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@-bat music: Blue Jays07/11/2008 12:47 PM ET
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
The Toronto Blue Jays haven't won the World Series since their second in a row in 1993, but they've recently rehired their manager from that era, Cito Gaston, so maybe some more magic is in their near future.
Whether or not they get this magic from the songs playing in their home park, Rogers Centre, when they stride to the plate is another issue entirely. Just like 29 other big-league teams, the Jays are looking for mojo at the plate in any form, and if it's going to come in the form of walk-up music, so be it.While some Jays talk a lot about their personal song selections and the thoughts that went behind them, some are surprisingly tight-lipped. Outfielders Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, for example, simply shrug and tell you they can't remember what the songs are -- and they picked them!
MLB.com/Entertainment is getting to the bottom of the Major League tradition of walk-up music all season long by going from clubhouse to clubhouse and soliciting cutting-edge commentary from the players, the organizational brass, and some of the best music critics in the business. Song choices will change over the course of the 2008 campaign for various -- and often superstitious -- reasons, but rest assured that we'll feature the songs straight from the players' plate play lists at press time.
Here are the songs chirping throughout Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays step up to the plate:
David Eckstein, SSSong: "Counting the Days" by Collective Soul
Eckstein: "I have no clue what the song is. I let them pick it, and I don't worry about that. I've never known what my songs were because I just don't pay attention to it. When I was with St. Louis, I had to go online to find out what it was."
Critic commentary: "Quite a far cry from his days coming to the plate to Crystal Method and Ludacris. Maybe it's a reflection on the oncoming twilight of his playing days?" --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Marco Scutaro, IFSong: "Tu Me Dejaste Caer" by Daddy Yankee
Scutaro: "It's a good reggaeton song. I didn't ask for that song, but it's OK. I've only picked a song once, in 1999, in Triple-A in Buffalo. I went 0-for-10 and said I'd never pick one again, ever."
Critic commentary: "Play this in the Bronx and we might have a whole new addition to the legacy left from Pedro Martinez's much-mocked remark about the Yankees being his papi." --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Scott Rolen, 3BSongs: "Out of Exile" by Audioslave
Rolen: "I don't know what the song is. I try to figure out what it is every time I go up there."
Critic commentary: "Hard to say whether this is a comment on his former club or some apparent glee at playing for a team outside the continental U.S. Chances are Rolen just uses hard rock to get pumped while he benches the weight of SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre)." --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Vernon Wells, CFSong: "We Taking Over" by DJ Khaled featuring Akon, T.I., Lil' Wayne and Baby
Critic commentary: "Subtlety takes a back seat when the ultra-talented Wells steps up to the plate with a guest-laden hip-hop boast by Khaled, who doesn't rap on the track and didn't produce its beat but somehow still manages to be swimming in money and street cred." --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Alex Rios, RFSong: "Los Bandoleros" by Don Omar
Critic commentary: "How clever! One of the top base-stealers in the league walks to the plate serenaded by the rugged tones of his Puerto Rican homeboy's bandit anthem. Don't you wish all MLBers were so thematic?" --Scott Poulson-Bryant, Author, veteran music journalist and baseball nut
Lyle Overbay, 1BSong: "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam
Overbay: "I'm a big Pearl Jam fan, being from Washington, and I love the intro to that song. I just had to be careful to tell them to stop the song before Eddie Vedder starts singing because it's a very emotional song and the words are disturbing. But getting the music in my head a bit before hitting is a good thing for me."
Critic commentary: "Maybe it's because he's originally from the Washington state area that this first baseman trots out to a morose Seattle alt-rock narrative? Maybe not. Either way, this All-Star's fans make their kind of music with that ridiculous 'O' chant that's seemed to follow him around the league." --Scott Poulson-Bryant, Author, veteran music journalist and baseball nut
Matt Stairs, OF/DHSongs: "Glass Shatters" by Disturbed (Stone Cold Steve Austin theme music)
Stairs: "It grabs you right away, and it's for the fans, really. They're the ones who respond to it the most."
Critic commentary: "Is it any wonder this DH identifies with the same bone-crunching, head-banging sounds of Disturbed that rep a six-time WWE champ? Somebody told me Stairs coaches hockey in the offseason -- he obviously knows a good brawl when he sees one." --Scott Poulson-Bryant, Author, veteran music journalist and baseball nut
Gregg Zaun, CSong: "Limelight" by Rush
Zaun: "It's a little bit of everything. I've been a big Rush fan for a long time and it's pretty cool that (Rush lead singer and bassist) Geddy (Lee) is a Jays season-ticket holder, so he's always at the games. More than anything, I picked the song because it's got a great beginning. You only hear the first four or five seconds, and in that song, they're awesome."
Critic commentary: "What's this? A pointed take on the sometimes-harsh reality of living in the spotlight, penned by the enigmatic Neil Peart of legendary prog-rock group Rush? Zaun takes the road less traveled amongst walk-up songs, and establishes himself as a contrarian." --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Rod Barajas, CSong: "Ghetto Bird" by Ice Cube
Barajas: "It just reminds me of growing up in L.A. It's from my era. For me, it's cool because not a lot of people know it. It's kind of my own thing."
Critic commentary: "I'm still never sure why players pick songs with such literally associative titles, when the track itself couldn't be more jarringly awkward. It's not like you see any Diamondbacks using the theme song to 'Snakes on a Plane.'" --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
John McDonald, IFSong: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2; "I Alone" by Live
McDonald: "It's been playing for about three years, and I picked it simply because it's a good song, no other reason. Occasionally I'll hear it, but most of the time I don't even notice it."
Critic commentary: "The light-hitting McDonald goes for a classic track from one of the heaviest hitters on the planet, alternating it with a staple of '90s alt-rock from a band that has long since fallen out of relevance. McDonald is fighting off David Eckstein for innings and hearing rumors that new manager Cito Gaston is looking for a shortstop solution. But with one of the best gloves in the game, we can't argue with McDonald's musical inspiration of choice." --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.