05/16/2008 1:13 PM ET
@-bat music: Los Angeles Angels
Halos harp on personal song selections
By Doug Miller and Mike Scarr / MLB.com
Music can define a person's very core and the Los Angeles Angels put a personal stamp on the tunes that announce their arrival.
One of the newest Angels, Torii Hunter, signed a free-agent contract this past offseason and wanted to celebrate his new home with a new song.
"It just felt it had a bit of a contrast with me being on another team and a nice lineup," Hunter said.
Players such as Howie Kendrick and Chone Figgins want something to match their styles of play, while Gary Matthews Jr. said Jay-Z helps him hit. But it's not for every Angel.
"I'm going up there quiet right now," first baseman Casey Kotchman said.
Veteran outfielder Garret Anderson also is currently running silent: "Sometimes I just don't want to hear it," he says. "I just get sick and tired of hearing music some times."
MLB.com/Entertainment will be getting to the bottom of the Major League tradition of walk-up music all season long by going from clubhouse to clubhouse and soliciting cutting-edge commentary from the players, the organizational brass, and some of the best music critics in the business. Song choices will change over the course of the 2008 campaign for various -- and often superstitious -- reasons, but rest assured that we'll feature the songs straight from the players' plate play lists at press time.
No harps for the Halos, but here goes:
Chone Figgins, 3B
Song: "Speedin'" by Rick Ross
Figgins: "I just liked the song. It's more of just a motivation thing to relax. You hear the music and you go up and relax instead of being tense. If you don't have music, you start concentrating on where to put your hands, like 'How do I do this?' With the music you just get up there and relax. I hear it. When you're on the road you don't hear anything, so when you get home, at least for 81 days, you get to hear your own music."
Critic commentary: "One hundred fifty-five stolen bases in three seasons undoubtedly gives you the right to do a little bragging; 'Figgy' is indeed speedin'." --Saul Austerlitz, freelance critic for Boston Globe and other publications
Gary Matthews Jr. OF/DH
Song: "Show Me What You Got" by Jay-Z
Matthews: "It's just a beat that I like, a song that I like. I like the artist, too. I've been doing Jay-Z for a while. I've always got a Jay-Z song somewhere in the lineup. I've stuck with the artist for a while because it's worked. I've had him for about four years. The question du jour every season is what you coming out to this year? Sometimes you go to a stadium and there is a guy that is playing your song and you just played him back at your place and you know he stole your song. You admire guys that do that. You give them a hard time but you know they got it from you because you know you had it first."
Critic commentary: "Jigga's snake-charmer horns are downright ridiculous. Can there be a better batting song than this?" --Saul Austerlitz, freelance critic for Boston Globe and other publications
Torii Hunter, CF
Songs: "Umma Do Me" by Rocko
Hunter: "It kind of gets you locked in. All you need is a few seconds, whatever, when you're walking up. It gets your focus. You might not get a hit, but it feels like you're ready to do something. Most of the players out there, whatever floats your boat -- slow music, country music, R&B, hip-hop -- whatever it is, those seconds when you're walking up to the plate gets you locked in. When I'm driving down the street and I put the CD in, man, it's amazing. I get in the same frame of mind. I get locked it when I come to the stadium. Then I can hear it in a restaurant or a bar, whatever, it's the same thing. I'm like, 'Wow.' I start bobbing my head. You want to get a hit. It's pretty weird, I can't explain it."
Critic commentary: "The synthesizers whoosh like an airplane taking off for the chorus, but don't you want to come to bat with a slightly more team-friendly message than, 'Umma do me?'" --Saul Austerlitz, freelance critic for Boston Globe and other publications
Howard Kendrick, 2B
Song: "Get Buck" by Young Buck
Kendrick: "It's just actually something that I like in a song. Most of the guys that have songs listen to it and it's about the hitter playing the game or something that gets them pumped up. It is a personal choice and for me, the song that I come out to is something that I like and I like the beat. It is just something that got me going a little bit. For the most part, come-out songs are either the hottest song right now or stuff that guys like. Maybe there are some words in there that are baseball-related. Like 'Speedin.' If you're a faster guy you might use a song like 'Speedin'. If you listen to a lot of guy's songs, you'll hear that a lot of them are sports-related. You can hear it when it comes on and you come out from the on-deck circle and the announcer says your name. But it's not like I'm going to stand on deck and wait for them to play my come-out song. It is something that you know is kind of like your trademark. Baseball and music, I think, there is a fine relationship, or any sport and music, it seems like it goes hand in hand."
Critic commentary: "The killer beat and menacing brass lick should have the injury-riddled infielder amped to get back and do the slam thing." --Anne Marie Cruz, Staff Editor, PEOPLE magazine
Mike Napoli, C
Song: "Yahhh!" by Soulja Boy
Napoli: "I just liked it. We usually play it in here after games that we win and I just liked it. It's the kind of music that I listen to. You hear it, but it's not like you're waiting to hear it. I'm locked in and hitting. If I'm not playing that day or on the road, I listen to other people's songs, but it doesn't really fire me up or anything."
Critic commentary: "People, there's a reason LeBron said there's no comparison between Soulja Boy and Jay-Z. This is one brainlessly repetitive song. At the very least it gets the message across that Napoli wants the opposing pitchers to 'get out my face.' Yahhh, trick, yahhh!" --Anne Marie Cruz, Staff Editor, PEOPLE magazine
Jeff Mathis, C
Song: "Breath" by Breaking Benjamin
Mathis: "There are a lot of different reasons I picked the song. But mostly it's personal. I like the drums. I've been playing a lot of Rock Band. I have to pay attention to all the drum parts."
Critic commentary: "This one might be an understandably rousing rock hit, but fortunately, most Angels fans don't have to worry about catching theirs with top-notch signal-caller Mathis behind the plate." --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.