It’s not quite as essential as bats, balls, and gloves, but the tradition of the “walk-up” song is still a signature and crowd-pleasing part of professional baseball. Wouldn’t we all like to have a 15-second clip of some anthemic song play triumphantly as we arrive at our desks, coffee cup in one hand, file folders in the other? Nah? Guess it’s not quite the same as stepping up to home plate.
Opening Day at Nats Park debuted not only the 2013 Nationals starting lineup but also the starters’ picks for walk-up songs, because each player chooses his own anthems, usually three, which rotate through the game and the season. The selections can change, of course, but we believe what each player starts out with is a window into his attitude about himself at the moment.
We asked the Nationals for the number one choices of the starting lineup for opening day, and they obliged with the full list. We then got The Tommy Show’s Tommy McFly on the phone to provide expert analysis. He started by praising the diversity of the list, which has everything from Moby to Metallica to Gloria Estefan and Lauryn Hill.
McFly points out it’s overall a “rock-y roster, not poppy dancing,” and laments (as many of us do) the departure of Michael Morse to Seattle—Morse regularly walked up to A-Ha’s “Take On Me.” Gone but not forgotten, apparently, because the song played during the seventh-inning stretch on opening day and may become a fixture, says McFly.
Breaking it down, here are the players, the title and artist of their walk-up songs, and McFly’s instant analysis of the selection.
Ross Detwiler: “Craving Lucy” by Therapy
“Great rock-y song. Fifteen really pumped up seconds.”
Stephen Strasburg: “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes
Jordan Zimmermann: “Hell on Wheels” by Brantley Gilbert
“You can’t go wrong with this.”
Tyler Clippard: “Ready or Not” by the Fugees
“Ready or not, you know he’s going to crack the ball out of the park. A great song.
You could pick out Lauryn Hill’s voice anywhere.”
Zach Duke: “2x4” by Metallica
“It’s what you need. It is rock.”
Ryan Mattheus: “Firework” by Katy Perry
“A fresh artist, the poppiest song on the roster this year. The softer side of the
pump-up songs, but one families are going to know and love.”
Craig Stammen: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
“Old-school, a throwback. Everyone from a 4-year-old to a 94-year-old will know this
Drew Storen: “Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch
“The name pretty much says it all. There’s a clean and a not-so-clean version. They
grab the cleanest 15 seconds, but it still has a charge and a feel to it.”
Roger Bernadina: “The System” by Popcaan
“This has a great feeling to it when it’s 158 degrees in the middle of August and
people are diving for the shade. This will really get the crowd going.”
Bryce Harper: “Flower” by Moby
“It has a cool instrumental behind it. You can just see the crowd going crazy as he walks up with this and his swagger. The song just fits him.”
Jayson Werth: “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin
“Totally perfect. It makes sense. He’s just that guy. A great song for him.”
Tyler Moore: “Drivin’ Around Song” by Colt Ford featuring Jason Aldean
“That’s cool. Very Americana. It has a country feel to it, which feels good in the
Ian Desmond: “One Sixteen” by Trip Lee
“That’s interesting because it is a Christian rap artist. Folks are gonna go, ‘That’s
cool.’ It’s got a message. Bold step of him to pick an artist like that to walk up
Danny Espinosa: “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant
“That’s just a great title. Three up, three down, and you got to come out and swing
the bat. A great walk-up song.”
Adam LaRoche: “My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean.
“Aldean sure gets a lot of play with the Nats.”
Chad Tracy: “Homeboy” by Eric Church
“Eric Church is such a badass. A great walk-up song. It just shows the swagger of
the team, which is great. They are good guys, but when they are at work, they are
Ryan Zimmerman: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
“This is gonna be one of the hottest songs of the summer. You’re going to hear it
at the ballpark and then on the radio a few months later and go, ‘That’s Zimmerman’s
Wilson Ramos: “Wepa” by Gloria Estefan
“A great pumped-up dance song, and brings some Latin to the park. Really cool.”
Kurt Suzuki: “Lively Up Yourself” by Bob Marley
“That’s great. Laid-back but with a mission. People will have their lime beers up
in the air, saying, ‘Yeah, do this.’”
As for McFly’s favorite walk-up song from the list, he brought in a backup, his cohost at 94.7 FM, Jen Richer. They debated between Bryce Harper’s choice and Ryan Zimmerman’s and in the end the Imagine Dragons tune walked away with the win. This probably replicates what goes on with the team, because while the walk-up playlist evolves, when the players are choosing their songs, according to McFly, “whoever calls first dibs on a song gets it first.”