While there is no denying how great it is to have the Tigers in the World Series, their tenure there, after three games, has been nothing short of frustrating. With every Detroit baseball fan in need of levity, I thought I’d piggyback off an article published yesterday in the Detroit Free Press by pop music writer Brian McCollum (and an extensive conversation I had during the ALCS with Matt) on baseball walk-up songs.
You know the ones – a batter walks from the dugout to the plate while a tune of their choosing blares from the loudspeakers. As McCollum reports, Alex Avila revels in “I Got Mine” by the Black Keys, while Miguel Cabrera gets revved up to Kanye West’s “Mercy”, Jose Valverde, ironically enough, to “The End of the Line” by Metallica (in better times, at least).
And it’s a phenomenon, of course, not limited to batters, in fact, the tradition started, many argue, with pitcher entrances from the bullpen to the mound. Some point to former Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch Williams as being among the first as he was greeted by the Trogg’s “Wild Thing” (his nickname) as he entered games (mimicked by Charlie Sheen in the movie, “Major League”) – although the music was not of Williams’ choosing. The Yankee’s Mariano Rivera, in fact, has said he never cared for the use of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” as he came in to close a game.
And while the song choices are now typically dictated directly by the players, they typically change year to year, game to game or even moment to moment. League-wide, rap leads player preferences (45%), followed by rock music (25%) and Latin (10%). Topping the “MLB charts” is Jay-Z, followed by Kayne West and Rick Ross, while Switchfoot rocks the most stadiums in baseball.
The next time you are at a game, keep your ears open and Shazam app at ready to catalogue your favorites. It’s another way to keep score of all the “hits” at the ballpark.