I love that every baseball game has its own soundtrack. Have you noticed that before? In a typical game there’s ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, ‘God Bless America’, ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’, an at-bat song for every hitter and an entrance song for every closer (the list goes on and on — visits to the mound often produce the Jeopardy theme song, etc.). I honestly feel like music is as much a part of baseball as stats are (and there are stats for EVERYTHING in baseball).
It’s always fun to see what song batters choose to come to the plate to. Since I grew up in Seattle, Ken Griffey, Jr. always had one of the best at-bat songs with Naughty by Nature’s ‘Hip Hop Hooray‘. The crowd would sway their arms in the air to the music every time Griffey came to the dish. I was a kid, so I always thought that was awesome. On the other hand, some at-bat songs never made much sense to me. Former Mariners catcher Joe Oliver came to the plate to the Baha Men’s ’Who Let The Dogs Out‘, while Dan Wilson strolled up to Salt-N-Pepa’s ‘Whatta Man‘.
I’m also a huge fan of a closer’s entrance music. I was fortunate enough to see Mariano Rivera (the all-time saves leader) come into the game at old Yankee Stadium to Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman‘. It was the one game I ever went to in the Bronx, and the crowd erupted the second the song came on. I honestly got chills — just like I’m sure the opposing batters did. I also got to see Jonathan Papelbon enter Fenway Park to ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston‘ by the Dropkick Murphy’s. That was awesome, because all the Red Sox fans started singing along (much like they do with ‘Sweet Caroline‘ in the eighth inning). You also have to love Rick Vaughn entering to ‘Wild Thing‘ in the movie Major League. It’s classic!
I’ve often wondered what I would choose as my entrance song if I was a big league closer. I tend to lean on ’Back in Black’ by AC/DC. It’s pretty clichéd, but there’s a reason behind it. When I was a junior in college I took an online survey that revealed your theme song. I answered the 20 or so questions, and the answer popped up – ’Back in Black’. I’m sure that same result came up for thousands of people who took the same survey, but I’ve always stuck with that as my jam. I think you can hear why it would be a good entrance song:
If I had to choose a current day song to enter a game to, I would go with ‘Icky Thump‘ by the White Stripes. I’ve only heard it on the radio a couple of times, but both times I thought it would be a bad ass entrance song (yes, that’s how my brain actually works). If it can get me amped up in my car as I drive to work, it could easily get me revved up to close down a Major League Baseball game:
Who’s doesn’t want to strike some dudes after listening to that?!
At-bat songs and closer entrance music give us an inside look at the players we watch on the diamond. For example, Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak comes to the plate to country music — not stereotyping — but that’s very fitting for a guy from South Carolina. If you’ve met Smoak; you know that’s perfect for him. The music they choose is often very personal to them, and it can stick with them for a long time. Dan Wilson hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2005, but guess what they played when he walked onto the field for his induction into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame this year? You guessed it — ‘Whatta Man’.
I would love to know what song you would choose for your at-bat song/closer entrance music! You can share in the comment section below or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more of my take on sports and music right now on http://allaroundtim.com!