Music is a significant part of the baseball experience.
The Boston Red Sox are known for “Sweet Caroline,” “Shipping Up To Boston, “Dirty Water,” and “Tessie.” The New York Yankees play Frank Sinatra’s iconic “New York, New York” after home victories. The Chicago Cubs have “Go Cubs Go!” There’s the seventh-inning stretch played by organists who harken back to the days when baseball really was America’s pastime, and batters and pitchers have their walk-up/walk-out songs.
A game’s soundtrack isn’t just rooted in tradition, either. Sometimes, a melody becomes crucial to the contest.
For former Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, changing up his walk-in song might have saved his season. Between Opening Day and August 17, Kimbrel posted a 4.46 ERA over 45 appearances. Since switching to Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” from the Disney smash hit Frozen on August 21, he’s been lights-out. Not only has he shut out opposing lineups, he’s no-hit them, too. If not for two walks, he’d be on a perfect streak.
Craig Kimbrel’s new Disney entrance has produced magical results
Kimbrel’s walk-in music was a huge part of his dominance in Boston, too. At Fenway, he entered to Ted Nugent’s ‘Stranglehold’ as the video board above the bleachers showed his face surrounded by flickering flames; the Sox won three consecutive division titles and a World Series. With the Atlanta Braves, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ would blare as he led the National League in saves four seasons in a row, beginning with his Rookie of the Year season in 2011. In 2013, he led all of MLB in with a career-high 50 saves.
This summer, New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz’s entrance song of choice, “Narco,” became such a phenomenon that Timmy Trumpet brought his instrument to Citi Field for a live performance. As fans reveled in the melodic brass, Diaz took the mound and preserved a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers.
Several Sox players throughout the years have chosen unique songs of their own. In 2018, utilityman Brock Holt came up to bat as Whitney Houston belted her masterpiece, “I Will Always Love You.” Late in games, Xander Bogaerts switches his walk-up song from “In A Minute” by Lil Baby to DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya.” Maybe that’s why he’s a career .303/.377/.455 hitter in late & close situations and .297/.357/.460 when hitting in innings 7-9.
Unfortunately, it’s too late for any of the current Sox bullpen arms to see if Disney can work its magic on them.