene continues for decades more.