OAKLAND -- "Can you Bernie Lean? Can you, can you Bernie Lean? I can Bernie Lean, I can, I can Bernie Lean."
As the lyrics to ATM & IMD's Bernie Lean song reverberated through the empty Oakland Coliseum, a group of eight A's players tilted back and wiggled to the beat (or in some cases off beat) with the young Los Angeles-based rappers and their camera man. A's manager Bob Melvin looked on -- likely in horror. They were doing the Bernie, the cult dance craze loosely based on "Weekend At Bernie's II" that has spread through the A's clubhouse and into the stands.
As part of "Bernie Weekend" at the Coliseum, Coco Crisp and the A's invited the Bernie Lean musicians out to shoot a music video on Friday and Saturday.
The players rallied around the opportunity.
"It's very cool," Jerry Blevins said. "It's one of those things where as a baseball player you are presented with random opportunities to do cool stuff, and that was definitely one of them."
The craze all started when Blevins discovered ISA's song "Moving Like Bernie" and played it for Crisp, who then played it in the clubhouse for the team. Brandon Inge then made it his walk up song. Once it was introduced to the masses, it exploded. That's a different song altogether though. (Yes there's actually more than one Bernie song.) The song they were shooting the video for is called "Bernie Lean." A different spin on the Bernie that Crisp discovered when rapper ATM sent him the link on Twitter.
"I was checking it out and I was like, 'Man this dude is hilarious,'" Crisp said. "The song is awesome. The production, the beat is amazing."
When Inge went on the DL, Crisp decided someone had to come out to a Bernie song. He took the torch and ran with it.
"I didn't necessarily want to because I was hitting well with that other song I had," Crisp said. "But I did it, I kept hitting which is always a bonus, and then everybody liked the song, and everybody was tweeting about it."
The rest, as they say, is history.
Next thing you know Terry Kiser, who played Bernie Lomax in the Weekend at Bernie's movies, is at an A's game throwing out the first pitch, there is a music video being shot at the Coliseum and the A's are putting up 20 runs on the scoreboard against the Red Sox.
"That's the key to our whole success," Blevins said. "On top of having talent and great leadership, we have a relaxed atmosphere and we expect to win and play to win."
The loose atmosphere in the A's clubhouse is an integral part of their success on the field. It translates into wins. The A's are a season-high 17 games over .500. As the players did their best Bernie dances, you could see the smiles on their faces and hear the laughs. They even tried to get their manager in on the act.
"You're not going to see me in any videos like that," Melvin said. "I would have to be promised something pretty exotic to get me in a video like that."
The skipper did eventually name his price: 20 wins in a row -- and it would have to be guaranteed.
"I do enjoy that whole Bernie dynamic thing," he said. "It seems the fans have a good time with it."
Crisp, Blevins, Cook, Evan Scribner, Sean Doolittle, Jordan Norberto, George Kottaras, and Josh Reddick were involved in the music video shoot, providing an eclectic collection of dance performances.
"It was hilarious seeing the different Bernies," Crisp said. "The different rhythm people had with the song being played."
When asked to critique each other's dance moves, the A's players came to a quick conclusion as to who the Bernie master was.
"I've got to give it to Coco; he's got the rhythm," Blevins said. "He can dance with anything, so he makes any type of dance look good."
"I think Coco has the best different variations of the Bernie," Cook said. "Blevins is giving him a run for his money."
As the expert, Crisp gave a detailed breakdown of his teammates. Crisp described Scribner's Bernie as a stiffer version, said Blevins had a real loose lanky Bernie and added that Norberto's accessories made his dance stand out.
"He had the funky glasses and the beard," Crisp said. "He had the arms moving kind of like they do in right field with Grant Balfour's rage, but it was in a Bernie downward motion."
While the video gets ingested and edited, the A's will have to go back to work and do what they do best -- play ball.
"We know our main focus isn't doing things like that," Crisp said. "Our main focus is to come here and play the game, but to be able to enjoy yourself at the ballpark with your teammates is like a clubhouse thing, a chemistry thing."
Don't think for a second the A's players believe they would be able to film dance videos at the Coliseum if they weren't currently one of the best teams in baseball. Even when dancing like stiffs, they have pretty good, although wobbly, heads on their shoulders.
"I feel like some of this stuff wouldn't fly if we weren't winning," Cook said. "With that said, that's part of the fun and part of winning."