The Ax Man Cometh

Recently retired closer Trevor Hoffman has a clear shot at the Baseball Hall of Fame, courtesy of his gaudy career saves total. He also had one of the greatest intro songs ever as a member of the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers bullpens—AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.” As Andrew Bonazelli’s Q&A with former Minnesota Twins/current Padres reliever Pat Neshek in Decibel revealed a couple years back, professional baseball players have shitty taste in music. Take, for example, Hoffman’s two predecessors on the Brew Crew:  Derrick Turnbow (Metallica’s “Fuel,” which approximately 50 percent of active major leaguers still use as at-bat music) and blown save king Francisco Cordero (Saliva, which is the next logical step after discovering Load-era Metallica and Disturbed).
Current Brewers closer John Axford had his work cut out for him when Hoffman went down with injuries last year, but he was lights-out for the first half of the season and really strong after July (his K/9 rate, which reflects the average number of strikeouts over nine innings, was fantastic). Still, something was missing: a totally kick-ass intro theme. Axford got pumped up to “Cochise” (a.k.a. the only Audioslave song that doesn’t completely suck) in ’10, but decided to entertain a new choice this offseason and put it up to a fan vote.

Enter Tyler Mass and Jared Blohm, both veterans of the excellent Brewers blog Right Field Bleachers. Blohm planted the suggestion of Refused’s “New Noise” on Axford’s Facebook page back in January with very specific instructions: “especially if they started the song at about the 3:30 mark and [you] kicked open the bullpen door at 4:08.” When Axford claimed to be a fan of the song, Mass started campaigning openly for votes in his Talkin’ Baseball column in the The Onion, which led to a dedicated “New Noise for Axford’s Intro” Facebook page, which led to a close vote between the usual suspects (Korn, Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” The theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), which led to: victory!

As of last week, “New Noise”—the “Song #2” of Swedish hardcore—is Axford’s new closing music. And after a rough spring and equally rough start to the ’11 season, Axford is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities since adopting “New Noise.” So now he has the greatest theme music since Trevor Hoffman and the greatest ‘stache since Rollie Fingers. Now if only he’d round to the mound wearing one of the monster masks from the “New Noise” video…

Axford enters to” New Noise” 4/6/11:

Axford enters to “New Noise” 4/7/11: