The secret behind Milone's warm up music


The secret behind Milone's warm up music

OAKLAND -- One of the perks of being a professional baseball player is choosing what music to warm up or walk to the plate to. The musical representation chosen can often be a good indicator of a player's personality.Brandon Inge stepping to the plate to Movin' Like Bernie accurately portrays him as a joker, Josh Reddick's various WWE entrance themes represents him as a pro wrestling fan. But no player's musical selection is more telling than starting pitcher Tommy Milone's warm up song. His song proves he is a well rounded, quality individual, and a good friend.Upon glancing at the list of A's player's musical selections, the title of Milone's warm up song is missing. You can't use Shazam to find it online, you haven't heard it on the radio, you can only hear it at the Oakland Coliseum when he takes the mound. Why? Because he and good friend and former USC teammate J.D. Pomilia made it themselves.In 2008 Pomilia, a Bay Area Native, was teammates with Milone, Ryan Cook, and Grant Green at USC. While Pomilia is an infielder between the lines, he is a musician on the side. Prior to this season he was visiting with Milone and his girlfriend Tina, when Tommy played him the song he was planning to warm up to for his first Oakland start. Pomilia wasn't impressed."It was a song from five or six years ago, an Akon song or something," Pomilia said. "I was like, 'Ah, Tommy that's terrible, use one of these.' And I played him a bunch of beats I made and he chose one."With a little input and fine tuning from Milone, Pomilia was able to modify the song to his friend's liking."I liked it but I wanted to change it around a little bit," Milone said. "So he changed it around until he came up with something that I would want to walk out to.""For a rookie pitcher with a lot of pressure on him and your opening start, that's a real nice thing for him to do," Pomilia said.Milone has warmed up to that song in all 10 of his home starts. You can hear the song here:"I think it was the beginning that caught my attention," Milone said. "The bells were kinda like the song Hell's Bells. I was just listening for something that caught my ear."Milone and Pomilia worked on it up until the day before the pitcher's A's debut. Upon taking the mound at the Coliseum on April 9, Milone threw eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits and got his first career win with the A's.A special day for both Milone and Pomilia for different reasons."It was a huge honor," Pomilia said. "Hearing it in front of all those people when I went to the game it was pretty awesome. Anytime I thank him for doing it, he is like, 'What do you mean? Thank you for doing it.' He is just so humble about everything."
After 10 starts with the current warm up song, Milone decided it is time to change it up. So Pomilia went back to work on a new track. The initial concept was laid out in a couple of hours. After adding some digital plug-ins to enhance the sound of the guitar riff in the song, the collaborative effort began. Pomilia says he emailed the song to Milone after every major edit, Milone would then provide feedback.Pomilia makes these beats digitally, but he has played the saxophone since he was in sixth grade, and his mother's side of the family has vast musical experience. As a result, he doesn't like using digital instrumentals that sound too synthetic in his beats. One of Milone's main critiques of the new song was that it had a synthesizer throughout. On Milone's advice, Pomilia took down the synthesizer and had it fade in and out. That aspect of the song is one of it's most grabbing features.Here is the new track that Milone is debuting before Friday's start. Pop in some earbuds and listen to the song and you'll hear the synthesizer effect go back and forth in your ears:"I think the combination of similarities in musical taste and Tommy's honesty,results in a fun and rewarding collaboration," Pomilia said.Milone's 2.13 home ERA is sixth best in the American League. Could it be the spacious confines of the Coliseum? The extra foul territory? The warm up music perhaps?
RELATED: Tommy Milone's stats splits game logs
"Hopefully we keep doing this, he keeps pitching well at home and I keep telling him it's because of my music," Pomilia said with a laugh.While Milone has found his path as an emerging star in Oakland's starting rotation, Pomilia is working on forging his own future."I make the music on the side, baseball is my other huge love, but when I am angry, happy, or sad, it is such an out for me," Pomilia said. "Between school and sports it has been hard to put the time into it that I wish I could.""He's made some songs on his own, he sings them but I think he would rather write it," Milone said. "He enjoys to do that. It's not something that he does as a job, he just enjoys it. If he got the opportunity I think he would, it just hasn't caught up."For now, Pomilia is perfectly proud of his collaborations with his good friend. No doubt, both of them have bright futures."Obviously none of this would happen without him," Pomilia said of Milone. "There's some people that just deserve to be where they are in life and he is such a good friend. No matter what kind of success he finds, he is always going to be that friend."

A's spring training Day 39: Melvin applauds team's hitting approach

A's spring training Day 39: Melvin applauds team's hitting approach

MESA, Ariz. — Gaudy run totals in spring training usually don’t mean a whole lot once the regular season hits.

For A’s manager Bob Melvin, it’s the manner in which the A’s are going about things offensively that’s encouraging to him.

Oakland jumped on another opponent early, scoring five runs in the first Friday and rolling to an 8-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Granted, Chicago scratched starter Carlos Rodon in the morning and had to piece the game together with its bullpen.

But that only takes so much luster off the way the A’s are going about their business right now. They’ve won four in a row, and over their past five games they’ve racked up 71 hits and are averaging more than eight runs per contest in that span.

“The good thing is it’s contagious throughout the lineup,” Melvin said. “In the first inning alone we had four situational at-bats and four situational plusses. That’s something Bushy (hitting coach Darren Bush) really has been stressing all spring. We’ve had a lot of games where we just pass it on to the next guy, and if we’re gonna be successful this year, that’s what we’re gonna have to do is get contributions throughout the lineup.”

It’s interesting to watch how Melvin utilizes Matt Joyce. Early on he said he prefers the right fielder batting third when he’s in the lineup. But Joyce also is drawing starts at leadoff, as he did Friday, and the No. 2 spot. Increasing on-base percentage is a big need for the A’s, and Joyce entered Friday tied for the Cactus league lead with 10 walks.

He singled to spark a five-run first that included RBI singles from Trevor Plouffe, Yonder Alonso, Mark Canha and Chris Parmelee.

ELITE COMPANY: Melvin threw out some big-time names when asked who young third baseman Matt Chapman reminds him of.

One was Melvin’s former Giants teammate, Matt Williams, a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover.

“The defense, Matty was as good as anybody I've seen over at third base,” Melvin said. “The power, there are a lot of similarities. That’s probably the best comp I could think of.”

Melvin also mentioned current Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has won four consecutive Gold Gloves and posted back-to-back 40-homer seasons.

Not a bad couple of guys to be compared to.

“That’s exciting,” Chapman said. “It’s always nice to have people speak well of you. Those are two guys that I’m aware of how good they are.”

NOTEWORTHY: It was another start Friday where Kendall Graveman seemed to be on auto pilot, retiring hitters with ease and holding the White Sox to one run over seven innings. All the more impressive was that A’s hitters put together some very long half-innings, where Graveman had to make sure he stayed loose.

He simply took it as a good challenge to prepare for all those cold night games at the Coliseum. Named the A’s Opening Night starter just a day earlier, Graveman also used this start to focus on his cutter, being that his sinker has been locked in.

“It was good to have some innings where you have to sit for a while and go back out there,” Graveman said.

His ERA is 2.29 through five starts. He has one more tune-up before the April 3 opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

HEALTH UPDATES: Outfielder Jaff Decker continues to progress from his oblique injury. Now the key is whether he can return to games in time to make a final push for the 25-man roster. Alejandro De Aza appears to be his biggest competition to be the fifth outfielder, if the A’s end up carrying five.

“It just depends on when he gets in a game,” Melvin said of Decker. “I mean, he’s done enough obviously to make a big impression on us. But whether or not he’s even healthy enough at the end, we’ll see.”

ODDS AND ENDS: Ryon Healy swatted his fifth homer of the spring, a two-run shot, in the second inning. Entering Friday evening, Healy was tied for the major league lead in RBI (16) with Boston’s Pablo Sandoval. … Plouffe is on a recent tear and has lifted his average to .395. … Parmelee, a non-roster outfielder, is impressing in under-the-radar fashion. The left-handed hitter is batting .367. … Melvin is having a heck of a time getting switch hitter Jed Lowrie at-bats from the right side. He purposely switched things up to have Lowrie face the lefty Rodon on Friday, only to have Rodon get scratched. The A’s face lefties each of the next two days, and Melvin also mentioned sending Lowrie over to face minor league lefties if need be.

A's Jharel Cotton among MLB's brightest prospects to watch in 2017

A's Jharel Cotton among MLB's brightest prospects to watch in 2017

CHICAGO -- Corey Seager helped the Los Angeles Dodgers make it all the way to the NL Championship Series last year. Michael Fulmer developed into a reliable part of Detroit's rotation, winning 11 games for the Tigers with a 3.06 ERA.

Here is a closer look at a group of rookies hoping to have a similar impact this season:

-OF Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox: There is a lot to love about the 22-year-old Benintendi, who rocketed through Boston's minor league system after the Red Sox grabbed him with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft. He made it to the majors last August and hit .295 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 34 games. He also went deep in the AL Division Series against Cleveland.

-2B Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox: The Cuban slugger was acquired by Chicago in the blockbuster deal that sent lefty ace Chris Sale to Boston. The rebuilding White Sox plan to go slow with Moncada, who just turned 21 in September. But he could bring his powerful swing and athleticism to Chicago's starting lineup at some point this summer.

-RHP Jose De Leon, Tampa Bay Rays: The chance to bring in De Leon was just too tempting for the Rays, who got the right-hander in a January trade with the Dodgers for second baseman Logan Forsythe. De Leon, who likely will begin the year with Triple-A Durham, made his major league debut in September and was 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts. He went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts last year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he was sidelined for stretches by ankle and shoulder injuries.

-SS Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees: The speedy Torres was the youngest MVP in the history of the Arizona Fall League last year at age 19. He carried that success into spring training, drawing praise for his impressive skills and maturity. The Yankees appear set at shortstop for now, but Torres could make it to New York soon.

-RHP Jharel Cotton, Oakland Athletics: Cotton dazzled in his first stint in the majors last year, going 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts. He was acquired by the Athletics in the August trade that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers.

[RELATED: Down on the Farm: 10 A's prospects to watch in 2017]

-OF Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians: The 6-foot-5 Zimmer drew praise from Indians manager Terry Francona this spring for his bat and improvement in the outfield. Zimmer, a first-round pick in2014 from the University of San Francisco, batted .250 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in two minor league stops last season.

-RHP Tyler Glasnow, Pittsburgh Pirates: The 23-year-old Glasnow struggled a bit in his first stint in the majors last year, but the 6-8 right-hander looked great this spring. He went 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA in 20 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis in 2016.

-SS Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves: The Kennesaw, Georgia, native played college ball at Vanderbilt before he was selected by Arizona with the first pick of the 2015 draft. The Diamondbacks traded him to Atlanta six months later, and he hit .302 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 38 games with the Braves last year. He was slowed by back stiffness this spring, but he has the look of a budding star.

-OF Dylan Cozens, Philadelphia Phillies: The 2012 second-round pick had 40 homers, 125 RBIs and 21 steals in 134 games for Double-A Reading last season. He is expected to begin this year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but his major league debut could be soon.

-OF Lewis Brinson, Milwaukee Brewers: The future of Milwaukee's outfield looks pretty good, with Brinson, Brett Phillips and Ryan Cordell slated to begin the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Brinson, who arrived last August in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with Texas, hit .268 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs over three minor league stops in 2016.

-OF Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres: The 25-year-old Renfroe has big-time power. He was promoted late last year and connected against San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner for his first major league homer on Sept. 24. He also hit the first-ever home run onto the top of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in left at cavernous Petco Park.

-1B Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers: The son of former Yankees outfielder Clay Bellinger hit 23 homers for Double-A Tulsa last year. With Adrian Gonzalez entrenched at first, Cody Bellinger, 21, also could play in the outfield to speed his ascension to the majors.