The Nationals have found a genius new way to try to psychologically mess with their opponents before games.
Go to any sporting event and you're bound to hear all sorts of "pump-up" music before, during and after the game. The Nationals are flipping the script at home games, but only during the opponent's batting practice.
Instead of hearing upbeat, modern hits, Nationals Park has started playing slow soft-rock songs, such as the super mellow Rainy Days and Mondays by the Carpenters. The New York Times has chronicled the experiment:
Because the Mets were in town for the first series of the season, they served as guinea pigs. Over three games, they heard the Carpenters, Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor, R.E.M. and Kansas (Dust in the Wind).
It was the type of music designed to lull, to pacify, the type of music that was not played at ballparks even when it was contemporary. At one point, Kevin Long, the Mets’ hitting coach, turned to someone and said, “Is that George Michael?”
According to the Times, some Mets players claimed they didn't hear the songs, while others laughed it off. The trick didn't seem to quite help Washington in its opening series — New York won 2-1 — but then again, in the first game the Mets didn't pick up a hit until the sixth inning.
Just imagine trying to take batting practice and get your mind ready for a game with this coming out of the speakers:
The Nationals now hit the road to Philadelphia, but the Phillies come to D.C. next week and will be next in line for the mellow tunes.
- Molly Geary