Chris Carter had a short career in the major leagues. He hit below league-average in 113 at bats from 2008-2010. He played in Japan the past two years. His career wasn’t that notable except for one thing: In 2010 with the Mets, Carter’s at-bat music was Rick Derringer’s “Real American.” As in Hulk Hogan’s entrance theme.
Sometime in the last 20 years —the origin is generally understood to be the 1993 Seattle Mariners–baseball players started to get to choose the music that plays before coming to bat. (Pitchers also get warm-up music on the mound.) This was a welcome development for two reasons: 1) it angered a lot of old-heads who complain about any sort of change or show of individuality in sports and 2) it allowed you to judge your favorite baseball players by musical taste instead of just baseball ability. Who’s the kind of player who would come out to “Rock Me Amadeus”? Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia , that’s who!
Picking entrance music is reminiscent of pro wrestling, making Hulk Hogan’s theme song a particularly strong choice. Thanks to the website Designated Hits, we even have a searchable database of players’ at-bat and warm-up themes. Nine different players use the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nine players also use Drake’s “Started from the Bottom.” Bryce Harper uses six songs, including one from Miley Cyrus.
So let’s take a look at the at-bat music of the Yankees, Mets, and some of the nobodies around the league and see who’s playing what, and how harshly we should mock them.
First, the Yankees:
3rd: Ichiro, “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (Snoop Dogg and Pharrell)
Sure, it’s funny Ichiro is using a nine-year-old Snoop song; it reminds us that Snoop Dogg is an international superstar. But it also allows you to do the Snoop steering wheel dance when Ichiro bats. He also uses Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance.”
2nd: Austin Romine, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (Journey)
This feels like a real entrance theme — a wrestler could use it — and it’s not as overplayed as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Romine may be hitting around .200, but he has great taste in rock.
Best: Mariano Rivera, “Enter Sandman” (Metallica)
Rivera almost never bats –he’s 0-for-3 with a walk in his 19-year career–but Metallica’s 1991 track plays when Rivera comes in to close out a game. It’s only too appropriate: He has the most saves in MLB history and is a no-doubt future Hall of Famer. He’s not even the first closer with the theme: Billy Wagner originally used it in Houston. But considering Wagner’s retired,we’ll let it slide.
This is Rivera’s last season, so this No. 1 spot is wide open next year.
Honorable mention: Mark Teixeira, Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky”; Curtis Granderson, Busta Rhymes’s “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”
Worst: Derek Jeter,P Diddy’s awful version of “Come with Me” he did for the Godzilla soundtrack
Couldn’t he just use Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” like the Phillies’ Chase Utley? As discussed above, it’s okay to steal. This is the same riff, only inferior. One can only hope this was chosen because 1998’s Godzilla is Jeter’s favorite film.
Dishonorable mention: Alex Rodriguez, Pitbull’s “International Love”; Kevin Youkilis, Soulja Boy’s “Crank That”; Mark Teixeira, O.A.R.’s “This Town”; Mark Reynolds, 311’s “Amber”
Now, the Mets:
3rd: Matt Harvey, “Heart of the Bloody City” (Jay Z vs. U2)
How is this different than Derek Jeter using what’s essentially a Diddy/Led Zep mashup? One, this isn’t a throwaway movie soundtrack project but a track done by German DJ MTM, a guy who’s a member of a group called Topdawgz. Two, Jay Z and U2 are a more appealing match than Diddy and anyone. Three, Harvey’s out for the year and he could use the pick-me-up.
2nd: Daisuke Matsuzaka, “All of the Lights”
This was a popular choice the year after My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy came out but has dropped off recently. It’s solid entrance music! Dice-K, a recent Mets signing, has picked up the slack by bringing it back to baseball. Oddly enough, no home run hitters use Kanye’s “Power.”
Best: David Wright, “I Got 5 On It” (Luniz)
The best drug-themed song at the ballpark, even better than when teams play the “bass” riff from “White Lines” after a walk.
Honorable mention: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, The Black Keys’ “Little Black Submarines” (he’s in the minors); Robert Carson, Meek Mill’s “Young and Gettin’ It” (he’s in the minors)
Worst: Daniel Murphy, “I”m Shipping Up to Boston” (Dropkick Murphys)
What’s a good city to use “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” as at-bat music? Not New York!
Dishonorable mention: Daniel Murphy (again!), Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done” and O.A.R.’s “This Town”; Justin Turner, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (so 2012!)
See also: Dropkick Murphys – Terminal 5 – 3/12/13
And, now, the rest of the league:
3rd: Yasiel Puig, “Yasiel Puig” (Mr. Criminal)
Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig is such a phenom this season that he now has his own custom song for his walk-up music. Out-of-this-world at-bat music, especially for a rookie.
2nd: Rickie Weeks, “Rich as Fuck (Lil Wayne)
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Rickie Weeks has the attitude I would have were I a baseball player making $11.5 million in 2013.
Best: Chris Getz, RBI Baseball theme music
Getz, a Kansas City Royals’ second baseman, has one-upped the rest of the league by picking the theme music from a 1987 Nintendo game. The Royals weren’t even in RBI Baseball! It’s the equivalent of an NFL quarterback getting to the line and going, “Ready, down, hut hut hut hut…” It’s simply fantastic. Getz ought to be proud.
Honorable mention: Dodgers’ Juan Uribe, Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”; Cardinals’ Jason Motte, Green Day’s “Brain Stew”; Athletics’ Tommy Malone, “just computer program sounds and beats“
Worst: Jay Bruce, Jason Castro, Ryan Dempster and Chris Parmalee, “Thrift Shop”
There’s nothing wrong with using a hit song–maybe you don’t care much about your music and just want the fans to enjoy a current chart-topper–but, man, be more careful when choosing a song celebrating purchasing your clothes at stores intended for poor people, rich professional athletes.
Dishonorable mention: Cardinals’ Pete Kozma, Godsmack’s “Keep Away”; Adam Dunn, Metallica’s “Turn the Page”; the entire Chicago Cubs lineup, as Wrigley uses organ music instead