After a near five-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball is back in action with Opening Day slated for Thursday and Friday.
With no fans in the stands, walk-up music as players approach the batter's box will be some of the only noise echoing through ballparks during the abbreviated 60-game regular season. Here are the tracks some members of our sports desk would choose:
PJ Morales, senior writer:
To me, the perfect walk-up song has two elements: a personal connection and a hard-hitting beat. When I step up to the plate, I want the crowd to put down their overpriced ballpark hot dogs and beers and start getting hype. But the song is, more than anybody else, for me, so I want it to be something that’ll send a bolt of energy up my spine and put me in the right mental zone to crush a ball into the upper deck.
With those two factors in mind, there’s only one walk-up song for me, a collaboration between Puerto Rican trap superstar Bad Bunny and rap powerhouse Drake: "MIA."
When I hear "MIA," it’s hard for me not to sing along or move my body to the beat. It gets me loose, pumped and ready to party. It also reminds me of my hometown of Miami and my Caribbean heritage, of which baseball was always a big part. With that combo of childhood inspiration and banging trap rhythm, no pitcher or pitch is safe when I’m up to bat. The energy is going straight from my body to my swing, and you’re not going to see that ball again.
Andrew Reynolds, staff writer
All five minutes of Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" are meant to get hearts racing and blood pumping — a perfect walk-up song. The bells, the opening riff and the hard-hitting drums all represent what a walk-up song should be. Captivating, confidence boosting and a call to battle. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" instills confidence and creates a mindset of attack.
For me, at-bats are not supposed to be calm and relaxing, but a duel, and no song is better for battle than this classic from Metallica. While watching from the surface makes a plate appearance look straightforward and calm, the chess game between pitcher and hitter is nothing short of a battle, and Metallica would give me the advantage. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" would put me in a mindset of attack —appropriate for the game of mental chess baseball represents.
Zachary Crain, summer sports editor
Every time I step into the batter’s box during the fanless 2020 campaign of my theoretical career, it’s with one goal in mind: rear back and slap a 475-foot line-drive dinger with a 110 mph exit velocity straight into the gut of a cardboard cutout fan, preferably one in a Red Sox hat.
Unfortunately, I’m lacking in two characteristics key to the modern power-hitter: a questionably muscular frame, and prime-time confidence. Because of my lack of the latter, the intense and fast-paced music that often denotes a serious batter entering the box would likely fill my stomach with butterflies and my wrists with tingles and force me to swing out of my shoes chasing a 79 mph change-up in the dirt.
Thankfully, we have the gentle Americana of Joni Mitchell’s "Morning Morgantown." The song that I usually stretch my legs and pop my back to in the morning will serve the nerves well as I, unprepared, step into the box to face heat from the likes of New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.
As I try to knock one out of the ballpark — or at least try not to strike out — the small-town visuals of "Morning Morgantown" would give me, the opposing pitcher and maybe even a few of the cardboard fans something to reflect on as we collectively roll through the shortest major league season since 1878.
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