By Julie DiCaro–
(CBS) As it turns out, walk-up music is pretty important in evaluating baseball players. Oh sure, baseball purists will tell you it’s frivolous and unnecessary, but there was a time when a lot of Cubs fans thought Ryan Theriot was the real deal at shortstop. Then he chose Salt -N-Pepa’s “Push It” for his walk-up song, and we instantly knew he was a fraud.
And ask yourself this: How would we have known that Alex Rodriguez hasn’t given up on earning the love of the masses if we hadn’t heard Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” when he walked to the plate on Opening Day? Answer: We wouldn’t.
There’s a great site called MLB Plate Music that keeps fans updated on each player’s walk-up music. I’ve been perusing the Cubs and White Sox players’ walk-up music there, and I’m afraid we need to make some immediate changes.
So let’s get to it.
Edwin Jackson, Cubs RHP
Actual song: “Waiting” by Young Jeezy
Proposed song: “All Apologies” by Nirvana
I’m not sure if Jackson listens to Nirvana, but if there’s a song equivalent of begging for forgiveness, it’s “All Apologies.” By all accounts, Jackson’s a great guy and teammate, but as far as Cubs fans are concerned, he’s collecting a $52-million paycheck for nothing more than a master class on pitcher implosions. Why not use each and every at-bat (and let’s hope there aren’t many of them this season) to try to get back into fans’ good graces?
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 1B
Actual song: “Can’t Stop: by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Proposed song: “Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
As a RHCP fan from waaaaay back, I’m glad to see a youngster like Rizzo is hip to the greatest American band of the 1990s. However, “Can’t Stop” is way too slow and not likely to strike fear into the heart of opposing pitchers like Rizzo’s walk-up music should. “Give It Away” is edgier and has a lot more swagger. It also makes great background music for one solitary man taking on the entire Reds’ dugout.
Gordon Beckham, White Sox INF
Actual song: “Your Love” by The Outfield
Proposed song: “I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Led Zeppelin
Full disclosure. I love “Your Love” more than is probably healthy. Every time I hear it, I let out a little squeal and do a little jump. That said, I’m not sure Beckham, as a career .245 hitter, is worthy of this stadium rock classic. Let’s start out with something entirely appropriate for Beckham’s relationship with the White Sox, like Zeppelin’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” (What? They can’t quit each other!) And then we can work up to The Outfield.
Jeff Samardzija, White Sox RHP
Actual Song: N/A
Proposed song: “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
I know, I know. Pitchers don’t hit in the American League, and hence they have no need for walk-up music. However, this is my list and I can put anyone I want on it. “Since U Been Gone” is the perfect breakup song from Cubs fans to Samardzija and Samardzija to Cubs fans, as both seem to be much happier without the other. And yet, Cubs fans can’t stop talking about Samardzija, and he can’t stop talking about the Cubs, not unlike the ex you hate but can’t stop stalking on Facebook. And keep in mind, Samardzija should get a few hacks at the dish in interleague play.
Phil Coke, Cubs LHP
Actual song: “Burn it to the Ground” by Nickelback
Proposed song: Anything else by anyone else on earth
Look Phil, I know you’ve been playing in places like New York and Detroit, but we’re living in a society here. We just can’t have people forcing Nickelback on the rest of the population willy-nilly. Fans pay good money for tickets to Wrigley Field, and it’s really not fair for them to have to hear Nickelback whether they like it or not (they don’t). Can I interest you in something less offensive to the ears, like Justin Bieber or Tiny Tim? Think about it, Phil.
David Ross, Cubs C
Actual Song: “It Takes Two” by Rob Base (yep, that It Takes Two)
Proposed Song: “Your Love” by The Outfield
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Ross batting in the first place. Ross was brought in as Jon Lester’s personal catcher, not for his bat, but that doesn’t stop him from appearing at the plate in significant situations (coughTuesdaynightagainstAroldisChapmancough) and leaving me disappointed. As I don’t expect much from Ross (he hit .184 last season), I just want to feel good when he comes to the plate. I wonder if he’s ever considered using The Outfield?
Adam Eaton, White Sox CF
Actual Song: “Teach Me How To Dougie” by Cali Swag District
Proposed Song: “Till I Get There” by Lupe Fiasco
Are you kidding me with this, Adam? “Teach Me How to Dougie” is from 2011, too old to be cool, not old enough to be classic. As you’re off to a slow start this season, how about something with a little motivation to help get you back to that .276 career average, eh? Lupe Fiasco’s “Till I Get There” (also from 2011) is exactly what you need to put a little pop in that bat, and you just might find that Lupe understands your struggles more than you think”
“I just a little old hope with his back against the ropes
Fighting for his fans and, fighting for his folks
But the boos from the crowd they become so loud
If I could block em out then, I could knock em out then”
Hang in there, Adam.
Chris Sale, White Sox LHP
Actual Song: “Come Sail Away” by Styx
Propose Song: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
As recently as 2013, Sale had walk-up music, and it was terrible. I get it — Sale/Sail. Still terrible. Is this still going on at the Cell? Is Styx being played before Sale pitches?
If so, the entire White Sox organization has seriously dropped the ball when it comes to this young man. Puns should never take precedence over decent taste in music. A pitcher as terrifying as Sale needs terrifying music, designed to render batters weak in the knees. Much like “Enter Sandman” heralded the appearance of Mariano Rivera and caused hitters’ hearts to drop into their stomachs, Sale needs some badass guitar riffs to announce his presence with authority.
Julie DiCaro is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Julie on Twitter @JulieDiCaro or on Facebook. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.