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Tommy Tutone, you probably don't know Joe Maddon, but you make him so happy.
Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays who is known for trying thoughtful gimmicks that might break up the monotony of the long Major League Baseball season, has turned to '80s pop music in order to give his lineup a fresh look. His batting order Thursday against the Detroit Tigers is patterned after Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny" singles-bar anthem, a No. 1 hit in 1982 that's still an earwig to this day.
I know you think it's like the other Rays lineups before — most of them have not been good, and they rank in the lower third in runs scored in the league. But perhaps this one will have a certain ring to it and they'll score against Max Scherzer and friends in Motown.
In baseball, players are assigned numbers based on their defensive position. "1" is the pitcher, "2" is the catcher, "3" is the first baseman, "4" is the second baseman, "5" is the third baseman and "6" is the shortstop. The outfielders, from left to right, are "7-8-9." The designated hitter doesn't get a number (he doesn't play defense!) so "0" works for him. Here's how it plays out on Maddon's lineup card:
Maddon also should say that he wanted to try this lineup already, but he had lost his nerve until now. He certainly has a disturbed imagination, too.
Of course, it's easy to pick nits by saying that Maddon's 867-5309 theme only has seven numbers and a baseball lineup has nine (10 including the pitcher in American League games). So while it's clever and awesome and even radical, dude, it's incomplete by two and not sustainable for victory. He's leaving out the catcher and the second baseman. But who's ever heard of a hit song that goes "867-5309-24"? You might connect with Uganda by dialing that. It also could be a typical White Sox rundown. No thank you, sir.
Will the Rays have a good time at Comerica Park after dialing up Jenny? What motivational device will Maddon turn to next?
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