PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard began as Simon Cowell and wound up as David Cook.
The Phillies MVP duo were supposed to judge select renditions of players singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," as part of a Baby Ruth-sponsored show airing next month on ESPN.
Feeling that the efforts of participants like the Padres' Jake Peavy, the Giants' Barry Zito, the Reds' Bronson Arroyo and the Angels' Torii Hunter lacked a special something, Rollins and Howard broke out the microphone for their own version of the classic seventh-inning stretch song.
"That was a switcharoo," Rollins said. "We thought we'd come up with something. They had the 'B' cameras rolling while we were doing our impromptu rendition. They liked it."
Boston's Sean Casey and Jonathan Papelbon especially liked the song, dubbed as the MVP Remix. They thought the Phils duo's take was better than those they were assigned to judge. As a "prize," Casey presented Howard and Rollins with a gift basket full of Baby Ruth bars.
"Getting that MVP Grammy means a lot," said Rollins, who recorded a song on 2005's "Oh Say Can You Sing," as did Casey. "I was a one-hit wonder until this came out. People have been waiting [for the follow-up]."
The show airs July 18 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Thirty-two players sang the song and were judged by their peers. A notable disappointment, according to several Phillies, was Shane Victorino, who sang off-key and forgot the words.
"I did not forget the words," Victorino said, offering no other explanation.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.