Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon got a bug in his ear during spring training after hearing the glam rock classic "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" by T-Rex while listening to the Pandora music service. He liked it so much, Maddon made it the song to which the Rays take the field for home games at Tropicana Field.
But of course, Maddon couldn't stop there. Taking things to the Nth degree, Maddon had someone install a gong at the ballpark and had the Rays hire someone to bang it. The banger is the gentleman above and on the left, dressed in a costume that combines the best of the Greek/Roman/Scottish gonging traditions. No Asian fusion, though. They'll bang a gong too. Look into that, Rays.
As the Tampa Bay Times notes, possible uses for a gong at a baseball game are endless. Or nearly:
[To signal] Play ball? Home runs? Victories? Bad anthem renditions? And there could be guest gong-bangers, like Rays alums.
Introductions, opposing players' strikeouts, taking a pitcher out of the game — getting the hook. The reverberations could last all season. As long as the actual rays swimming in the tank in center field aren't affected negatively — because of ... sonar, or something — what could it hurt?
And this is why Joe Maddon is the best. Maybe not the best manager tactically, and it's hard to say unless you've worked for him if he's even the best manager of personalities, but from a cool-idea standpoint, nobody breaks up the monotony of the baseball season in more entertaining fashion than Joe.
I'll bet this is Maddon's favorite part of the song:
You're built like a car, you've got a hub cap diamond star halo
You're built like a car, oh yeah
You're an untamed youth that's the truth with your cloak full of eagles
You're dirty sweet and you're my girl.
Rays marketing should plan giveaways for diamond-starred halos and cloaks full of eagles. And now, to honor Joe Maddon, here's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" by T-Rex, with an assist from Elton John.
Big BLS H/N: MLB.com's Cut4