Last week, we discussed the best songs about baseball. This week, we’re going to get a little more specific and discuss the best walk-up songs. That is, the best songs to play while walking up to bat.
The walk-up song is what gets players pumped up to ensure a hit and allows them to announce their presence with authority. One thing I’ve noticed during the countless games that I’ve attended is that baseball players get pumped up by weird songs and/or have kind of terrible taste in music. But a lot of them have some great picks. Below are the songs that would be on my list of walk-up songs if, say, most of the population died out and I somehow got to be an MLB player. Some of them I’ve borrowed from Pirates’ picks. Some I’ve cultivated from my favorites and the picks of my focus group (read: my husband and my son).
“Big Pimpin’” – Jay-Z
This is one of my favorite songs of all time and a perennial party anthem. Granted, it probably inspires me more to pour bottles of Cristal onto bikini-clad video vixens, but it also gives me a little swagger, a little confidence, which is what you want when you’re walking up to bat. It only backfires when you’re perfecting your pimp gait and you trip and fall getting off the bus. Not that I’ve done that.
“Coming in the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins
When I mention this as another of my favorite songs, I usually get a bunch of chuckles because I associate with assholes. But seriously, this song is awesome. The problem with this as a walk-up song is that it relies on the intense buildup during the whole song that explodes with the drums and incites involuntary fist-pumping. Usually, walk-up songs are chopped into 5-10 second clip. I suppose you could just use the climax of the song but it wouldn’t be the same. But I attribute the effects of this song for its use in the Miami Vice pilot where this awesome scene happened, giving birth to every hip-hop video ever.
“If I Should Fall from Grace with God” – The Pogues
I like this one for the sheer insanity that it inspires. Again, it’s just as likely to make me want to get into a drunken brawl or link arms with a bunch of people to engage in a stumbling jig, but if I had to perform an athletic feat, this would surely help.
“Mother” – Danzig
One of the Pirates used this as his walk-up song last year and it was an excellent choice. This song makes me feel angry and focused. Good for hitting a small thing with a big thing.
“Still Not a Player” – Big Punisher
The original lyrics are “I’m not a playa I just fuck a lot.” But this is one song where the censored lyrics were actually much better. The revised, “I’m not a playa, I just crush a lot,” sounds much harder, in that, “Shucks, I know I’m better than everyone,” kind of way. You need this kind of precious audacity to ready yourself for an at-bat.
Theme from “Tetris”
Maybe it’s the psychological association of focus, quick reaction, and hand-eye coordination, but I feel like this would trigger some kind of laser in my brain to get the job done. At the very least, it would make me giddy.
“Party in the USA” – Miley Cyrus
This is for pure mindfuckery purposes, to psych the pitcher out. “Did that guy really just walk up to Miley fucking Cyrus? Guh, I’m so confused all of my extremities are going limp.” Also: duh. MamaPop Anthem!
Now, tell me. What would your walk-up song be?
Read More: The 6 Best Baseball Songs