Whether its Jay-Z or Justin Bieber, baseball players take their walk-up music seriously. Some players have become synonymous with their chosen songs (Chipper Jones and "Crazy Train," Paul O'Neill and "Baba O'Riley"), while others are better off leaving the DJing to the professionals.
Baseball players take their walk-up music seriously. Some players stick with the same song (Mariano Rivera has been coming out to pitch to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" for more than a decade) while others have a different song for each at-bat. Click through to see some of the most memorable walk-up songs in baseball history, and listen to the playlist
The Brooklyn Dodgers Sym-phony Band were an early precursor to walk-up music. The crew of untrained musicians entertained the fans (sometimes by teasing certain players) at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn from 1939 until the team left for L.A. in 1957. The Sym-phony would even taunt the umpires, often playing “Three Blind Mice” when they walked onto the field.
Nancy Faust, Chicago White Sox organist: "Nancy Faust would play songs that could be associated with the players, but not always songs that the players wanted to hear," says baseball historian and writer Bill James via a response in his "Hey Bill" online column. "Jim Palmer was notorious for [complaining] about umpire's calls, for example, so when Palmer started whining about the calls she would play a couple of bars of Johnny Cash's 'Cry, Cry, Cry.' These were just really subtle jokes that you wouldn't catch if you weren't paying attention."
"Mitch Williams, "Wild Thing" by The Troggs: "People saw similarities between his character and the way I threw the ball," says Mitch Williams, a former reliever and current MLB analyst nicknamed "Wild Thing" after the wild-pitching character in the 1998 classic movie Major League. "I played for the Angels [in 1995] and when I came in they played 'Wild Thing.' For Lee Smith they played 'Slow Ride' because it took him so long to get to the mound. But it wasn't everybody back then," Williams says.
Trevor Hoffman, "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC: The explosion in theatrical walk-up songs for closers began with this 1998 pairing by the San Diego Padres. "Being a classic rock song it was perfect for the San Diego fan base," says Chip Bowers, who worked in sales for the Padres and picked out the song for Hoffman.
Mariano Rivera, "Enter Sandman" by Metallica: Longtime Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has been coming out to pitch to "Enter Sandman" since 1999, after Yankees executives saw the success of "Trevor Time" in San Diego. "Mariano really could've cared less still doesn't care," says Mike Bonner, director of scoreboard and broadcast for the Yankees. "If he came out to Christian music he'd probably be happier."
Paul O'Neill, "Baba O'Riley" by The Who: This was the Yankees biggest walk-up hit ever, according to scoreboard director Mike Bonner. "It was just something about the opening chords or whatever that fans immediately responded to. The song became synonymous with him."
David Ortiz, "Big Poppa" by Notorious B.I.G.: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, nicknamed "Big Papi," scored a hit when he chose to walk out to the classic Biggie jam.
Derek Jeter, "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z: "I remember Derek Jeter used to send up a CD with five different cuts and instructions: 'Track one: start at :22 point and take to :42,'" says Bonner. "I like it when a player will give us four or five different tracks ... because 81 games, 4-5 at-bats each game, you get tired of hearing that same song." Jay-Z has been a past favorite for Jeter, who's rumored to be considering a Journey song for the new season.
Alex Rodriguez, "This Is Why I'm Hot" by Mims: A-Rod struck out with this dimwitted rap song with the chorus: This is why I'm hot ... I'm hot cuz I'm fly/You ain't cause you're not/This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot.
Troy Tulowitzki, "Baby" by Justin Bieber: Tulo says he hasn't picked out his 2012 walk-up song just yet, and may let fans decide on Twitter. Last year his fans chose "Firework" by Katy Perry, but Tulo switched to "Baby" to break out of a slump. "I have many young fans and I thought they would really enjoy it," he says.
Manny Ramirez, "Good Times (I Get High)": Manny had a Manny moment in 2002 when he walked out to a song about smoking marijuana. Now teams carefully review all players' songs before playing them in their ballparks.
Jeff Nelson, "Chattahoochee" by Alan Jackson: “I hate to say it to some of the guys but country music does not work in New York,” says Yankees scoreboard director Mike Bonner. “It’s not the audience for it.”
Chipper Jones, "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne: When baseball fans hear "Crazy Train," they immediately think of Chipper Jones. The playlist at Turner Field just won't be the same when Jones retires at the end of this season after 23 years with the Braves.
Huston Street, "Hate Me Now" by Nas: As a rookie closer for the A's, Street was reluctant to pick out a walk-out song. "The A's as a team tend to be on the young side and usually the major league code is if you're a rookie you shouldn't get a song, you have to earn it," says the A's marketing director Troy Smith. "Huston Street was very reluctant. Actually that [song] got picked for him."
Jonathan Papelbon, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys: Papelbon, who was picked up as a free agent by the Phillies in the offseason, is still deciding on his new song. Although he's gotten requests for Elton John, Pap says he's leaning toward "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains.