One of the most prominent Spring Training storylines has been All Things Roy Halladay. We have learned of his intense desire to perform in the postseason. We have noted the inverse relationship between his levels of facial hair, and his Opponents wOBA (a bearded Halladay is a dominant Halladay). The effect Halladay has had on his teammates, particularly his Padawan apprentice (Kyle Kendrick), is much more difficult to quantify, but certainly beneficial. The indomitable northpaw's first game action as a Phillie included three non-strikes, among his twenty-four offerings. However, he will, undoubtedly, improve upon those numbers, as the season progresses. (Besides, it's not like he gave up any runs, or hits, or anything like that.) There has been a veritable multitude of words spent on Halladay-related topics since his acquistion, yet there is one specific area that has not yet been suitably explored.
Since the Dawn of Sabermetrics, the factors that influence a pitcher's success (or failure) have been studied intensely. The areas that a pitcher has control over (whiffs, walks, and facial hair) have proven to be the best predictors of success. BABIP and HR/FB provide clues as to the sustainability of a pitcher's performance. A pitcher's Entrance Music appears to have a discernible effect on opposing batters, but the study of this particular phenomenon is still in its infancy. While determining the specific impact of an intimidating entrance song is an imprecise science, partially as a result of imperfect information and insufficient sample sizes, few question that such an impact exists.
Roy Halladay suffered from the adverse effects of a replacement level entrance song, during his time in Toronto. Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" is not a worthy choice for a perennial Cy Young candidate, especially one performing for a perennial World Series contender. There are numerous alternatives that can be utilized here, some including Halladay's nickname ("Doc"), and some playing on his surname. Making the assumption that the entrance song will only be played during home games, we can adjust for CBP's affect on Halladay's ERA. Assuming eighteen home starts, and optimal facial hair levels, we can use a proprietary formula to project Halladay's ERA with each of several potential entrance songs considered.
Dizzee Rascal, "Holiday"
Pertinent lyrics: "If you ain't doing nothing, let's fly away, drive away, take a holiday."
Commentary: This option could get the CBP crowd revved up, but won't intimidate many opposing batters.
Projected ERA: 3.19
Thompson Twins, "Doctor, Doctor"
Pertinent lyrics: "Doctor, Doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning? Oh Doctor, Doctor, is this love I'm feeling?"
Commentary: Pete Alexander would have struggled to keep his ERA under 3, with this entrance song.
Projected ERA: 3.43
Green Day, "Holiday"
Pertinent Lyrics: "I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies, This is the dawning of the rest of our lives, On Holiday!
Commentary: A worthy choice, but not sufficiently intimidating.
Projected ERA: 2.86
The Dandy Warhols, "Every Day Should Be a Holiday"
Pertinent Lyrics: "Anytime, Baby let's go, Every day should be a holiday"
Commentary: Perhaps a bit dated, but a decent choice.
Projected ERA: 3.06
Lindsey Buckingham, "Holiday Road"
Pertinent Lyrics: "I found out long ago, It's a long way down this holiday road."
Commentary: Reminiscent of the movie "Vacation." About as intimidating as Marty Moose.
Projected ERA: 3.38
Motley Crue, "Dr. Feelgood"
Pertinent Lyrics: "He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood, He's the one that makes you feel alright."
Commentary: Would not be an appropriate choice for Roy Halladay.
Projected ERA: N/A
The Dead Kennedys, "Holiday in Cambodia"
Commentary: Much less appropriate than the previous option.
Projected ERA: N/A
UFO, "Doctor, Doctor"
Pertinent Lyrics: "Doctor, Doctor please, oh the mess I'm in"
Commentary: Halladay does not get into messes, nor is he a "nervous boy."
Projected ERA: 3.28
Pertinent Lyrics: "Let me take you far away, You'd like a holiday."
Commentary: Too slow-paced, troublesome German-accented vocals.
Projected ERA: 3.34
Pantera, "Psycho Holiday"
Pertinent Lyrics: "Been put through the test, your mind laid to rest, you're on a psycho holiday."
Commentary: This appears to be the optimal entrance song.
Projected ERA: 2.34
While there are other possibilities that have yet to be examined, the projected ERA (2.34) produced by Pantera's "Psycho Holiday" appears rather difficult to beat. This is not surprising, as even Adam Eaton could (likely) produce a sub-6.00 ERA, with a Pantera entrance song. Hopefully, the statistical consultants employed by the Phillies organization will come to a similar, or superior, conclusion.