PHILADELPHIA -- The song that fires up Brad Lidge for home save situations is more than a heavy metal tune. He enters to "Soldiers," by Dallas-based Drowning Pool, and thinks of two people close to him who have fought in Iraq. Brother-in-law Matt Littrell has served two tours with the Marines, and plans to go back as a chopper pilot. And Lidge's best friend, Brian Mack, is at the Air Force Academy. "They have some pretty amazing stories, and I have so much respect for what they've done," Lidge said. "It's awesome. What Drowning Pool is doing, playing concerts [in Iraq] ... for me, that's important, because they're not just a rock band. They have a cause, so it's exciting to be a part of that."
Drowning Pool has played in Iraq twice -- in November 2005 and December 2006, and their experiences interacting with the soldiers led to the song, which became a hit in the summer of 2007. The four members of the band spent Thursday morning at Citizens Bank Park hanging out with Lidge and Brett Myers, who uses the song "Enemy" while warming up for his starts. The band was in town Thursday morning before playing a show in Atlantic City, N.J., later that night, as part of their "This is For the Soldiers" tour to support expanded health care for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. "We've done some big festivals in Europe in front of 80,000 people, but nothing compares to the 4,000 troops over there," lead singer Ryan McCombs said. "For two hours, you can see it in their eyes. They're back at home at a rock show. It's the most humbling experience any of us have ever had." Lidge, of course, is pleased to hear that. The Phillies closer has visited troops regularly at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and gives his time whenever he can. "That's eye-opening and moving," Lidge said. "We visited people who had limbs taken off and they are so upbeat about what they're doing. When I find out some of the things the band is doing for the soldiers, it sends chills down my spine. It's one of the reasons I have so much respect for them." Supporting the troops is not up for debate to Lidge. "Sometimes I think we shouldn't be there, and sometimes I think this is really important," Lidge said. "No matter what thoughts go through my head, I'll always support the troops, because they are paying the ultimate price. That's as honorable an occupation as you can have." Picking "Soldiers" as his song was easy. In Houston, he entered to Drowning Pool's "The Game." "It's important to feel like we're not pumping a lame song when we're running out there," Lidge said. Myers explained that "All baseball players want to be rock stars, and vice versa." Lidge seconded that notion, despite being absent of musical talent. "When I try to play any instruments, my illusions are dispersed," Lidge said. "That doesn't stop me from jamming out in the car, [on] air guitar or air drums."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.