The music world lost one of its true titans yesterday with the passing of Tina Turner. The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll left behind an incredible song catalog and an even more impressive legacy. In her honor, we've taken a look at her songs through a new lens: as members of the baseball team we love, the New York Mets. Sound crazy? Maybe. But what's love got to do with it?
If Mets players were Tina Turner songs
Proud Mary- Brandon Nimmo
Let's start things off with the Mets' leadoff man, Brandon Nimmo. The hustling centerfielder is the perfect fit for Proud Mary, Turner's explosive cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic. Like the second half of the song, Nimmo is a ball of energy, laying out for diving catches in the field and sprinting even when he hits a home run. He even runs when he walks! Nimmo's hustle was rewarded this offseason with an eight-year, $162 million contract by Mets owner Steve Cohen, giving new meaning to the lyrics "You don't have to worry, if you got no money, people on the river are happy to give."
We Don't Need Another Hero- Jeff McNeil
While most of the league is swinging out of their shoes to try and crush home runs, Jeff McNeil knows what he is: an outstanding contact hitter. His old school game stands out against the ever-encroaching baseball dystopia where every hitter adheres to the "three true outcomes" style of play, much like Turner's hopeful anthem emerges from the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
What's Love Got to Do with It- Ronny Mauricio
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken? Mets fans that have longed for the arrival of heralded prospect Ronny Mauricio on the big league roster have been asking themselves that same question for weeks now. Turner's song reflects on the difficulty of fully giving yourself to another, even when the level of attraction is so high. Mets fans don't want to be hurt again by another "can't miss" prospect, but Mauricio's highlights have us feeling like Turner when she sings, "You must understand, how the touch of your hand makes my pulse react."
I Don't Wanna Fight- Daniel Vogelbach
Turner's song about a relationship that has run its course is eerily reminiscent of Vogelbach's short tenure with the Mets. The big DH became a fan favorite when he was acquired last year from the Pirates, but his patient approach and dip in power this season has worn on Mets fans that are ready for a fresh start. The arrival of Mark Vientos may have signaled that Daniel Vogelbach's days as the Mets' permanent DH are numbered. One can almost hear Vogelbach singing the background vocals of, "This time I'm walking, babe." We know, and that's the problem.
Nutbush City Limits- David Robertson
Whereas Turner grew up in rural Tennesee, Robertson hails from Birmingham, Alabama. Nutbush City Limits talks about growing up in the South, and like Turner, Robertson eventually graduated to the big city, and he has performed exceptionally well under the bright lights of New York, first in a stint with the Yankees, and now with the Mets. The reliever may not have Turner's flair, but he's displayed a Turner-like longevity in a major league career that's now in its 15th year.
I Can't Stand the Rain- Edwin Diaz
It's only fitting to follow Robertson with Diaz, the injured closer whose role he has inherited. Turner sings of love lost, which is what it feels like for Mets fans every time they think of their electric reliever. As great as Robertson has been, Mets fans can't help but wonder what a 1-2 bullpen punch of Robertson and Diaz would have looked like. "Tell me, do you remember? How sweet it used to be." Yes Tina, yes we do. I can almost hear the trumpets now.
I Don't Wanna Lose You- Francisco Alvarez
The recent rumors that Francisco Alvarez could get sent back to the minors once Tomas Nido and Omar Narvaez return from the IL are flat-out crazy. Alvarez has been everything Mets fans could have hoped for and more, displaying power at the plate and defensive acumen behind it. Still, like Turner, we have no choice but to worry about something beyond our control. "Though I hardly know your name, I know about love and I know I don't wanna lose you." It seems like Alvarez just got here, but Mets fans are already head over heels. Don't take that away from us.
Private Dancer- Justin Verlander
One of Turner's biggest hits, Private Dancer is a song about doing what you have to do to get what you want in life. Steve Cohen has inverted Turner's lyrics by using his near-endless cash to accomplish his goal: bringing a World Series title to Queens. Verlander was one of the sexiest additions of the offseason, and after missing the beginning of the year due to injury, he's shown what all the fuss was about, giving up two runs or less in three of four starts while stabilizing a Mets rotation that needed the help.
Goldeneye- Max Scherzer
Turner's contribution to the Bond canon is a perfect fit for the Mets' ace. Forget the obvious bit about matching this song to a man who famously has two different eye colors, and think instead about how Goldeneye was a return to form for one of cinema's most enduring franchises. Not unlike how the Bond franchise had begun to seem long in the tooth before bringing aboard Pierce Brosnan, Scherzer was looking like his best days were behind him at the start of the season. Two straight excellent starts have erased that, though. Turner sings of "a gold and honey trap." A reference to Scherzer's ejection for sticky stuff against the Dodgers? Mets fans are now hoping for a strong Daniel Craig-like finish to the season.
It's Gonna Work Out Fine- Kodai Senga
Kodai Senga's debut in the majors has been the definition of uneven. Lights out at home, extremely hittable on the road, Senga has been a human pinball. Walks have been a major issue. Only one time in nine starts has Senga surrendered less than three walks, a concerning number to be sure. The unhittable nature of his ghost fork pitch should allay Mets fans' fears, though. Senga is still getting used to the difference between the majors and Japan, not to mention being a stranger in a strange land. All in all, he's done a great job to already be a solid starter with a sub-4.00 ERA. Give him time, Mets fans. It's gonna work out fine.
River Deep, Mountain High- Brett Baty and Francisco Lindor
"When you were a young boy did you have a puppy that always followed you around?" Turner asks, and I can't help but think of Brett Baty rushing to Francisco Lindor after the latter walked off the Guardians with a 10th inning single. Just 29, Lindor has taken on a leadership role with the "Baby Mets," and the team seems to be more tight-knit now than ever before. The Mets will need that love and team cohesion to get "stronger in every way" as the season advances if they want to make a run.
The Best- Pete Alonso
There was only one way to end this article. When Turner sang, "Speak a language of love like you know what it means," did she mean Alonso dropping the full LFGM on national TV after blasting yet another baseball into the stratosphere against the Rays? Because that's my love language. Someone with computer skills could make a mashup of Alonso's dingers with this song in the background and I would never need another motivational video. Alonso is the premier slugger in the game, and the most exciting player on the Mets. He's simply the best.