There is a reason sports fans see so many media images of professional athletes wearing those omnipresent Beats headphones in locker rooms.
Most athletes these days use music as a way to get pumped up before games and then to cool down afterwards. The problem, of course, is that the typical locker room is going to have a lot of trouble coming up with a common play list for what will end up at high volume on the big speakers. Techno, rap, country, heavy metal and old-school R&B don’t mix all that well. Thus, many athletes crank things up on headphones.
However, there are stars who have earned enough respect, veterans who have enough clout, that they get to play their music on their own sound systems at their lockers or even over the house systems in the weight room. Other players cut them some slack, because they’ve earned it (or they demand it). To one degree or another, everyone else in the room is going to know that this athlete needs that music. Often it’s a symbolic thing, a link to particular culture or life experience. And that’s that.
Thus, I noted with interest the following reference (a passing reference, with no follow-up information) in a Baltimore Sun article about the new shooting star in the Orioles locker room — slugger Nelson Cruz.
Cruz quickly has become a part of the Orioles family in Baltimore.
He appreciates that his teammates let him play his Christian music in the workout room, even though O’Day joked that his singing is lacking. Cruz’s Twitter feed includes photos of him and fellow Latin players, like Ubaldo Jimenez, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, out at dinner together on the road.
Now that’s interesting. There are some high-profile religious believers in that locker room (another former Texas Rangers slugger, Chris Davis, leaps to mind), but I had no idea that Christian faith played a role in the dramatic up-and-down drama surrounding Cruz. I wanted to know more about that. Honest, he cranks up Christian music in the team weight room? Outrageous.
I still want to know more about that. Even after yet another giant Sun feature on Cruz that ran Sunday on A1, instead of the sports page.
Why would a faith-angle matter? Well, for starters Cruz has lived a rather complex moral life in recent years. The story ran under this complex double-decker headline:
After a tumultuous year, red-hot Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz has never been happier
Though drug scandal remains part of his story, Cruz is beloved by fans, teammates as he readies for All-Star Game
So if Cruz is a man of faith, surely the Sun team is going to ask him some questions about how his admitted past use of performance-enhancing drugs fits into that picture. Right?