Playing baseball is a lot more fun and relaxing when A) A team has nothing to play for, except for spoiling a playoff contender's chances; and B) Said team is actually starting to put together a few wins.
The Arizona Diamondbacks fit both descriptions. With Tuesday's 7-4 win over the NL West-leading San Diego Padres, the D-backs have won five of six and finished August with a 16-13 record, their first winning record since August 2009 when they were 15-14.
How good is it going? So good that Adam LaRoche played a very public joke on teammate Kelly Johnson, and all Johnson could do was stand at home plate and laugh.
Johnson was the No. 3 hitter in the lineup Tuesday, and as he strolled up to home plate, his at-bat music wasn't his typical reggae-rap number. It was The Weather Girls' disco-alternative lifestyle hit, "It's Raining Men," the same song that Antoine and Blaine from In Living Color used for their "Men on Film" skit that was uproariously funny.
The first time I heard it up in the press box, I recognized it but thought it was a one-time gag. Then the DJ at the ballpark played it again for Johnson in the third inning for his second at-bat, and TV cameras caught the players in the dugout laughing and Johnson smiling in embarrassment at home plate.
"It was a good one," catcher Miguel Montero said. "He was laughing at the plate like, "What is this?"
"Right away everyone knew it was Rochie," Montero said of LaRoche, " because he'd been talking about that for about a week."
After two at-bats, Johnson, who went 0-for-3 but shined on defense Tuesday, got his normal song back.
"That was a good one huh?" manager Kirk Gibson said. "He (LaRoche) had a little fun. It's definitely a better mood for sure. That's good stuff."