With the biggest names in baseball flying into town this week for what will be the last-ever
All-Star Game to be played at New York’s legendary Yankee Stadium, we here at MTV News’ New York offices have been stricken with baseball fever. It’s hard to escape baseball this week. No matter where you turn, there’s some sort of reminder that the fastest fielders, the strongest arms and the biggest bats in the game are all here, to ensure home-field advantage for their respective league in the fall classic.
All this baseball in the air got us thinking about music’s all-stars — the artists who’ve shattered sales records this year, produced hit after hit and have been packing out arenas coast to coast. If music had an all-star game, who would we want to see in the dugout? After careful consideration, here are some of our picks — and feel free to let us know who’d go in your team in the comments section below. So, here goes.
Disturbed: With their new album, Indestructible, topping Billboard’s albums sales chart last month, selling 252,800 copies its first week of release, there’s no denying Disturbed are some of rock’s heaviest hitters. Over the course of their career, they’ve sold millions of records and have seen three of their records debut at #1. With that kind of consistency, Disturbed might be a solid starting pitcher for our all-star team, and with them co-headlining the inaugural RockStar Mayhem Festival with Slipknot this summer, there’s no question they’re big draws. Plus, frontman David Draiman does a wicked impression of late baseball announcer Harry Carey, which is kind of awesome.
Katy Perry: In three short weeks, Perry has gone from unknown to flavor of the month, and her debut LP, One of the Boys, has sold nearly 115,000 copies, mostly on the strength of her infectious summer hit, “I Kissed a Girl,” which is dominating the nation’s airwaves. While a rookie, this kid’s got some spunk and could be a perfect fit for first base. She’d also be valuable at the plate, because, let’s face it — she’s a self-proclaimed switch hitter.
Santogold: Andrew Millard’s casting his vote for this former lead singer of Philadelphia-based ska-punk outfit Stiffed. After spending nearly seven years in the minors writing music for Res, Lily Allen and Ashley Simpson, Santogold finally earned a call up to the “Show” when she released her eponymous debut album back in April. Though this Cracker Jack’s indie-rock/electronic-dub sound seemed straight out of right field, it scored big with some industry Hall of Famers (Rolling Stone gave her four out of five stars). Not only can she come through with hits, but she can pitch, too. Singles “Creator” and “Lights Out” got major playing time in Bud Light commercials — what’s more American than that? And most recently, she teamed up with Pharrell of the Neptunes and Julian Casablancas of the Strokes to record “My Drive Thru,” a tune performed for team Converse.
Girl Talk: Could he be the perfect head coach for our team? John Ochoa thinks so. “Compare his music to any release of the year, and you’ll see that his broad knowledge and embrace of musical genres and influences will drive the team’s overall offense (sound),” Ochoa explained. “Plus, he’s perfect party music for the halftime show.”
Spencer Krug: Between Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, Spencer’s been responsible for at least one of the top 10 albums of the year (in Matt Harper’s humble opinion), for the past four years, his most recent being Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer. Talk about consistency. How many musicians can say that they front two bands that are both amazing? With his versatility and speed (his two bands aside, he also finds time to work with side-projects Swan Lake, Frog Eyes and Fifths of Seven), perhaps Krug would be an ideal outfielder and lead-off hitter.
Lil Wayne: The man comes through in a clutch. When you need a single, you can always count on Weezy, and he’s music’s MVP right now. The ultimate team player, sparking every guest appearance he’s on (and there a million of them) like a ninth-inning rally, and at the plate, he took out the park with a mammoth shot called Tha Carter III. He’s your slugging third baseman, makes the entire infield better and is a Barry-Bonds-in-his-prime threat to go deep every time at the plate.
T-Pain: According to our hip-hop editor, Shaheem Reid, T-Pain is “my Derek Jeter.” Like Jeets, Pain would make any team better, à la his guest appearances. Also, like Jeter, when he does his thing on his own (solo LP and singles), his stats aren’t monster, but mostly above average and formidable.
The Ting Tings’ Katie White: Aside from her fun, poppy indie-rock creations, some of us feel she could probably win in a fistfight. That winning spirit could come through big for our team when the chips are down. Plus, she can do backflips. With that kind of athleticism and spring in her step, she’d be dangerous at the warning track, climbing the outfield wall and pulling those deep shots back into the park.
Slipknot: If White can’t handle the yard, Slipknot certainly could. Not only do these guys have egos bigger than Steinbrenner, there are so many of them, we could stick all nine guys out there, and nothing would get by them — although they may lose some pop-ups if they insist on wearing those masks on the field. Unfortunately, we’d have to relegate all of their fans to the bleachers — don’t want them ruining the game for everyone else.
Nas: Rahman Dukes’ pick for our team. According to Rahman, the veteran Queens native “releases the best hip-hop album of 2008 (sorry Lil Weezy), arguably the best in his 10-plus-year career, so it’s only fitting Esco represents the East Coast rap squad, which this year has seen OK releases from G-Unit, Prodigy and Fat Joe.” Because his album’s called Untitled, the verdict’s out on his exact position. But Rahman thinks “he’d be a great umpire, only because Nas calls the shots.”
Mariah Carey: Our resident Mariah fanatic Kristin Grimmett thinks Mrs. Cannon would provide a nice boost to our all-star squad, because of her sales prowess and her five-octave range. She’s one of music’s best comeback stories and, unlike Jason Giambi, she didn’t have to cultivate a mustache to turn her career around. And don’t be fooled by the fact that she couldn’t even reach the plate when she tossed out the first pitch during a major-league game in Japan a few months back — when the pressure’s on, Mariah steps up her game and could prove a valuable asset for our team. But, of course, there are no bikinis in baseball, so perhaps Mariah would be best suited as a bench coach.
Amy Winehouse: Gil Kaufman’s pick for our fantasy team is Wino, “because her antics — from the alleged drug snorting in videos to the emphysema diagnosis, fan-punching and banana-sandwich diet — are like the drama of an extra-inning World Series game seven between the Yankees and the Red Sox, multiplied by a seventh-inning stretch featuring a slow tango by A-Rod and Madonna across home plate … times two.” Assuming she wouldn’t have the strength to actually stand for an entire inning, let’s make Amy our designated hitter. After all, you can’t really rely on her to show up to play her position, and it’s hard to balance a smoke, a highball and a mitt when trying to catch a pop fly.
Now, you go. Who’s on your all-star music team?