Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014



Recently, an Oakland A's baseball player has been gaining a lot of notoriety.  No, it's not for his hitting streak. Nor is it for his charity work.  Nope, people are talking about the music he plays in the stadium when he "walks up" to bat.  He chose the overly sappy 1980's ballad "Careless Whisper."  Never heard of 'walk-up music'?  It began in 1974 in St. Louis.  Hall of Famer Lou Brock wanted the Theme from S.H.A.F.T. blaring in the loudspeakers before he swung the bat.  Since then, it has evolved into a silly...yet special...part of of baseball.  Let's count down the TOP TEN:

#10. Careless Whisper, Josh Reddick, RF Oakland.  Why a ballad?  Josh claims it was an impulse. "Somebody had Pandora on shuffle in the clubhouse. I was like.. 'What would happen if I tried this?'"  What happened?  Well, Bay Area fans are kooky, and they began slow dancing in the stands.  Will there be more George Michael to come? "I know 'Freedom' and 'Wake Me Up [Before You Go-Go],'" Reddick pondered. "I'm not a huge Wham! fan, but, you know, I definitely respect what they did."

#9. Danza Kuduro, Jhonny Peralta, SS Detroit.  Did you know that 35% of Major League players are Latino?  Not surprisingly, artists like Pitbull, Fuego and Wisin y Yandel are really popular.  This reggaeton anthem is particularly banging.

#8 Kashmir, Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia. Fact: Led Zeppelin belongs on this list.  They are the undisputed masters of plodding, intense hard rock. In fact, Chase credits this song to a twenty-point rise in his batting average. (Baseball players are highly superstitious!)

#7. Paint It Black, Joey Votto, 1B Cincinnati. The Rolling Stones also belong on this list.  Prior to stepping into the batter's box, you want to hear Keith Richards' legendary guitar echoing around the stadium.

#6. Jesus Walks, Jesus Montero, C Seattle. In addition to Classic Rock, Hip-hop is also popular among ballplayers, and Kanye West tops the list.  We selected this track because we think it's funny that Jesus walks up to Jesus Walks.

#5. Seven Nation Army, Stephen Strasburg, P Washington.   Also popular among College Bands, this White Stripes song is heavy on menacing bass guitar.  "It will still rock ten years from now," he explains. Stephen knows that when you associate yourself with threatening song, the opposition will quiver with fear!

#4. Crazy Train, Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland.  This track is popular in many other sports too.  It can be heard blaring in hockey arenas and NASCAR tracks as well.  These days, Ozzy Osborne is finally respected for his music instead of being hated as an Antichrist.

#3. Three Little Birds, Shane Victorino, LF Boston.  We salute Hawaiian native Shane for not selecting an ominous and threatening walk-up song.  Rather, Shane prefers uplifting reggae.   The fans at Fenway Park keep singing "Don't worry...'Bout a Thing" long after the PA system has stopped playing it.  "You live for those moments," explained the die-hard Bob Marley fan.

 #2. Welcome To The Jungle, Carlos Beltran, CF, St. Louis.  We wonder if Guns-N-Roses wrote this just be a walk-up song.  Slash's angry electric guitar riffs and Duff McKagan's drums seem to beat in time with a ballplayer's step as he approaches the plate.

#1. Enter Sandman, Mariano Rivera, P New York Yankees.  OK!  OK! We know Mariano retried last year.  But... If you've ever been at Yankee Stadium when The Sandman enters...you know what we mean!  The first Metalica chords begin thumping as he the bullpen doors open. Chin out, he proudly trots to the mound as the crowd roars in jubilation for their hero.  It's electric!

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