Who better to remember Michael Jackson?
Haven't figured out a way to work Farrah Fawcett in here, but regular followers of the blog certainly know there's an easy tie-in between USF athletics and Thursday's sad news of the death of Michael Jackson. Jackson, of course, was perhaps the centerpiece of the now-famous USF-UConn danceoff at the Big East baseball tournament, the video of which has drawn close to a half-million views on Youtube.com.
So it was only natural, then, that Friday afternoon, I reached out to Scottsdale, Ariz., where former USF pitcher Shawn Sanford, who showcased his dancing moves to Jackson's "Beat It" about 80 seconds into the video, is training as a rookie in the Giants' minor-league system.
Sanford said he was in the locker room Thursday afternoon when he got the news about Jackson from USF infielder Jordan McGillis -- he's the "Lord of the Dance" one at the end of the video. "When he told me that Michael Jackson died, my heart just dropped," Sanford said. "I was so upset. Not crying, but certainly upset to hear that."
Ask Sanford if he has any Jackson on his I-Pod, and he quickly rattles off 20-plus songs, clear down to the "Free Willy" soundtrack. He said his roots with Jackson came to a wedding when he was 9 years old, wearing a tuxedo and white shoes, and took over the dance floor when "Beat It" came on. "I just dropped that split, and it's been a legend ever since," he said.
Sanford's enjoyed the ridiculous viral popularity of the danceoff video -- in meeting his new teammates with the Giants, as soon as he said he was from USF, they asked him if he was involved in the danceoff. "They were like 'I don't believe you. Do it right now," Sanford said, and of course, he obliged.
Sanford's top three MJ songs? He said No. 3 would be "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," and next would be "Billie Jean," but his No. 1 has to be "Beat It." "That's everything about Michael Jackson right there," he said. "It's the first song I did the split for. Hey, it's the only move I've got."
Sanford, still working in extended spring training, threw a scoreless inning Thursday night in his outing and is due to pitch again Monday, then will likely report to Oregon and the rookie-league team there.
Yes, the Big East ballot is coming very shortly ... in the meantime, feel free to comment on your favorite MJ song. Don't make me delete any comments ...