Your favorite baseball player’s heavy metal, hip-hop, or country song is just as much a part of the game these days as peanuts, hot dogs, and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Walk-up songs for each player at the bat have become an important part of the culture of Major League Baseball. This means the tune that blares throughout the stadium for the length of time it takes a player to make it from the dugout to the batter’s box, hopefully fires them up for a home run (or at least not a strikeout.)
Fans care about the walk-up songs for their favorite players, too. It’s easy to find lists of songs for most teams online, in case you’re interested in making a playlist. A quick search led me to this Washington Nationals list, so at least I know I’ll be ready for the next game.
What makes a great walk-up song? A scan of the choices of the many MLB baseball players reveals as much diversity in this opinion as there are musical genres. Hip-hop and rap (DMX and Jay-Z are favorites) is heavily represented, while some players definitely go country, others classic rock, and a number pick Spanish music and reggaeton.
Can a walk-up song have an effect on performance on the field? Some players say yes. Brandon Crawford recently told the San Jose Mercury News that his batting average jumped 20 points in the second half of the season when he switched his song up to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.”
If I got a slot in the Major League Baseball batting order, I’d be right there with Sean Doolittle from the Oakland A’s with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica. I need a little bit of heavy metal motivation to even think about hand-eye coordination, and this song is just the ticket. Metallica is a popular walk-up song pick, and lead singer James Hetfield told The Mercury-News that that’s fine by them: “It’s been great. We love that it can inspire others to another level.”
So next time you head to catch nine innings of America’s favorite pastime, now you know — that music playing when each player walks up to the plate really is their jam.
What would you pick for your walk-up song?
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons via Flickr user SD Dirk
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Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies 1 of 12
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles 2 of 12
Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals 3 of 12
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons via Flickr user djprybyl
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants 4 of 12
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals 5 of 12
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox 6 of 12
Big Papi has six -- count 'em, six -- walk-up songs listed in the Sox fan forum, including "What's My Name" by DMX and "Gotta Have It" by Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks 7 of 12
Got My Country On, by Chris Cagle, is Paul Goldschmidt's at-bat motivator.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees 8 of 12
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians 9 of 12
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays 10 of 12
Tantric's "Down and Out" is Longoria's walk-up song, like it or not.
"It's kind of hard to change now. Last year, I did a little funny thing where I put on Twitter I was going to try a different song and people were outraged, people were freaking out," Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times in April.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, via Flickr user KeithAllison
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers 11 of 12
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds 12 of 12