09/26/2008 11:37 AM ET
@-bat music: Yankees
Bombers' ballads go out with a blast
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Last week marked two endings for the New York Yankees. They missed an MLB postseason for the first time since 1993, and their Cathedral of a ballpark hosted the final game in its 85-year existence. But the Bronx Bombers will take a lot more than their tradition, pride and pinstripes across the street to the Yankee Stadium that will open next year. They'll also bring their walk-up songs.
The Yankees' musical mix is the usual variety of rock, hip-hop and Latino rhythms, perfect for the cultural melting pot that is the Big Apple. But every now and then you get a surprise, such as all of Derek Jeter's selections.
MLB.com/Entertainment has been 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 have changed over the course of the 2008 campaign for various -- and often superstitious -- reasons, but rest assured that we've been featuring the songs straight from the players' plate play lists at press time.
Here are the Yankees' dandy ditties:
Johnny Damon, CF
Song: "Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park; "Handlebars" by The Flobots; "I Walk Alone" by Saliva (WWE Batista's Theme); "Open Your Eyes" by Alter Bridge
Damon: "I just like the songs. They've got a good beat. Most guys on our team have their different reasons for picking what they pick. I just use it as part of my routine. It's just songs I like to hear and it sometimes gets me jacked up and ready to hit. More than that, It kind of readies you for the battle you have to go up against."
Critic commentary: "Too many songs, Johnny Damon, so I will narrow it down to one for you: 'Bleed it Out'! This is a very catchy slice of hand-clappy rap/rock, easily the best thing Linkin Park's done since that one song where they yelled 'SHUT UP!' over and over again ... but OMG, Boston fans, you should Google the lyrics ASAP because they are very, very depressing and gosh, I don't know, do you think the former Red Sox caveman-deity has regrets?" --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
Derek Jeter, SS
Song: "You Gots to Chill" by EPMD; "The Boomin' System" by LL Cool J; "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground; "Candy" by Cameo
Jeter: "All my stuff's old. Just old-school. That's pretty much it."
Critic commentary: "Bow down. Love him or hate him, you can't argue with Jeter's excellent taste in tunes. He goes with four gems, all from the golden era. 'The Humpty Dance' and 'You Gots to Chill' are classics, and this was LL before he became a parody of himself. As for 'Candy,' the video features frontman Larry Blackmon sporting vinyl pants and a bright red codpiece. Superb." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer, Paste, Crawdaddy and Jambase.com
Bobby Abreu, RF
Song: "Bravo de Verdad" by Oscar D'Leon
Abreu: "It's a great salsa song, and it's funny, too. He's singing like a tough guy. The lyrics are all about feeling tough. I just like it. He's one of my favorite singers."
Critic commentary: "Ah, D'Leon may be from Abreu's native Venezuela, but this sounds like summer in Miami. Which is like summer in the Bronx, only with more ocean. And less knockoff T-shirts. Actually, that last bit's probably not true." --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Song: "This is Why I'm Hot" by MIMS; "Put On" by Young Jeezy
Critic commentary: "These songs largely sum up the chasm that will forever exist between Jeter and A-Rod. They are superstars born one year apart, they are paid boatloads of money to play for the most prestigious franchise in sports, but only one of them bumps MIMs as he's coming to the plate. Not hot." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer, Paste, Crawdaddy and Jambase
Jason Giambi, 1B
Song: "N.W.O. Wolfpac Theme" by C-Murder
Giambi: "It started back in Oakland when I was on the same team as Matt Stairs. The Oakland clubhouse kids and Stairs and I all loved pro wrestling and the kids picked out wrestling themes for us to use. Stairs and I kept them for our entire careers, and we still laugh about it when we see each other. The really funny part of it is that those clubhouse kids are all in the A's front office now."
Critic commentary: "Best as I can tell, Giambi is implying that if you turn your back on him while he is batting, you might end up in a metaphorical body bag. Opposing managers may wish to note that if you put the shift on, your chances of a body-bag fate dramatically decrease. Also, that 'stache? TOTALLY gangsta." --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
Xavier Nady, LF
Songs: "X Gon' Give it to Ya" by DMX; "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone
Nady: "I don't even know what the songs are, to be honest with you. I haven't been on the team for very long, so I just told them to pick whatever they want. It's been so crazy since I got here that I just haven't paid much attention to it."
Critic commentary: "X has been giving it to them since arriving at the Trade Deadline. Any track that has a personal dimension to it is a sure bet. Even if Nady hated hip-hop, or dog-fighting, he'd have to at least consider throwing DMX a bone. Speaking of which, Chamillionaire and Krayzie is a great combo, although we love Weird Al's version even more." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer, Paste, Crawdaddy and Jambase.com
Hideki Matsui, DH
Songs: "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" (from the film "Kill Bill") by Tomoyasu Hotei; "TNT" by AC/DC
Matsui: "They're just songs that I like. The 'Kill Bill' song, the artist, Tomoyasu Hotei, is Japanese and a good friend of mine. The other song, I was looking for something that would get the crowd into it and bring some excitement for that moment."
Critic commentary: "Depending on the day, it seems, Matsui will either eviscerate you with Uma Thurman's samurai swords, or just blow you up. Both are excellent choices from a musical standpoint: The first is sufficiently retro, almost Bond-ian with its instrumental, driving action-hero sensibility; the other may be a slightly overused choice, but at least Matsui isn't trying to convince anyone he's, you know, totally gangsta. Dy-no-mite!" --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
Robinson Cano, 2B
Songs: "Independent" by Webbie featuring Lil Boosie and Lil Phat; "Pa Que La Pases Bien" by Arcangel
Cano: "I just pick the songs because I like them. The 'Independent' song has a good beat, and the other one lets me represent the Latinos a little bit."
Critic commentary: "It's difficult to look past the names of the rappers on this track. What, Lil Wayne, Lil Kim and Lil Scrappy weren't available? But the track is pretty good, an ode to independent women laid over a thick, funky beat. The Arcangel track is a reggaeton throwaway." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer, Paste, Crawdaddy and Jambase
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.