You had to be lucky to notice, it only lasted about fifteen seconds.  When Chris Carpenter walked to the plate to lead off the third inning Saturday night, the Reds’ stadium staff took the rare step of playing introduction music for an opponent.

The taunting of Carpenter with The Platters classic “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” followed a long tradition of using music in battle.  George Washington had his fife and drum corps.  Heavy metal music was played so relentlessly as a weapon in Operation Iraqi Freedom that American soldiers referred to it as “LallaFallujah.”

The inspiration for last Saturday’s song was Carpenter’s reported complaint that he was bothered by the smoke that hung over the GABP mound following a Ramon Hernandez home run on May 15.

The musical brushback on Saturday night ultimately failed.  Carpenter got the last laugh, pitching eight strong innings and contributing to the Cardinals’ decisive 3-run fifth by doubling on a Bronson Arroyo two-strike fastball.

As I sat in Section 130, still mystified by Dusty Baker’s lineup that had Edgar Renteria, playing and batting second, and Chris Heisey batting seventh ‘to protect Scott Rolen’, a related question crossed my mind:  Could the music selection by the Reds staff be second-guessed?

Much like their manager, the Reds staff had chosen to play a dated rendition of “Smoke,” when a newer, more athletic version, like from Sonny Rollins, was available.  How about the (slightly-creepy) Judy Garland take?  It would have highlighted Carpenter’s reputation for the overly-dramatic.

After careful deliberation, my lineup card play list would have featured The Muppets.  Imagine that video on the GABP scoreboard between innings before the Carpenter AB.  We’d have won the game as surely as if Zack Cozart had played second base.

If the Reds continue to use music as a psychological weapon, shouldn’t it be as effective as possible?  Maybe what their staff needs is the Nation’s help in choosing songs tailored to the upcoming home stand against the Braves, Mets and defending champion Giants.

Modern-day chin music, anyone?