If baseball is America's Pastime, then American Idol is certainly America's guilty pleasure.The reality television show, now just wrapping up its eighth season, has become one of America's most-watched programs since it first aired in 2002. And while most baseball personalities admit they can't carry a tune, it doesn't mean that they wouldn't love to show off their talents on the big stage in front of the four-person panel that includes the notoriously blunt judge Simon Cowell. So MLB.com's beat reporters hit the clubhouses, offices and broadcast booths of the Major Leagues and asked this light-hearted question about the hit show: "Tonight, a new winner will be crowned on "American Idol." What song would you want to perform if you were singing on "Idol" and why? How do you think Simon would react? If you were to pick someone else close to you to sing on "Idol,'' who would that be, what would they sing and why?" The song choices varied with different genres such as pop, classic rock, oldies, grunge, country and even some heavy metal. The responses were also mostly funny as not a single person was confident that they would perform well in the competition that ends on Wednesday night. And as for Simon's response, perhaps the Red Sox's Rocco Baldelli put it best: "What would Simon say? Nothing positive," Baldelli said. "That's a definite. He might just ask me to leave." So there you have it. Simon would likely not approve of the singing efforts of those in baseball, but it doesn't mean the players, coaches and broadcasters didn't have some fun with their responses. Here's a rundown from Around the Cage:
ON WHAT SONG TO SING: Curtis Granderson, CF, Tigers: "I need to figure out something I know all the words to, something to get the crowd into it. I'd say Aretha Franklin, 'Respect.' You've got to get the crowd on your side. As long as you can get the crowd, I think that's it." Heath Bell, RHP, Padres: "I think it would be Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.' I like that song and it's a song that I know every word to. That's just a song that when it comes up on the radio, it's a song that I will always sing along with." Josh Johnson, RHP, Marlins: "Disturbed's 'Down With the Sickness.' I'd be head-banging and stuff. I'd go pretty nuts up there singing it. If I had someone up there with me, I'd do a lot better. [Simon would say] 'What are you thinking?'" Mark Sweeney, coach, Dodgers: "U2's 'Elevation.' Not sure how it would sound, though. I'd grind it out, I guarantee you. I watch that show. Those guys are talented, all of them. But coming up with a song, that's hard to do. It's like we're all hitters, but we have our own style. Try to imitate somebody else's swing, that's not easy. I think the show is great." C.J. Wilson, LHP, Rangers: "'Are You Gonna Go My Way,' by Lenny Kravitz. I have a very limited vocal range. Simon would tell me to stick to one of my other hobbies. I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to sing. I would have good stage presence, but I'm not a very good singer." Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox: "I think for the finals you have to pull out something big, so probably Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus. He'd probably not necessarily give me a real good rating, but I'd hope that America would vote for me. That's all I could do." ON WHO THEY WOULD PICK TO SING: John Rooney, Cardinals radio: "I'd like to hear [broadcaster] Mike Shannon sing 'Here Comes the King' [the Budweiser song]." Todd Kalas, Rays broadcaster: "I'd probably pick Joe Nelson [to be on American Idol]. Just because he's never afraid to make a fool of himself." Rocco Baldelli, OF, Red Sox: "Fernando Perez [of the Rays] is a pretty good singer. He can get on the mic and sing pretty much anything. He could probably pick something that everyone would think is pretty sweet." Jarrod Washburn, LHP, Mariners: "If I was to pick someone close to me to sing, it would be Scott Schoeneweis and he would sing 'Black' by Pearl Jam because he thinks he's good. I would like to hear what Simon said afterward." Matt Diaz, LF, Braves: "I would pick a combination of [Brian] McCann and [Jeff] Francoeur. Francoeur tends to get all the words right, but can't sing a lick. McCann can actually carry a tune, but he never knows the words. They would sing some mixture of rap and country. They have no idea. Listen to their intro songs." Justin Masterson, RHP, Red Sox: "Javier Lopez, even though he just got designated. He's pretty good. He's got a good voice. He would sing something with a real nice low tone. He does a pretty good 'God Bless America.' The Ronan Tynan version with the whole beginning part."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.