Red Sox return to familiar Fenway sounds; who has the best walk-up music?
The Red Sox return to Fenway Park following the All-Star break, opening up a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals tonight. The players return to the comforts of home, including their favorite tunes accompanying them to the plate.
Just recently, I became aware that San Francisco’s Michael Morse employs seminal 80’s hit “Take on Me,” by A-ha in his approach to the dish for his third plate appearance of the night at AT&T Park. He’s actually been using it for several years, as this Deadspin piece points out. How did I miss this? Is this my punishment for fighting the system and giving up cable when I lived in a 375 square foot box in the South End? Missing the 2012 NLCS apparently meant missing out on the magic.
Look at that: 40,000 plus in unison, fighting back the onset of winter in their crimson jackets and hoodies, belting out A-ha as the home team fights to stay alive. Unfortunately for Morse and the Nats, “I’ll be gone in a day or twoooo” proved prescient, as the Cardinals bounced the D.C. nine in five games.
Such is the beauty of 21st century baseball with its walk-up music. It can be jarring (thanks, Lil’ Jon). It can be mistakenly profane (thanks, Manny). Like it or not, it’s part of the stadium experience, like when a professional wrestler heads to the ring. Heck, WWE fan and Oakland A’s outfielder Josh Reddick even used a pro wrestler’s entrance theme. And this.
In recent seasons, Red Sox fans have held sing-alongs to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” for Shane Victorino’s approach, and we can’t forget the fan reaction to Kevin Youkilis with Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” (Oh baby Yooouuuk!) And closers do it, too.
For years, Jonathan Papelbon used The Dropkick Murphys’ “Shipping Up To Boston” (with a fist-bump for the bullpen cop on the way out), popularizing the song as a playoff anthem, Riverdance meme and Sam Adams commercial accompaniment. But for my money, the best closer entrance was Keith Foulke, using “Mother” by Danzig. The guitar riff was a death knell for opposing batters in 2004, and even though Foulke faltered in the second half of his Sox career, he still had the most bad-ass entrance music in the game.
The current Sox display an investment in classic hip-hop. Dustin Pedroia, he of the West Coast roots, generally opts for some California rap like “Still D.R.E.” David Ortiz takes it way back with KRS-One’s “Step Into a World (Rapture’s Delight).” And catcher David Ross goes even further back, with old school dance floor anthems like “Funky Cold Medina” and “It Takes Two.”
Rookie Xander Bogaerts, somewhat fittingly, goes with “X Gon’ Give it to Ya” by DMX. But who did rookie Garin Cecchini lose a bet to for “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch?
And Koji Uehara? One word: Sandstorm.