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The Berry/Cockcroft Regions: Vote for the Best Fantasy Expert Walk-Up Song

The Berry/Cockcroft Regions: Vote for the Best Fantasy Expert Walk-Up Song
  • Tom McFeeley

Which Fantasy Expert Has the Best Taste and Ability to Intimidate? You Decide

In a nearby column, we introduced The Great Experts Walk-Up Song Bracket. Sixty-four leading experts in Fantasy sports all think they have the best potential walk-up song in the game. Well, you get to decide that. In the previous column, we broke down the first two regions, the Brandon Funston and Ron Shandler regions.  We named our regions in honor of some the most impactful figures in Fantasy content history. Now, we look at the right side of our Walk-Up Song Bracket.

Remember to vote, and leave us feedback in the comments or at “walkupsong2018@gmail.com.” We will publish your best comments in upcoming bracket articles.

Matthew Berry Region

If you play Fantasy sports and don’t know who Matthew Berry is, well, I want you in all of my leagues. Berry, the Talented Mr. Roto, took his skills to ESPN and built upon Brandon Funston and Eric Karabell’s impressive foundation. Berry brought Fantasy sports into the multi-media arena, giving our games a (regularly appearing) face on ESPN’s 127 channels, a voice on the popular Fantasy Focus podcast, and even in print with his best-selling “Fantasy Life.”  Berry is also an example of the overall societal good that Fantasy sports can accomplish: Berry’s Hollywood writing and producing career gave us “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles,” “Grace Under Fire,” and “Reba” among others. So keep flooding his mailbag to keep him distracted.

This region contains both the 1 and the 2 seed from Yahoo! Sports. Being the Matthew Berry region, it also includes Berry’s colleague on ESPN’s Fantasy Focus podcast, and former RotoExpert, Kyle Soppe. Dr. Dre, The Clash, David Bowie, Phish, Bon Jovi, the Beastie Boys: This bracket is loaded, and you get to choose which song and which expert emerges.

#1 “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre (Brad Evans/Yahoo! Sports) vs. #16 “Rudie Can’t Fail” by The Clash (Rudy Gamble/Razzball).  Evans, a newly minted FSWA Hall of Fame inductee says of his song, simply “It’s a classic” with no further explanation. So naturally, the top seed in the region needs to matched with a true underdog.  No bigger underdog than a Rudy (or a Rudie). Mr. Gamble is going to um, gamble, with a purely self-focused walk-up tune.  He is not concerned about the different spellings of Rudy/Rudie because it’s an audio thing. The writer in me as a bit of an issue with it.  Altogether, and form of the name Rudy must be presented as an underdog.  Go get ‘em kid.   Prediction: It is a classic, and it sails into the second round. Evans yells, um, Yahooooooo!

#2 “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie (Scott Pianowski/Yahoo! Sports) vs. #15 “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison (Paul Martin/Real Fake Baseball Podcast).  This is the very essence of a 15/2 matchup.  Martin and Morrison present a viable contender, but Bowie and Pianowski bring legendary experience. Can Ziggy be touched before the Elite Eight? Not certain of that.  Prediction: Ziggy plays guitar, and moves on. Easily.

#3 “Chalk Dust Torture” by Phish (Steve Gardner/USA Today Sports) vs. #14 “Joker and the Thief” by Wolfmother (Mike Alexander/FantasyPros).  Phish is Gardner’s favorite band and the title can apply to the torture he will apply to the pitcher using resin/pine tar or some other “chalk dust” technique (If I can add one more, it can apply to Gardner kicking up chalk dust down the left field line when he pulls a fastball for a double. I assume Gardner hits right-handed.). Gardner particularly likes the song if he leads off an inning, so the song can play longer, like Phish is apt to do.  As for Mr. Alexander, let me say this.  I’m a man of a certain age and I was excited to see his song, thinking it was a reference to “All Along the Watchtower,” speaking of classics. Then I wanted “Stuck in the Middle With You” (Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right….”).  Anyway the Wolfmother song is a perfectly fine walk-up song, check it out.  Prediction: Again, with the Phish.  Easy win for Gardner.

#4 “Sure Shot” by the Beastie Boys (Jason Collette/RotoWire and FanGraphs) vs. #13 “Raise Your Hands” by Bon Jovi (Jamie Calandro/Fantasy Team Advice). It’s important to admit your biases.  I don’t like Bon Jovi, for a couple of reasons.  New Jersey is Springsteen. Period.  Also, writers abhor lazy writing. “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride” is both lazy and absurd, and I can’t get past this.  That said, Collette’s Sure Shot has the elements of a great walk-up song.  Raise your Hands is a solid choice – guitars are a big factor in this bracket. Prediction: Collette hits a sure shot over the center field wall to advance.

#5 “The Doctor” by the Doobie Brothers (Dr. Roto/Scout Fantasy Sports) vs. #12 “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine (Ben Palmer/Pitchers List).  Dr. Roto picks a logical song for his walk-up, and who doesn’t love the Doobie Brothers.  He’d play :58 to 1:10 in the song.  Rage Against the Machine checks in for its second entry in the bracket and can’t be discounted. This is a 5/12 matchup.  Prediction: The Doctor advances, making a house call to the second round.

#6 “I Won’t Do What You Tell Me” by Jim Johnston (Tim Heaney/RotoWire) vs. #11 “Kick Start My Heart” by Mötley Crüe (Bob Lung/Big Guy Fantasy)   This one has all the ingredients: Stone Cold Steve Austin, RotoWire, Mötley Crüe, and umlauts. For the bracket administrator this one is tough. Like I said, we’re all tired of RotoWire winning all the contests, yet I don’t want to keep typing the o and u with said umlauts – took me 10 minutes to figure it out.  In any case, we have two excellent choices, but with two of the other six seeds, it might depend on wrestling fanaticism. Prediction: the Crüe prevails and the umlauts live to see another round.

#7 “Space Jam Theme” by Quad City DJs (Kyle Soppe, ESPN The Fantasy Focus podcast) vs. #10 “Never Scared” by Bone Krusher (Benjamin Ricciardi/Guru Elite DFS). Soppe, a RotoExperts alumni, handles research for the podcast of the Worldwide Leader, so when he gives an answer, he has thought it through.  Why Space Jam? “It was my favorite movie growing up and to this day nothing gets me ready to roll quite like the first few lines.”  Soppe admits that they played this tune when he was announced on his high school basketball team. I like the personal touch here, but for baseball I’d have gone with “Hit ‘Em High” from that soundtrack. Ricciardi was perhaps the quickest reply when I asked the experts: “This is easy. Not that I have thought about it before or anything, but absolutely would walk out to Bone Krusher’s “Never Scared” – Would start with the bass line, go to the hook and end with the I ain’t never scared, I ain’t never Scared as I get to the batter’s box.”  I like this matchup a lot and look forward to tallying votes here.  Prediction: The Krusher squeaks by Soppe, ESPN, Michael Jordan and Looney Toons (that’s a lot of American institutions wrapped in one).

#8 “Still Not a Player” by Big Pun (Pierre Camus/Rotoballer) vs. #9 “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled (Ryan Hallam/Fighting Chance Fantasy) – A classic matchup; the kind of game that you hate to see either lose.  “I’m not a player, I crush a lot” versus “All I do is win, win, win, and if you goin’ in, put your hands in the air.” DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain and Snoop Dogg – that’s like the Yankees lineup.  But it’s gonna be tight. Prediction: The hardest thing to do in a bracket is predict all four 8/9 matchups and I know I’ll blow it here.  But I gotta take the ensemble “All I Do Is Win”

Tristan H. Cockcroft Region

Cockcroft, a 2012 FSWA Hall-of-Fame inductee, has been a long-time leader in fantasy baseball writing; first for Sportsline.com (2000-2004) and since then for ESPN. He’s won multiple expert leagues, and hosts ESPN’s Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast with Eric Karabell since 2014. His “Geeky Stat of the Day” has helped Fantasy baseball players gain insight from random statistical findings and also ask bigger questions as a result. He’s produced leading work on player consistency to help gauge risk in Fantasy leagues. His own consistent performance has set the bar for all future writers.

The Cockcroft region is definitely a little twisted.  Dora (yeah, the Explorer) steps into the ring with Hulk Hogan. We give “Peace” a chance and a guaranteed spot in the second round. Tiny Tim. We also have dogs! And anything that has Pat Mayo involved is a bit off, and he takes on the Olsen twins.  Yeah, it’s like that.

#1 “Drug Test” by Yo La Tengo (Lawr Michaels/Creative Sports) vs. #16 “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” by Tiny Tim (James Ganey/Fantasy Front Office). Michaels has a way with words (and music) like no other, so I cannot do his entry justice.  In his own words, here is why he chose “Drug Test:”

  • It’s a great driving rocker
  • Fantastic sense of malaise
  • Baseball link to the’62 Mets (Yo La Tengo/Richie Ashburn/Elio Chacon)
  • I have a somewhat apocryphal reputation as a stoner to maintain.
  • Did I say it’s a great driving rocker?

I love the second verse and chorus:

“I’m thinking of the things that matter

I’m thinking about the things that don’t

Whatever it is don’t matter, I’m high,

frightened of nothing

smarter than nobody

I’m wastin’ away”

…..Sorry, I was just looking up apocryphal in the dictionary.

As for the highly unusual choice of Tiny Tim’s famous tune, Ganey simply says “because it’s awesome.” Uh……sure.  Anyway, if it is awesome, then it can defeat the Zenmaster. Prediction: Michaels doesn’t tiptoe, but rumbles into the second round to face one of the “Peace” songs (see the 8/9 matchup).

#2 “Light ‘Em Up” by Fall Out Boy (Paul Sporer/FanGraphs and The Sleeper and the Bust podcast) vs. #15 “Cut to The Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen (Tony RP/Razzball). Technically the song is “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” but let’s face it, this column is already too damn long. This could be the most lopsided first-round match-up in our bracket.  Carly Rae Jepsen does not scream “baseball walk-up song” (but rather teenage girls on the beach on a summer day). But I’ve been wrong before.  Prediction: This one’s a night game because Sporer is about to light up Tony RP.

#3 (Dog Medley) by Various Artists (by Andy Behrens/Yahoo! Sports and FSWA President) vs. #14 “Under and Over It” by Five Finger Death Punch (Gary Davenport/RotoWorld, Fantasy Sharks, Bleacher Report). Behrens’ entry and explanation, to me, are the best in the whole contest. “You know, I’ve thought a lot about this, and I think I would choose a different song for each at-bat in a game. And I’d want each song to begin with a barking dog (or other dog sounds), because Americans don’t agree on anything the way we agree on dogs. So I’d probably go  “Sure Shot,” (Beastie Boys) “Been Caught Stealing,” (Jane’s Addiction) “Seamus” (Pink Floyd) and, naturally, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” (Baha Men). I would not be a skilled hitter, but people would appreciate my at-bats. As for Davenport, who used the best band name in the contest, he says “Gotta get crunchy before I step into the box and make with the mashing.”  I wish him luck because he has to defeat dogs and we all love dogs.  Prediction: Behrens walks his dogs at least to the Elite Eight.

#4 “Here Comes the Mayo” by Molotov (Pat Mayo/DraftKings The Pat Mayo Experience) vs. “Gimme Pizza (Slo-Mo version)” by Mary Kate and Ashley Olson (Bobby Sylvester/FantasyPros). I’ll give Bobby Sylvester credit.  He’s new to Fantasy writing, but he knows how to get noticed. I feel like this song (and you MUST click it and give it a listen) is one Pat Mayo would have chosen if we had a walk-up bracket contest in his second full season. I need to give Sylvester the full explanation here: “I’m of the minority party that believes there is no self-motivation to be found in a song that you hear 500 times in a season. The only competitive advantage to be potentially be gained is by getting the pitcher out of his rhythm in one way or another. My song takes a stab at that while entertaining the crowd, loosening up my teammates and even boosting concession sales.

Perhaps the pitcher recognizes he is hungry. Even better if he becomes annoyed or gets the song stuck in his head, which commonly happens to anyone who has ever heard the song. Maybe he laughs the first time. I suppose his mechanics could even slow down enough to impact his performance. Who cares if I’m well represented or entertained. I want to win and this song may just give my team a slight edge.”

For the record, Sylvester would play the line “Gimme pizza. P-I-Z-Z-A.” on repeat.

Mayo’s choice is self-explanatory and the animated host of “The Experience” will need his large stage to garner votes against such an unusual choice. Prediction: If self-motivation wouldn’t work over 500 at-bats, why would the distractions of such an unusual choice, news of which would spread throughout the league and possibly be a full segment on Colin Cowherd’s show and First Take. Mayo pulls through to the next round.

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#5 “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (@tonybps1/Prospects1500.com) vs. #12 “Never Enough” by Static Fly (Kyle Richardson/Rotoballer and Fantasy Judgment). Richardson would start at the top of the song, which he says gets the blood flowing and adrenaline pumping.  And “Smells” is a classic, earning a spot inside the Top 25 overall. We’ll see if its fame can carry it past an adrenaline-pumping underdog.  Prediction: Kurt Cobain lives to see another day.  Sorry, too soon?

#6 “Real American” by Rick Derringer (Michael Stein/Fantasy Judgment) vs. #11 “The Dora the Explorer Theme Song” by uncredited Nickelodeon singers (Jim Sannes/FanDuel).  There’s so much I like about this matchup:  Hulk Hogan vs. Dora the Explorer.  “Real American” versus a Latino youth. WWE vs. Nickelodeon. The thing about Dora is that despite the odds, she always finds her way. She has her friends Boots and, of course, The Map to guide her. Nothing against Hulk but I think Dora transverses the terrain of the bracket and pulls the upset. Besides, Sannes has the best rationale for choosing Dora: “If I’ve made it to the majors, there was clearly some sort of filing error, and I need to make the most of my time. If I can potentially increase my popularity with kids to amp up jersey sales before I get bounced, I’ll feel better about my financial outlook. Plus it’s a dope song that encourages bilingualism, so there are no downsides here.” Prediction: The kids are leading a revolution and Dora rides that wave.  But just in case, buy your Jim Sannes jersey now.

#7 “Flirting With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet (Mark Taylor/RotoWire) vs. #10 “Legend Has it” by Run the Jewels (Jason Woodell/Prospects1500.com). Here’s the thing: Taylor is a multiple award winner as Racing Writer of the Year, so he can literally write laps around the rest of us. And he brings along an entirely different fan base.  If you’ve ever been to a NASCAR race you’ll know that there is strength in numbers, and they bring the numbers.  Woodell is hoping a few of the voters listen to his choice and go against the grain and make a right turn instead. Prediction: RotoWire posts another win and the racing guy is a win away from the Sweet 16.

#8 “Peace of Mind” by Boston (Eric Cross/Fantrax) vs. “Peace Frog” by The Doors (Patrick Fitzmaurice/TheFootballGirl.com). Two of the best bands of all time face off in a difficult 8/9 game. Both great songs and both great walk-up choices. While we need more peace in this world, these two songs are seeded 8/9 so that Lawr Michaels, should he advance, will have to defeat “Peace” in Round 2 to advance.  An existential crisis for the Zenmaster of Fantasy Sports.  Prediction: Boston advances and Jim Morrison again experiences an early death.

Tom McFeeley

Originally from the New York area, Tom is a Mets and Jets fan. So, naturally he uses humor as a coping device. He spends most of his life trying to forget he was at Game 7 of the NLCS in 2006. Swing the bat, Beltran! He is also the winner of the 2013 FSWA Humor Column of the Year and author of the book: "Fantasy Baseball 2015: Scratching the Surface." You can tweet at him: @TomMcFeeley