THE PITCHER'S MOUND — After a four-month hiatus, Major League Baseball is back.
Games start Thursday and the biggest question for me isn't how players will adjust to a shortened season or who will win the pennant; it’s who will have the best walk-up song?
Hitting a major league fastball is no easy feat (I know, I did it once), but choosing the perfect song for the walk from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box is even tougher. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stars in baseball and grade their most recent walk-up song.
Clayton Kershaw, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
"We Are Young" by fun.
Clayton Kershaw is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and future hall-of-famer. However, the left-handed pitcher has always struggled in the postseason.
Could it be the result of a bad walk-up song? "We Are Young" was an unexpected hit back in 2011, but neither the band nor the pitcher is as young as they used to be. At age 32, "Old Town Road" may be a better fit for the aging Dodger.
Jose Altuve, second base, Houston Astros
"Firestone" by Kygo ft. Conrad Sewell
At just 5 feet and 6 inches tall, Jose Altuve packs a lot of punch. The second baseman has a lifetime batting average just shy of .300 and has hit 128 home runs.
Like Altuve, the song is upbeat but understated. Like the Astros, the song features what sounds like someone banging on a garbage can. Must mean an offspeed pitch is coming!
Mookie Betts, right fielder, Los Angeles Dodgers
"I Love My City" by Ernest K.
Mookie Betts loves Boston. During his time with the Red Sox, he became the first player in the history of the league to win Most Valuable Player, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, the batting title, and a World Series in the same season.
But the team traded him to the Dodgers anyway. For Betts, it may be time to trade "I Love My City" for "California Love" or "To Live and Die in L.A."
Bryce Harper, right fielder, Philadelphia Phillies
"Flower" by Moby
When Bryce Harper inked a $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019, he could have changed his walk up song to "For the Love of Money".
Instead, he stuck with his longtime go-to, "Flower." Moby’s gospel foot-stomper may seem like an odd choice for a Latter-day Saint kid from Las Vegas, but you can’t argue with the results. Since joining the big leagues, Harper has hit 219 home runs.
Juan Soto, left fielder, Washington Nationals
"China" by 8-Bit Arcade
Washington Nationals fans were heartbroken when Bryce Harper left the team for Philadelphia.
Turns out, the sadness was misplaced. The Nationals went on to win the World Series, thanks in part to 21-year-old slugger Juan Soto.
More surprising than his hitting power was his song choice. Soto chose "China" — but not the original Spanish-language hip-hop version by Daddy Yankee and others. Instead, he opted for an 8-bit video game reworking of the song. Bold move, Mr. Soto.
Mike Trout, center fielder, Los Angeles Angels
"Sicko Mode" by Travis Scott, featuring Drake
Mike Trout is widely regarded as the best player in baseball. Hitting, fielding, throwing — he does it all.
So it makes sense that Trout would connect with Travis Scott and Drake, two of the top rappers in the hip-hop game. When the warbly organ intro of "Sicko Mode" gives way to the fuzzed-out bass, you know Trout is about to do his thing.
Charlie Blackmon, right fielder, Colorado Rockies
"Your Love" by The Outfield
Charlie Blackmon may not be the biggest name in baseball, but the four-time all-star might have the best walk-up song.
Though it’s 35 years old, "Your Love" is still a classic and sounds even better when nearly 50,000 fans at Coors Field holler "I don’t wanna lose your love... TONIIIIGHT" in unison each time Blackmon comes to the plate. Plus, the outfielder scores bonus points for choosing a song by a band called The Outfield.
Hansel Robles, pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
"Undertaker Song" by Unknown
Angels relief pitcher Hansel Robles may have the best walk-up song in the MLB — and it’s not even a song, really. It’s more of a statement. A weird, creepy, fantastic statement.
When Robles walks onto the field from the bullpen, a video plays on the stadium’s big screen. It’s set to the background music (really just funeral organs) for The Undertaker, the famous pro wrestler. But then there are horses, and smoke and rose petals. And then there are candles and more horses. And then there’s a person in a horse mask.
It makes no sense, but it’s magnificent.
What are your favorite MLB athlete's walk-up songs? Please share in the comments.