A lot of things happen in a baseball game. And while I believe that those events are exciting themselves, sometimes they need a little boost. That’s where stadium music comes in. Although I am against almost all forms of stadium noise, (basketball being the worst) baseball uses music very well.
While watching a game the other day (probably Red Sox/Rangers) and hearing Pantera’s “Walk” when a player was issued four balls I was inspired - inspired by that deft usage of music in a sports situation.
Baseball is also home to the best use of music in sports – the closer’s song. Is there anything more menacing than Trevor Hoffman jogging to the mound to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells?” No other sport lets players choose music they enter to (other than pro wrestling) and, I personally, am a huge fan of it.
As dumb as I think the whole “We Will Rock You” and “Rock and Roll Part 2” stadium anthems have become, I would love to choose the music that played when I walked up to bat or out to the mound to close out a game. That was the reason I loved “NFL 2K5” for the Xbox. You could upload songs off CDs and set them to play during almost any game situation. I spent hours fine tuning which parts of songs were appropriate for which situation. Andrew WK’s “Ready to Die?” after a sack? Oh hell yes. MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams” after a first down? You know it.
So that particular Pantera moment, along with being a music and baseball dork, brought me here. A collection of songs I would choose for a number of baseball situations. I also have created an iTunes playlist that you can check by searching for any of the artists and selecting "most recent iMixes", it should be there under "Baseball Stadium Music", if you want to hear samples of the songs.
Rally anytime after the 7th inning
Keys here are songs with a great chorus and the ability to pump up the crowd and players. Being able to sing along is a bonus, not a necessity.
Klaxons – “It’s Not Over Yet”
I’ll start off with a newer song, but one I think is perfect for this situation. At about the 50 second mark you’ll hear why, very sing-along-able, catchy and fitting for the moment.
Andrew WK – “Get Ready to Die”
An old “NFL 2K5” favorite of mine and here’s why:
“You better get ready to run, cause here we coooooome/You better get ready to die/Get ready to die!”
Maybe a little on the violent side for the kids, but there’s one thing I know - Andrew WK never gives up.
Iron Maiden – “Run to the Hills”
Sometimes the most obvious choice is the right one. Bonus points if the Cleveland Indians used this.
Dragonforce – “Through the Fire and the Flames”
At seven minutes it’s hard to pick one blurb of this song that is the most adrenaline ridden. I would probably just play this song throughout the bottom of the 9th inning.
Closer entrance music
Intimidation is the story here. The song has to strike fear into hitter’s hearts. When it comes on, the crowd knows who’s coming into the game.
Wolf Eyes – “Black Vomit”
The iTunes sample doesn’t do this song or group justice. This 8-minute trip to Hell is one of the most frightening songs ever created. I would demand my closer walk to the mound and until the song reached at least the 3:18 mark. I would also demand total silence from the crowd for added effect. Honestly, your closer could be Big Bird and if he came out to this song, with a totally silent crowd, the away team would have no shot. None. They’d be utterly mortified. Just listen to the iTunes sample of “Stabbed in the Face” for a taste of what I’m talking about here.
Slayer – “Raining Blood”
I am shocked no one has used this yet. The first minute, with the rain storm intro followed by the insane guitar/drums, is so perfect for a closer.
Radiohead – “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
Haunting song - intimidating in a different way, but great nonetheless.
Star Pitcher gets two strikes on a batter/K’s a hitter
Anticipation is the important ingredient here. You want the fans on their feet on two-strike counts, anticipating the big strikeout, and then the cheer when the pitcher gets it.
Queens of the Stone Age – “You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar…”
The moments of silence right at the two minute mark into the “Oh!” would be perfect but the intro is great as well, starting off quiet and then exploding. Of course, iTunes is missing this song on that album.
Michael Jackson – “Beat It”
This would be for the post-strikeout and I really wanted an MJ song in this list. I find this one not only funny and appropriate, but embarrassing for the hitter when thousands of drunken fans are yelling “Beat it!” at you.
Megadeth – “Take No Prisoners”
I imagine the sound cutting out right before the line “Take no sh*t!” and fans filling it in, that makes me happy.
Batters to the plate
These are songs I would personally like to hear before I got to the plate. I had an iTunes playlist called “Back from the Dead”, songs that - if I was dead and in the ground - may resurrect me. Needless to say, they’d pump me up.
Lightning Bolt – “Assassins”
This song is so extreme I wouldn’t even care if the whole stadium would hate it. I could be facing Randy Johnson with a toothpick, no batting helmet, in my underwear and this song would get me in the box, it’s that great.
The Sword – “Freya”
The badass factor is off the charts here. Mix shredding guitars, pounding drums and a Norse theme and I turn into Ted Williams.
Depeche Mode – “Just Can’t Get Enough”
What can I say, the Mode is awesome.
TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
If there was a Hall of Fame for pump-up songs, this would be a first ballot entry. The last 1:45 is otherworldly.
These are situations that either a) don’t really deserve songs or b) don’t happen all that often. But I still found some gems that had to be shared.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Tick”
Used for opposing manager timeouts or pitchers taking too long. For some reason I think this would really get under their skin.
The Knife – “Heartbeats”
I would use this for a fan favorite who isn’t very good, but loveable anyway - some quirky reliever or pinch hitter. And yes, in my perfect world role players get songs too.
Van Halen – “Jump”
This may or may not already be used in stadiums, either way I would reserve this for sparkling defensive plays - dives for line drives, robbing home runs, that sort of thing. It’s and obvious choice, but still great.
Run DMC – “You Talk too Much”
The opening line “Shut up! You talk too much” would be great for a manager who argues too much or a hitter who whines to umps excessively.
Motley Crue – “Kickstart My Heart”
This is great for when the home manager is getting in a heated argument with the home plate ump and will be invariably thrown out of the game. Lou Pinella’s theme song.
N.W.A. – “Straight Outta Compton”
If there is a better song for a baseball brawl, I haven’t heard it.