Opening Day 2020: Crowd Noise Not Included
Last week I was watching an intrasquad game between the Tigers and the Tigers when I heard a song I didn't recognize begin to play when Christin Stewart came to the plate. I still don't know what song it was, but I did stumble across the MLB Walk-Up Music Database
Opening Day is an incredible day in Detroit, even during a rebuild. Unfortunately, 2020 won't let us have nice things, but I still wanted to put together a playlist to mark the occasion. This year, I decided to use only songs from the MLB Walk-Up Music Database. I didn't expect to find any deep cuts, though there were actually a few (Gangstarr ft. Inspectah Deck - Above the Clouds
), but that was alright because Opening Day parties tend to attract a fairly diverse crowd and any playlists for today should prioritize crowd pleasers over indieheads
Before we get to the tracks, I just want to point out that the database has not been updated to reflect current rosters, so you'll still see Josh Donaldson on the Braves
and players that have opted out appear as well.
It's worth noting that I went through the database in alphabetical order by team, so when Archie Bradley and Lewis Brinson both have Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement
listed I attributed it to Bradley. This does slightly skew the total number of songs by each team in favor of teams closer to the beginning of the alphabet, but with the exception of a few songs that appeared often there were not as many duplicates as I expected.
This is not every song listed in the database. Nor did I listen to every song in the database. I've got a pretty eclectic taste in music, but a lot of that goes out the window when limiting yourself to a certain catalog of songs. That being said, Latin music is one genre I'll freely admit I'm not altogether too familiar with. When I saw a Latin artist appear over and over, or something like an album cover or track title caught my attention I gave them a listen. You'll definitely find more Latin tracks here (9) than country (0). While I love outlaw and classic country music, you'll find next to none of that in the database and the country I did come across isn't my taste.
My main goal was to make a playlist full of songs that appealed to the widest range of fans. That being said, I did try to keep my opening day crew in mind, and I still had to at least somewhat enjoy the song. Two artists, Post Malone and Travis Scott, appeared quite a bit in the database, but because they don't move the needle for me personally, you won't find them on the playlist. That's not to say that I excluded all trap. I've personally watched Trap Queen
get a party started so Erick Fedde's walk-up song makes the cut.
I think a great walk-up song is something that gets the crowd excited, is still somewhat unique, and of course appeals to my personal taste. While not necessarily my favorite songs on the playlist, below are my three favorite choices for walk-up songs:
- Kyle Schwarber: Thuggish Ruggish Bone - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
- Steven Brault: Come Down - Anderson .Paak
- Shohei Ohtani: Gettin' It - Too $hort
A few observations and highlights:
Two teams don't have any players' walk-up songs making the cut. With the Red Sox, I could have worked in X Gon' Give It To Ya,
or Petty's I Won't Back Down,
but early on (Boston being one of the first teams I went through) I didn't feel either really fit the playlist I was going for. In retrospect, both probably work. However, this did open it up for me to include the first of a few cheat songs. Opening Day is too fun to leave a team out, so to make up for the lack of Red Sox tunes, and knowing everybody loves MVP Baseball 2005, I decided to include Tessie by Dropkick Murphys
Other cheat songs: or *'s
- Run On by Moby - My original goal was to limit the playlist to a single song for each artist. I didn't make it past Cleveland before I decided to break this rule. So when I got to the White Sox, I already had a J Cole song and a Kanye Song. Luckily, MLB game winner, Ryan Burr, had a great Johnny Cash song, God's Gonna Cut You Down, listed as his walk-up song. Knowing Moby's Run On relies heavily on a sample of this song, I decided to get creative. This was the closest country came to making the playlist.
- Back Into Time by Nightmares on Wax - This pick is inspired by Steven Matz. Of course he has Steve Miller's original version of Fly Like an Eagle listed. While the original is a great song, I'm choosing to be a bit selfish here and put on my favorite version. Personally I find this one a bit more fun, and I don't care for the outro at the end of Miller's version.
- Da Rockwilder by Method Man and Redman - Here I got the loosest with my rules. Miguel Sano actually has a Redman deep cut Let Da Monkey Out listed in the database. I would have loved to throw this on, but unfortunately it's unavailable on Spotify. There is a live version, it just doesn't sound great in my opinion. Da Rockwilder is Jim Thome coming off the bench to pinch hit.
- Bennie and the Jets by Elton John - Ben Zobrist may be the only player to walk up to a song performed by their spouse. No, one of the most versatile players in the league isn't married to Elton John, but rather Julianna Zobrist. Mrs. Zobrist, with Sir Elton's blessing, covers this classic from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I didn't include the cover version for a couple of reasons, the nicest being that her version isn't available on Spotify.
- Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by Jimi Hendrix - To be fair, James Pazos has the equally great "Voodoo Chile" listed in the database, but no song brought down Comerica Park quite like this spacier, faster version when Joel Zumaya came charging in from the bullpen, and that's the version you'll find here.
- Welcome to the Show by J Dilla - Sign me to the Astros because I've cheated again. Pete Alonso has a Cody Johnson track listed by the same name, but it doesn't make sense for this playlist and again country music does not get a call up to the show. I love baseball, but I'm a Tigers fan first. We're coming off a 114-loss season; I saw a chance to work in a Detroit connection and you're just going to have to let me have this one.
- Valley of the Dolls by Santigold - Unfortunately, Yan Gomes' actual pick Brooklyn Go Hard by Jay-Z and Santigold isn't available on Spotify. I've tried to keep the cheating to a minimum, but this playlist is seriously lacking in female voices and if I get a chance to work Santigold into a mix then I'm going to take it.
Other notable tracks:
- Vivimo Caro by Jose Reyes - Yep, that Jose Reyes. At first I thought Ketel Marte had to be the only All-Star in baseball walking up to a song recorded by a former batting champ. Nope, Acuña also walks up to a Reyes track. Though he has yet to release a complete album, that didn't stop a slew of players from trying to channel the 4x all-star through their walk-up song.
- Jalapeño by El Alfa - Gregory Soto and Robinson Cano share the wildest song on this playlist. In fact, it inspired me to install a new Opening Day tradition. Everytime this song comes up at your opening day tailgate do a shot of habanero-infused tequila. Seriously, it's incredibly easy to make and you still have time to get it ready for your socially distanced get together. Take six habaneros and halve them lengthwise. Combine the peppers and a fifth of blanco tequila (Anything is fine, just make sure it's 100% agave - I like Lunazul) in a glass jar and let sit for one hour. Using a funnel, strain the teuila through a fine-mesh sieve back into the bottle.
- Rest in Peace (Undertaker Theme) by Jim Johnston - Hansel Robles gets my pick for most creative pick. I love the idea of him coming to the plate to the same track the Undertaker uses to enter the ring.
- Going the Distance (From Rocky) by Bill Conti - Does it slow down the playlist? Absolutely. Does a cut from the Rocky score deserve a spot on this playlist? Again, absolutely. I thought about putting Puff Daddy's Victory here, because it samples the Conti piece, but I've had a lot of fun putting together this playlist and this song only adds to that fun.
- Above the Clouds by Gang Starr- Pitching in the A.L. last year, Adam Plutko only came to the plate twice, but he wanted everybody in the stands to know he was a hip-hop head. I used to live between two bars in Detroit; one, I now tailgate behind on Opening Day and I used to shoot pool in the other while Gang Starr played on the Jukebox. Easy pick here.
- Touch the Sky by Kanye West - With five tracks and a feature, Kanye appears the most on this playlist. Once I decided to break the rules, I fully expected Kanye to end up with a little black ink. I'm choosing to highlight Ian Desmond's walk-up song because he had one of the most important responses to all things 2020. I'm only too happy to find a way to work him into the season.
- Chambea by Bad Bunny - By the time I got to the Cubs, I had already seen the name Bad Bunny pop up a handful of times. It would have been a huge disservice to my former fantasy MVP Javier Baez if I chose to continue skipping over the name Bad Bunny. Additionally, Bad Bunny shows up again because my favorite player, and happiest player in baseball Miguel Cabrera, is also a fan and his song goes in by default. My in-laws are Mexican, and after taking the Triple Crown in flip cup (Wins, flip percentage, "whooos") prima Tina will inevitably start requesting Mexican music. This year, I got you Tina. The best part about having Mexican family is Fiesta Tigres or as I like to call it, Opening Day 2: Boogaloo Eléctrico.
- Work to Do by The Isley Brothers - Color me surprised, I did not take the Canadian born future hall of famer to be a fan of The Isley Brothers. It's a jam and I've always been a big fan of Votto so this easily makes the mix.
- Oh No (What You Got) by Justin Timberlake - I wasn't familiar with this song, but that is an unmistakable Timbaland beat and this Justin Turner pick fits well on an Opening Day playlist.
- Word Up by Cameo - Word Up can be fun, but it's mostly included here because I'll use any excuse to bring up how amazing of a person Curtis Granderson is. He will always be a Tigers favorite, and by all accounts he's well loved by both New York fanbases, surely a rare feat.
- Ignition Remix by R. Kelly - The argument of separating the man from the music is always interesting. As far as I know, though I haven't followed it that closely, R. Kelly has not been convicted of the sexual crimes which he has been accused. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me. What he's been accused of is fucking disgusting, but for now, this Kyle McGrath pick makes the list. In light of his recent anti-semitic social media posts, this is probably a good time to point out that Ice Cube's Friday also appears on the playlist courtesy of Taijuan Walker.
- Got to Give it Up (Pt. 1) by Marvin Gaye - If you're having a party and this song isn't on your playlist are you really having a party? Delino DeShields and his teammate Joey Gallo really help this playlist take shape with this track and three others (Pony, No Diggity, Hip Hop Hooray). All four are the exact type of song you want for a crowd pleasing Opening Day playlist.
- Go Head by Gucci Mane - In my first Detroit loft, my upstairs neighbor would come home, crank up the Gucci Mane and throw coins all over her floomy ceiling. In the mornings she would rip farts so loud they still echo in my ears. This one's for you. Sadly, this was Gordon Beckham's biggest hit in 2019.
- K.R.I.T. Here by Big K.R.I.T. - I did not expect to see my favorite song of 2019 show up in the database, so this Brian Goodwin selection definitely qualifies as notable for me.
- Rubber Band Man by T.I. - This was the hardest choice to make; do I choose between the radio edit or the album version with the over one-minute long outro. Where Joe Kelly's pick, Snoop's Lay Low, gets a pass thanks to the rule that states you can never have enough Nate Dogg hooks on a playlist, this outro skit is too long and therefore the radio edit finds its way onto the playlist.
- Tops Drop by Fat Pat - I don't even have to look it up; if Robbie Grossman didn't grow up in Texas I'll eat my cleat.
- Down for My Niggaz by C-Murder - When Dalton Pompey steps to the plate at Rogers Centre, I'm going to assume they play the instrumental. No way there is a section of this song that is crowd friendly. Works like magic for me in the Nemo's parking lot.
- Stone Love by Pepper - Jordan Luplow has two songs listed in the database, this one, and a Wiz Khalifa track. Luplow can come smoke at my tailgate anytime. Likewise, including 311 and Rebelution might blow the cover for some in my crew, but getting blowed is another great American pastime.
- Icky Thump by White Stripes - In Detroit, Alex Avila walked up to The Black Keys' I Got Mine, so he clearly has an affinity for late 2000s blues rock. Despite his best efforts, it seems Jack White cannot escape being forever tied to his rock rivals from Ohio. Forever a fan favorite, maybe Avila just misses Detroit, so I'm a big fan of the White Stripes pick here.
- Bridge Burning by Foo Fighters - I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my cousin James who puts together our entire opening day party. He's a huge Foo Fighters fan, so this one is for you cuzzo. Many thanks to Dan Otero.
- Enter Sandman by Metallica - Thanks to Mariano Rivera, Enter Sandman is forever an iconic baseball song and thus a great song for this playlist. Here it shows up courtesy of Danny Salazar.
- Brother Louie by Stories - Luis Guillorme gets a ton of credit for picking a song that works in his name. Either that or he's a huge Louis C.K. fan. I bet this one is a lot of fun at Citi Field.
- We Will Rock You by Queen, Breathe by The Prodigy, Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine - Liam Hendriks walks up to a mashup of these three with some Skrillex added just for fun. Nobody bats a 1.000, but 3/4 ain't bad.
Back of the card stats
In total there are 158 songs ready to soundtrack more than 10 hours of your Opening Day.
I kept the genres simple:
|Genre ||Number of Songs |
|Electronic ||6 |
|Latin ||9 |
|Other ||2 |
|R&B ||14 |
|Rap ||80 |
|Reggae ||6 |
|Rock ||41 |
I've read that some hitters get so in the zone that they really don't pay attention to their walk-up music. Perhaps this explains the greater number of pitchers that appeared in the database. They come to the plate far less, sometimes just a handful of times, and therefore give a lot of thought to their walk-up music.
Least unique songs: These songs that made the playlist roster appeared in the database for multiple players. Players not listed first were excluded from the by position data.
|Song ||Players |
|Thunderstruck by AC/DC ||Mark Melancon, AJ Minter, Tim Melville, Caleb Smith |
|Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison ||Merrill Kelly, Mark Morrison, Aaron Hicks, Adam Eaton |
|Going Bad by Meek Mill ||Christin Stewart, Brandon Crawford, Patrick Corbin |
|Chambea by Bad Bunny ||Javier Baez, Joe Jiménez, Pablo Sandoval |
|Fireman by Lil Wayne ||Josh James, Kenyan Middleton, Matt Bush |
|God's Plan by Drake ||Amir Garrett, Miguel Rojas, Boog Powell |
|Jalapeño by El Alfa ||Gregory Soto, Robinson Cano, Victor Robles |
|Cochise by Audioslave ||Anthony Swarzak, Zack Weiss, Zack Wheeler: It's a Zack thing. |
|No Diggity by Blackstreet ||Joey Gallo, Adam Eaton |
|Alive (Nightmare) by Kid Cudi and Ratatat ||Peter Lambert, Adam Ottavino |
|Can't Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers ||TJ McFarland, Alex Wood |
|Vivimo Caro by Jose Reyes ||Ketel Marte, Amed Rosario |
|E.I. by Nelly ||Max Muncy, Devin Williams |
|Attention Span by Rebelution ||Rhys Hoskins, Isiah Kiner-Falefa |
|Middle Child by J. Cole ||Max Fried, Jace Fry: If only old Pete Fries were still around. |
|What's My Name by Snoop Dogg ||Scott Alexander, Jay Guerra |
|Grindin' by Clipse ||Jake Cave, Jesse Chavez |
|'Till I Collapse by Eminem ||Sam Howard, Justin Verlander |
|Public Service Announcement by Jay-Z ||Archie Bradley, Lewis Brinson |
|Shut Up by Trick Daddy ||Yonder Alonso, Manny Machado |
|Yo Le Llego by J Balvin ||Yonathan Daza, Orlando Arcia |
|Humble by Kendrick Lamar ||Tyler Olson, Robert Gsellman |
|Money in the Grave by Drake ||Jake Bauers, Robinson Cano |
|For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica ||Ryan Tepera, Sean Doolittle |
|Seven Nation Army by White Stripes ||Seunghwan Oh, Stephen Strasburg |
|Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin ||Noah Syndergaard, Will Myers |
Opening Day Roster: With only two games on the docket I wanted to add one more. Below are the rosters for the Jukebox Heroes and the Bad Hop Boppers. The Jukebox heroes are made up of players that had my favorite song at each position while the BHP roster has the best remaining player at each position. Naturally, (First base
) I had to make the Jukebox Heroes first to at least keep the rosters competitive. This is why you'll find Scherzer on the favorite song roster despite being the best pitcher in the database. Lucky for the home team, I'm an Outkast
fan. I also excluded players that weren't regulars, had a negative war, or were now playing in Korea. This is why you won't find Josh Rojas
, and Adam Jones
patrolling the outfield next to Brian Goodwin. And this is why you won't see Khris Davis
penciled in at the DH. In the end, this really helped balance the rosters; especially considering the noticeable drop off in arm talent once Scherzer is removed from the pool. Sneaking Schwarber in behind the dish didn't hurt either. He played one game there in 2019, and I'll use him here to play the first game of 2020.
Who you got?
Have a fantastic Opening Day! I can't believe baseball is actually here.