Baseball relief pitchers are like professional wrestlers in that they have great entrance music to announce their presence with authority when they enter a close game in the late innings. And no closer is more associated with his music than the Sandman, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, who’s been jogging in from the bullpen to the tune of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for most of his illustrious career. At last night’s All-Star game in New York, the 43-year-old got the call one last time in his final midsummer classic before his planned retirement. The music blared, the players paid tribute, the fans stood, Rivera mozied onto the mound and tipped his hat. And then… something happened.
Just as Yankees fans finished wiping tears from their eyes (and even as Mets and Red Sox fans applauded in grudging appreciation), Fox TV analyst Tim McCarver — who’s also retiring after this season — dug deep into the song’s lyrics. Perhaps McCarver is a Metallica fan from way-back. Perhaps some Fox Sports intern handed McCarver the lyrics to share with MLB’s mature television audience (mean age: 126). Or perhaps this is just Tim McCarver being the Master of the Universe that he’s always known himself to be. “How ’bout the chorus to “Enter Sandman’…,” McCarver began, as a million Gen-Xers picked up their smartphones in unison. McCarver’s recital of the lyrics is a brilliant blend of professorial condescension and beat poetry that I doubt James Hetfield and Co. ever imagined, even in their darkest nightmare. Click below for audio only, or click here for video of both Rivera’s entrance and McCarver’s… tribute?