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.
This week really got away from me, so instead of a feature story, we are just going to focus on two walk-up songs. Enjoy!
Walk-Up Songs of the Week
Hitter: Raul Ibanez – Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
Oh man. Few things are more fun than a hitter having a walk-up song that everyone can sing along with—especially when singing along also allows fans to chant the player’s name.
That was the case when power-hitting left fielder Raul Ibanez would walk out to the 1970s classic Werewolves of London.
The actual lyrics during the chorus is a wolf howling sound followed by “werewolves of London.” Fans could easily substitute the wolf howling with “Rauuuuuuuuuuul”—hence using a song from the late-1970s as his walk-up.
I want to talk a bit more about “Werewolves of London,” because it has quite possibly some of my favorite lyrics of all time. The song itself is nonsensical, which is apparent from the opening stanza:
“Saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand/walking through the streets of Soho in the rain/he was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fook’s/Going to get a big dish of beef chow mein”
A few other gems: “Little old lady got mutilated late last night” and “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vick’s, his hair was perfect.”
What a gem of a song, and a perfect way to introduce Ibanez at the plate.
Pitcher: Matthew Boyd – Black Eyes (Bradley Cooper)
If you haven’t seen A Star is Born, the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga movie that earned a ton of Oscar attention this past year, then you are probably very surprised to see Cooper’s name here. Yes, that’s the same guy from The Hangover, and yes, Cooper can actually sing. I mean, he paled in comparison to Gaga, but the movie definitely showcased a different side of Cooper, as a past his prime, alcohol-addicted country singer.
Boyd must be a fan, as he uses one of the more obscure songs from the movie. The song that has been on the radio is Shallow, although that would be a poor choice as a walk-up song. Black Eyes is a true country/rock jam, with Cooper wailing on the guitar while singing in a very growly, piercing voice.
I’m a huge fan of Boyd’s use of this song, and not just because I own him and his magnificent 3.16 ERA and 11.20 K/9 on the year.
I am creating a Spotify playlist of all the walk-up songs that I discuss over the course of the season. It is called “Pitcher List Walk Up Jams” and is shared for anyone who wants it.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)