"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Bring that Beat Back

In Bill Cosby’s famous “Go Carts” routine, he talked about the importance of having good theme music when racing. Ballplayers love theme music too, as they get to choose four-bar clips that are played when they come to bat in their home parks. Actually, I’m assuming they get to pick their songs. I’m pretty sure they Yankees do anyway. The selections usually are not that interesting: Derek Jeter goes for the latest club hits, Paul O’Neill used to love meat-and-potatoes classic rock cuts. Some guys actually have taste: Chuck Knoblauch appropriately used BDP’s “South Bronx” before his at bats, and David Justice nabbed another 1986 Hip Hop classic, “Eric B is President” by Eric B and Rakim. Other players have a sense of humor–Dave Dellucci goes for the “Godfather” theme down in Texas. (Funny music is so underrated at the ballpark. For instance, a couple of years ago, when Rickey Henderson was on the Mets, he was thrown out trying to steal second one day in Pittsburgh. As he jogged off the field, the organist played “Old Grey Mare.” Wise-ass organists rock.)

Last year, Hideki Matsui used “Get Back” and “Day Tripper” by the Beatles, which I thought was amusing simply because it sounded so out-of-place. But it fit Matsui’s personality well. This year, Matsui is using “The Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin, which is outstandingly random. I’m really loving that. It got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to be able to play DJ for your team? So I sat down and came up with a playlist for the Yankees. (Cliff is working on the bench and will have his picks up later today.) Some of the songs are really obvious, used because they have a good opening, others because the title works.

Derek Jeter: “I Got it Made,” Special Ed; “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” The Rolling Stones

Tony Womack: “My Man Speedy” Joe Cuba Sextet; any generic song you’d hear on Spanish radio that’s like 175 bpm’s and has the word “Magnifico” in the chorus

Bernie Williams: “Angela” (Theme song from “Taxi”) Bob James; “Blue Bossa” Joe Henderson; “Tiptoe through the Tulips” Tiny Tim

Alex Rodriguez: “You’re so Vain” Carley Simon; anything by Liberace

Gary Sheffield: “Bad to the Bone” George Thorogood (obvious, I know, but it’d work); “Kick in the Door” Biggie Smalls, or the song it sampled so well, “I Put a Spell on You” Screamin Jay Hawkins

Hideki Matsui: “Smoke on the Water” Deep Purple; “Big Bottom” Spinal Tap

Tino Martinez: “Chocolate City” Parliament (what with the new nickname and all); “The Stroke” Billy Squier

Jason Giambi: “Nowhere Man” The Beatles; “Don’t Bring Me Down” ELO; “I Will [Might] Survive” Gloria Gaynor

Ruben Sierra: “La Murga PanaMena” Cal Tjader; “Spoonful” Willie Dixon

Jorge Posada: “Watermelon Man” Mongo Santamaria; “When the Levee Breaks” Led Zeppelin

Honorary Cut:
Luis Sojo: “Sanford and Son Theme Song” Quincy Jones

What joints would you pick? There are no rules here. Come down selector!

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1 ChuckM   ~  May 13, 2005 5:48 am

1.  I always thought they should play "Ruby Soho" by Rancid when Luis came to the plate. But then again, I also why wonder why nobody on ESPN has decided to give a Flavor Flav-esque "yeaaahhhh Choi" when Hee Sop goes deep for the Dodgers...

2 Alex Belth   ~  May 13, 2005 5:57 am

2.  Another one I'd choose for Luis is "Bobo, Do that thing," by Latin Jazz giant, Willie Bobo. Just replaced "Bobo with Sojo."

Sheff currently uses "In Da Club" by 50 Cent and the theme song from "Shaft." It's hard to improve on "Shaft."

3 NetShrine   ~  May 13, 2005 6:06 am

3.  To this day, I am shocked and amazed that Mickey Mantle was ever able to hit 536 career HRs without the benefit of hearing 10 seconds of his favorite song before each At Bat.

Gosh, I hate player "intro music." I would ban it, if I were commish.

It reeks of NBA and WWF. Baseball does not need it. And, if you cut it out, you would probably shave 10 minutes off the average time of a game.

4 Dan M   ~  May 13, 2005 6:13 am

4.  Crying Charlie broke.

I have to agree that intro music has gotten out of hand, but I used to love the fact that the Orioles would play (and maybe still do) Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'" when they brought a reliever into a tight spot.

5 unpopster   ~  May 13, 2005 6:20 am

5.  Alex, I can't believe you were able to throw in a Special Ed song in that list. That album was MY soundtrack for a summer but no one i know now remembers it. Thanks.

As for an alternative Jeter theme song, my wife just proposed "Sexy MF" by Prince. Should I be worried?

6 Alex Belth   ~  May 13, 2005 6:33 am

6.  Old Weird Harold had a Continental.

I think it would be great if the only music you heard at the ballpark came from the organist.

That Special Ed record is slammin. "Hoe Down" is still one of my favorites.

I thought that "Top Billin" by the Audio Two would work well for Jeter too. Classic opening drum beats.

7 murphy   ~  May 13, 2005 6:33 am

7.  alex,

another note on the organist at shea: i actually went to a bunch of mets games while rickey was there and aside from being a wise-ass, the organist was actually very daring. aside from the usual pre-game/between innings fare, i got to watch him, over the course of the season, work out a great version of "Peaches in Regalia" by Frank Zappa. Sure, as far as Zappa goes, it's tame; but in the grand scheme of things: an MLB stadium organist in 2001 playing Frank Zappa between innings? i think that's FANtastic.

8 Ben   ~  May 13, 2005 6:35 am

8.  Yo Bro, Thanks for the Liberace, and link! Poor A-Rod.

9 Murray   ~  May 13, 2005 6:49 am

9.  I couldn't agree more that player theme music is another thing that I wish would pack up and move to Chad. I swear, they turn the sound system up a little louder every year--on Monday night at Yankee Stadium, I couldn't hear myself think, so conversation wasn't exactly easy, either.

That being said, however, for Ruben Sierra, I assume you guys know about these:


10 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  May 13, 2005 6:49 am

10.  IF I remember this right, I think Shane Spencer stepped up to bat with the Pixies "Where is My Mind Playing?" playing. Apparently, he knew too well his unhinged mental state (see his tenure with Mets).

I'd like it if the first four batters of the line-up each had a verse from the greatest rap song ever: The Juice Crew's The Symphony: "Next up. Yo I believe that's me..."

11 Patrick   ~  May 13, 2005 6:57 am

11.  All ya heard was poppa don't hit me no more...

That's the only song out of all those that I own.

If I recall, Jeter had Hate Me Now up on his at bats for awhile. That one would work for A-Rod or Sheff.

12 Fred Vincy   ~  May 13, 2005 6:59 am

12.  This is a great idea, but I can't believe you dissed Paulie -- my wife and I thought Baba O'Reilly was part of his charm!

13 jalexei   ~  May 13, 2005 7:00 am

13.  I agree I'd like to see the player music disappear, but if it doesn't, I'd love to see someone go completely random, like Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" or something.

I was in Fenway a couple years back when Manny's choice cut had a loud and clear "motherf*cker" echoing around the ballpark. I remember thinking, "Oooh, that's gonna get someone fired..."

14 Alex Belth   ~  May 13, 2005 7:04 am

14.  If I really wanted to diss Paulie O I would have brought up his chops as a drummer. Remember that MSG ad featuring O'Neill and Bernie "jamming." Frightful.

The organist at Shea is playing the opening riff from "Blister in the Sun" to rouse the crowd this year. Again, it's safe, but for a ballpark it's cool. And especially appropriate at Shea.

Rap quiz: Who are the four Juice Crew Mcs who rhyme on "The Symphony" and in what order to they appear?

15 Murray   ~  May 13, 2005 7:13 am

15.  The Shea organist also likes to play "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones. It cracks me up every time, even more than when Eddie Layton used to end the opening phrase of Beethoven's 5th with a major chord.

16 Matt B   ~  May 13, 2005 7:17 am

16.  900 cop cars!

The MSG organist plays "Peaches en Regalia," too...wonder if it's the same guy.

I enjoyed the obvious "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult for some of Matsui's ABs the past couple years. It's a bit too on the nose, but what the hell.

What can they play for Cano? "Mrs. Robinson?" "Ain't No More Cane?"

17 unpopster   ~  May 13, 2005 7:18 am

17.  Nick,

I was wondering about "The Symphony" too and, yes, I agree that it is the greatest rap song ever (just ahead of another collaborative epic, "The Scenario")...but the one problem with "The Symphony" and why it wouldn't quite work right now is that the song featured some all-star talent at their prime (i.e. Big Dady Kane, Kool G Rap, etc.).

Right now, the way the Yanks have been playing, I'd have to wait until they all play like they're in their prime before I insert a song of that caliber in there.

If Jeter, Womack, Arod and Shef really go on a tear, I think "The Symphony" might just be mandatory!

18 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  May 13, 2005 7:22 am

18.  verse 1: Master Ace
verse 2: Craig G
verse 3 (and my favorite): Kool G Rap
verse 4: the 1, the only Big Daddy Kane

I hope I'm right!

"Yo, Marley gives the slice, I get nice,
and my voice is twice as horrifying as Vincent Price"

19 Dan M   ~  May 13, 2005 7:24 am

19.  We used to steal the wheels off baby carriages.

A few years back I noticed an organist (I want to say at Comiskey, but I'm not sure) playing Weezer's "Hash Pipe."

20 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  May 13, 2005 7:26 am

20.  unpopster, good pt about the players being in there prime, although I think the order works perfectly in terms of relative talent level.

1. ace-jeter
2. craig g-womack
3. kool g rap: sheff
4. hideki/arod-kane

21 unpopster   ~  May 13, 2005 7:31 am

21.  "So just acknowledge the way that I kick it,
cuz if rap was a house, you'd be evicted.
And dismissed from the microphone, chokin' on a bone, cuz Daddy's home.
And battlin' me is hazardous to health,
so put a quarter in your ass, cuz ya played yourself"

22 Alex Belth   ~  May 13, 2005 7:32 am

22.  "l'err, lear, lear...D'ooge, right in the face."

Nick, you are correct, sir. Both "The Symphony" and "Scenerio" are classic posse cuts. G Rap also wrote one of the great Hip Hop songs ever in "Streets of New York." "Ill Street Blues" is tight too.

Recently, I made a mix cd of the Greatest, or most influencial emcess' from the 1986-88 era. I left out RUN DMC, Kool Moe Dee, Ice T, and NWA, who put out there first single in 88. I picked seven rappers. I don't know why. I just thought it was a good, odd number, plus I was then able to call the mix, "The Magnificent Seven."

In no particular order, the Grandmasters I chose were:

2. Chuck D
3. Big Daddy Kane
4. Rakim
5. Slick Rick
6. LL Cool J
7. Kool G Rap

23 rbj   ~  May 13, 2005 7:46 am

23.  I think it was the White Sox music guy who got fired a few years back when he played some Whitesnake while Chuck Finley was warming up. Chuck, at the time, was married to Tawny Kitaen (yum) who previously was married to some guy in Whitesnake.

For Jason, how about "Don't Let (send) Me Down"

24 bobtaco   ~  May 13, 2005 7:56 am

24.  For Hideki, I always thought it would be really smooth if he used anything off of DJ Krush's Strictly Turntabalized. If you know the album, I'm thinking the beginning of Kemuri or Lunation would be perfect.

25 Knuckles   ~  May 13, 2005 8:20 am

25.  Lately, Tino deserves to come to bat with "Groove Is In The Heart" blasting out the speakers.

"Tomb of the Boom" by OutKast for Sheff.

Jeter gets 50's P.I.M.P. I know it's not too original but it fits so well.

Giambi- "Hard Road to Travel" by Jimmy Cliff, or if you wanna be mean about it, "Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away" by the Crue.

26 uburoisc   ~  May 13, 2005 9:08 am

26.  Giambi: "The Needle and the Damage Done"

27 ChuckM   ~  May 13, 2005 9:32 am

27.  Yeah, it was the White Sox guy that got canned. I'm pretty sure he played "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake, which had the video that included Tawny Kitaen (who was married to the singer-David Coverdale) sprwaling all over the hood of a convertible. Finley apparently didn't find it amusing. Although I heard that Atlantic City team does some pretty amusing stuff w/their music...

28 Clay Caviness   ~  May 13, 2005 9:42 am

28.  I swear at one of the games my wife and I attended early in 1999, some player came to bat to the tune of "It's Raining Men"... I can't remember who it was, though.

29 JJay   ~  May 13, 2005 9:47 am

29.  It's a relatively unknown band but "Bonecracker" by Shocore would be a good fit for Sheff.

30 Clay Caviness   ~  May 13, 2005 9:58 am

30.  Also, now that Matsui's switched to "Immigrant Song", all I can think of is Viking Kittens.

31 Clay Caviness   ~  May 13, 2005 10:02 am

31.  Whoops. Stripped out the link:


32 Jen   ~  May 13, 2005 10:34 am

32.  Sheff: "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof of the Sucker)" Parliament
Giambi: "Shattered" Rolling Stones or "Substitute" The Who
Rodriguez: "Goody Two Shoes" Adam Ant
Bernie: "Take Five" Dave Brubeck

Did they ever use "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult for Matsui's at bats? I know they've used it for between inning highlights.

33 Peoples Hernandez   ~  May 13, 2005 11:12 am

33.  big up on 'the needle and the damage done' for giambi. 'help' being played for pitching conferences in the middle of jams is getting played out leaguewide these days, but it seemed a little fun the first time I heard it; now I think "help is on the way" by the whatnauts needs to be played whenever a good middle reliever is thrown into a jam. as for the yanks, in no order:

-"i got 'cha" by joe tex (song seems similarly old and insane to the man himself)

-'pink elephants on parade' from 'dumbo' (oops, pedro martinez must have slipped this record in.)

-'old man' by neil young
-'the ghetto walk' by miles davis (it's slow and bluesy, like watching this point of his career)

-'simon says (get the (#@*$& up)' by pharoah monch (for the fat sample of the godzilla soundtrack, of course)

-whatever song of the moment you would rather eat raw octopus than hear again on the radio.

-anything by bobby womack, obviously. I'd pick 'daylight,' but even the obvious pick, 'across 110th street,' is cool.

-anything by mariah carey (just to surprise him)

-'walking with a ghost' by tegan and sara
-'take me out (of the lineup)' by franz ferdinand

-'ooh child' by the five stairsteps ('oooh child things are gonna get easier...ooh child things'll be brighter...')

34 Alex Belth   ~  May 13, 2005 11:34 am

34.  Funny, but though I like Alex Rodriguez, I can't come up with a cool song for him. All of the tunes suggested for him have been to bust on him.

"Take Five" yeah, that's a fine call for Bernie. Old Eddie Harris, anything cool, and breezy.

35 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 13, 2005 12:04 pm

35.  For E-Rod, how about some Rod Stewart? "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" is the obvious selection, but "Reason to Believe" would be most appropriate. "Some Guys Have All The Luck" might also work, though that would actually be better for Jeter. That said, I can't seem to get "Young Turks" out of my head right now. "Time is on your side . . ."

36 Matt B   ~  May 13, 2005 12:31 pm

36.  I like the Grateful Dead's "Help on the Way" for a pitching change. The whole "Slipknot!" jam would take you right through the warm-up pitches.

In line with Peoples' ideas for Giambi, how about Richard Thompson's "The Ghost of you Walks?"

I love "Ooh Child" for Cano.

How about a tune by The Plastics or Shonen Knife for Matsui?

Cliff, damn you for putting "Young Turks" in my head. How about "Handbags and Gladrags" for A-Rod? "You Wear It Well?"

37 Patrick   ~  May 13, 2005 5:34 pm

37.  "Hate Me Now" isn't to bust on him. He's a hated individual (in some circles... if not for being highly paid or for being highly successful - for being a Yankee). He's been villainized.

38 Patrick   ~  May 13, 2005 5:35 pm

38.  Granted, it's probably not as old as you'd like, given your initial list.

39 unpopster   ~  May 13, 2005 6:56 pm

39.  Since we're on the subject of music and players, I thought I'd tell a little story:

I used to work for a record label that occasionally released latin jazz and world music.

Davis Wells just happened to be a personal friend of a co-worker and he stopped by the offices during a home stretch in '97. I collected a bunch of Buena Vista Social Club CDs and asked David to pass them on to Bernie, thinking that he'd appreciate the latin guitar. I included a little note with the package of six or so CDs.

My guess is that Wells kept the package, listened to one track of of one album, and threw them in the back of his SUV-of-the-moment.

Damn, it would have been nice to get a note back from Bernie thanking me for the music.

40 Jen   ~  May 13, 2005 8:19 pm

40.  How about these for Rodriguez.
"Protect Ya Neck" by Wu Tang
"Sure Shot" Beastie Boys
"No. 13 Baby" Pixies

And just for kicks.
"Alexander the Great" Iron Maiden
"Alexander's Ragtime Band" Louis Armstrong

41 Rich Lederer   ~  May 14, 2005 8:42 am

41.  Love Bill Cosby. Love Go Carts. Love the album cover. Loved your Wonderfulness post, too.

Given Jason Giambi's propensity to draw a base on balls, how about "Walk, Don't Run?" The surf music would also dovetail with Giambi's California Cool ways.

Although Jason hasn't been very instrumental in the Yankees' success, you can't say it hasn't been one helluva Venture(s).

42 Alex Belth   ~  May 14, 2005 11:40 am

42.  Jen,
"Protect Ya Neck" is one of my favorites.
Always gotta end with the Genuis:

"First of all, who's your A&R?
A mountain climber, who plays and electric guitar/
But he don't know the meaning of dope, when he's looking for a suit-and-tie rap that's cleaner than a bar of soap/
And I'm the dirtiest thing in sight, matter fact bring on the girls and let's start a mud fight"

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver