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.
The baseball world and the music world frequently intersect somewhat indirectly: via walk-up songs, passing references in music, players who dabble with a guitar, musicians who throw out a first pitch, etc.
However, sometimes the two worlds collide head-on, and when that happens we are given absolute gems like The Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club.
The Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club
What better way to talk about the combination of baseball and music than to discuss a band that is solely dedicated to songs about baseball? Meet the Isotopes Punk Rock Baseball Club (commonly called the Isotopes), who have officially labeled themselves “The world’s greatest baseball punk band”—a title that I have to imagine is rarely, if ever, challenged.
The Isotopes have been together since 2006, releasing two studio albums and a handful of singles. Song titles include The Ballad of Rey Ordonez and The Curse of Jim Eisenreich, and my personal favorite, Operation: Vamos, which is about the kidnapping of (then) Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos.
“I’ve played baseball every season since I was three years old, and as experienced as I am at picking up chicks, getting my heart broken and vice versa, I’m 10 times more experienced at fielding grounders and hockin’ loogs,” said lead singer Evan October (real name: Evan Wansbrough) in an article written by ESPN in 2012.
The Band’s two albums; Nuclear Strikezone (2015) and 1994 World Series Champions (2017) are available on Spotify and iTunes, if you are so inclined.
A few other song titles to entice you:
Legend of George Brett
Chicks Dig the Long Ball
Psycho at the Sandlot
Walk-Up Songs of the Week
Hitter: Ben Gamel – Rubber Band Man (T.I.)
If you read these posts every week, you know I’m a sucker for players who pick old hip-hop jams. While this song certainly isn’t as dated as Let Me Clear My Throat or Pony, I still have to give a shoutout to the whitest dude in the league, Ben Gamel, for rocking Rubber Band Man by T.I. What a classic.
Pitcher: Josh Hader – Renegade (Styx)
It’s a Brewers theme today, as I decided to feature Milwaukee’s other long-haired white dude for his use of Styx’s 1978 classic Renegade to enter from of the bullpen. Renegade starts out quietly before busting into the opening lyrics, and the melody works perfectly as a bullpen entrance song. Nice work, Mr. Hader.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)