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Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion

At any spare break in the action, loud, loud, LOUD pop music coursed through the stale Astrodome air. It was obviously a way to give a Friday night at the "ballpark" a jolt. But this is the norm around the league. Probably every major ballpark, with the exception of Wrigley Field, submits its fans and players to up-tempo contemporary pop before and during games. With the addition of new computer software this year, according to the Astros' vice president of communications, Rob Matwick, the process of getting the right song on at the right moment has become more efficient than ever. Noonie Oakes from KTJM FM slings the discs.

But the experience of watching Astros players step up to the plate that fateful Friday night seemed to me similar to watching WWF wrestlers descend into the ring. Dramatic hip-hop and rock paved the way. For example, as Derek Bell took the batter's box, "Jump Around," by off-the-face-of-the-earth rappers House of Pain, shook the entire stadium. It vanished the moment Bell's feet were both planted. Right on cue.

And, oh, how appropriate was it that most of the black players were introduced by dance/R&B/ rap numbers, while most of the white players were introduced by pop/rock favorites?

What's disturbing about all this is the disruption of what was once America's serene pastime. Outrageously roaring pop music is okay at Thunderbears or Aeros games, but at the diamond? Not only that, but I have problems with being subjected to other people's lousy taste in music. Especially when a wanna-be G drives past my apartment in his souped-up, low-ridin' Dodge Neon with Juvenile blasting from his speakers. That shit makes me sick. Same goes for at the ballpark. Either incorporate more organ music or let me pick the tunes. When Jeff Bagwell takes his place in the batter's box, I'll play Elvis's "Your Cheatin' Heart." When Bell gets ready to bat, I'll spin Springsteen's "I'm Goin' Down" (to reflect Bell's descent in the batting order). And when Shane Reynolds takes the mound, I'll put on -- what else? -- "U Can't Touch This." See? Then there's some method to the madness.

Clarification

Last week's story about The Brewery caused some woe for then-anonymous source Jason Crouch of the Danglers, the Austin band that sometimes plays The Brewery, and folks at the pub themselves. Crouch in no way meant to imply that any club, especially The Brewery, cheats its performers out of money. Nor did he intend to appear "bratty." And Michael Holliday of The Brewery says the club makes no profit from cover charges. The Danglers is a solid outfit and a boon to any club. E-mail Anthony Mariani at anthony_mariani@houstonpress.com.

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