05/23/2008 10:54 AM ET
@-bat music: Texas Rangers
Variety spices up the clubhouse in Arlington
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
The Texas Rangers' clubhouse is a mixture of young guys and older veterans, and the different backgrounds of the players lead to varying musical choices when they come to the plate. Some have good reasons for their at-bat tunes and some don't have any reason and seem to think they don't really need one.
"There's no particular reason for picking them other than I just dug them," shortstop Michael Young said. "I might switch it up midseason. Honestly, there's nothing to it. If I like a song, I'll mess around with it for a little bit, and that's pretty much it."
MLB.com/Entertainment will be 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 tunes Texas is two-steppin' to:
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Song: "Black Betty" by Ram Jam
Kinsler: "It sounds good. I sing to it. It's just something that everyone does in the league. You just pick out a song that you feel will get you ready to hit, I guess. I talked about it with my friends and let them pick one out. We just had some fun with it and had them come up with it, and that's what they picked."
Critic commentary: "Texas's leadoff hitter reaches back to 1977 for this Southern-fried jam fest. (But shhhh, don't tell him this has been a between-inning staple at Yankee Stadium ...)" --Anne Marie Cruz, Staff Editor, PEOPLE magazine
Michael Young, SS
Song: "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)" by Jay Z; "Hit The Floor" by Linkin Park; "Guess Who's Back" by Rakim
Young: "The Rakim song ... you like that one, huh? (Smiles) I try to make sure I go with one old-school song every time I pick a new one. I've got a couple more up my sleeve, too. ... I sing along sometimes. Not aloud, but in my head. I don't know if it helps, but I like music, and it's fun to mess around with it for a little bit."
Critic commentary: "The exuberant horn parts of the Jay-Z track, the slicing guitars of Linkin Park, the smooth rhymes of Rakim -- sounds like someone set this shortstop's game to music." --Scott Poulson-Bryant, Author, veteran music journalist and baseball nut
Josh Hamilton, CF
Songs: "Saved the Day" by Phillips, Craig & Dean
Hamilton: "It's a Christian song. The part I (have asked to be) played says, 'You saved the day/ the day you rolled the stone away/ the empty grave was there to say you reign.' I got on our PA announcer a little bit because he'd cut in and say my name right in the middle of it. I told him that I'm not one of these guys that are playing the song for myself. I'm playing it so everybody else can hear it. I said, 'I'm not telling you how to do your job, but if you could, just announce my name, and then play it.' That's just the way I feel about the whole situation."
Critic commentary: "Going squarely against the grain of the usual MLB mix of rock anthems and hip-hop jams, the slugger finds inspiration in this religious ballad by a trio of pastors." --Anne Marie Cruz, Staff Editor, PEOPLE magazine
Milton Bradley, OF/DH
Song: "Say Hello" by Jay Z; "My Life" by Pharaoh
Critic commentary: "This outfielder's music taste is laced with the same old-school rhythm as his famous board-game name. But Bradley's apparently ain't playin' no games: these beats rep some serious life-and-death stuff." --Scott Poulson-Bryant, Author, veteran music journalist and baseball nut
Hank Blalock, 3B
Song: "New Disease" by Disturbed
Critic commentary: "Apparently nothing can rattle this third baseman if this blend of melodic alt-rock and head-banging rawness is what follows him to the plate. I guess this new disease helps him bring the sickness." --Scott Poulson-Bryant, Author, veteran music journalist and baseball nut
Gerald Laird, C
Song: "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco featuring Matthew Santos
Laird: "I just chose it because I like the beat and the words. Basically, everyone up here, I think, is a superstar to a lot of people, so I think it's a good song and it's got a good melody, and it gets me going for my at-bat. I like to hear it."
Critic commentary: "Many scratched their heads when Lupe Fiasco -- solid but no superstar -- picked this bold track as the lead single off his latest album, The Cool. So it's fitting that Laird, a solid catcher but by no means an All-Star, would go with it as his walk-up track. A bit incongruous, but hey, whatever works for you, Gerald." --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Frank Catalanotto, OF/DH
Songs: "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue; "Mr. Brownstone" by Guns N' Roses; "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed
Catalanotto: "I just like upbeat music, something hard just to get you pumped up. I usually hear it once that guy in front of you makes an out. Then they start it up pretty quick. I just basically wrote down a bunch of songs and said, 'Just play these whenever.'"
Critic commentary: "Yowza! Nothing like a couple of ax-grinding classic rockers to get a DH ready to jack a few outta there." --Anne Marie Cruz, Staff Editor, PEOPLE magazine
Marlon Byrd, OF
Song: "Work" by Gangstarr
Byrd: "Last year, Desi Relaford was coming up to bat to it in Triple-A, and I liked the song, so when I came up, I called him and said I need a song, so I asked him if I could take his song and he said, 'Go right ahead.' I started hitting with it and I stuck with it. It gets me going. I pick one song per year and stick with it."
Critic commentary: : "Although it hasn't yet helped Byrd convince manager Ron Washington to give him more at-bats, this is an absolutely outstanding choice. Set to a trademark beat from hip-hop legend DJ Premier, the track finds the perfect balance between swagger and devotion to 'puttin' in work.'" --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.