Welcome to The Rotation! This is a weekly column, written by yours truly, that talks about the wonderful blended worlds of baseball and music. These two have been staples of Americana for centuries and are as big a part of our culture as apple pie and Chevrolet. My goal is to pick a different topic between the beautiful, unified world of baseball and music and write about it each week.
Additionally, each week will also feature a segment detailing a personal favorite walk-up song—either historical or current. I’ll try to do one hitter and one pitcher walk-up each week. Nothing is more fun than a player with a unique, punny, or just outright rocking walk-up tune.
Elton John, Dodger Stadium, and Rocketman
This weekly column discusses baseball and music—so naturally I’m going to start his week’s post talking about a movie. If you haven’t seen the Elton John fantasy-biopic Rocketman yet, I highly recommend it. Taron Egerton perfectly embodies Sir Elton, and the movie doesn’t pull any punches when discussing Elton’s battle with drugs, alcohol, sexuality, etc. *cough, Bohemian Rhapsody, cough*.
One of the most iconic scenes in the movie takes place at Dodger Stadium in 1975, when the singer comes out dressed in the flashiest, Dodgers “jersey” that you’ve ever seen. Take a look:
Now, Rocketman certainly took a lot of liberties when creating a bio about John’s life, but this ridiculous outfit is not one of them. He actually did perform two shows at Dodger Stadium on back-to-back days in 1975, and he did wear a ridiculous, glittery Dodgers uniform and hat while on stage:
Of course, in real life, Elton didn’t pass out in a pool only to visualize his nine-year-old self singing Rocketman to him, leading to him singing it at Dodger Stadium and eventually flying away with a rocket attached to his back, like the movie portrayed, but where is the fun in that?
Walk-Up Songs of the Week
Hitter: Wilmer Flores – I’ll Be There For You (The Rembrandts)
Former Mets utility infielder Wilmer Flores is known for two things: 1) He got emotional on the field after hearing he had been dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers a few years ago and 2) his walk-up song is the theme song from the ’90s sitcom Friends.
The irony that his walk-up song is about being there for someone, when he was unceremoniously told he was getting traded in the middle of a game (medicals prevented the trade from happening), is not lost on me. Even without that fun piece of trivia, Flores’ walk-up tune always got the crowd going, because honestly, who doesn’t love to clap along to this song?
Flores did end up on a new team in 2019, and he is hitting a career-high .281 with a pair of home runs as Arizona’s second baseman.
Pitcher: Mike Soroka – Even Flow (Pearl Jam)
Making this about myself real quick: One of my long-term goals is to write a book about music and sports in the city of Seattle. Pearl Jam, naturally, would be a huge part of that book—tentatively titled Smells Like Team Spirit.
Even Flow is one of Pearl Jam’s most well-known tunes, and Eddie Vedder‘s raspy vocals and the grungy sound are perfect for a pitcher entrance. Starters tend to get longer audio intros than relievers, which makes picking a song a bit more difficult.
Soroka seems to have that skill down, however, and his 1.92 ERA across 11 starts certainly shows that he should not make any changes to whatever he is doing.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)