06/06/2008 12:33 PM ET
@-bat music: Chicago White Sox
South Siders love their songs, familiar or not
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
The White Sox won the World Series a mere three years ago, and if they're going to get back to the top of the baseball world in 2008, they'll need to start intimidating opponents at home the way they did in 2005.
That's why careful thought and planning has gone into their walk-up music. Up and down the lineup, the batting music selections of the Pale Hose feature hard rock songs, hip-hop, straight-up pop and even a little old-school humor. And even though several of the players left it to the club's marketing department to pick songs or don't even know songs are playing when they step to the plate, there's a nice eclectic mix of music ringing through U.S. Cellular Field 81 times a summer.
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.
So here's the playlist for the swingin' South Siders:
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Song: "Savin' Me" by Nickelback; "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)" by Jay-Z
Cabrera: "I like Nickelback. Really. I love Nickelback. And I'm gonna go with Jay-Z. Those are the songs I really like, so I'm going to get them in there."
Critic commentary: "Nickelback is no doubt a favorite of many beer-swilling baseball fans, but it's a curiously mundane modern-rock selection for Cabrera, so hopefully he shows a predominant preference for the 'Jigga Man' upon removing the donut from his lumber." --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Nick Swisher, CF
Song: "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins
Swisher: "I was looking for something that was fun, and someone came up with the idea. Your come-up song is something that gets you fired up, gets you ready to hit and is something that means something to you. And this one is old-school, man."
Critic commentary: "Quite possibly the best choice in all of MLB. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, the always-entertaining Swisher strides to the plate to the not-so-daunting sounds of one half of Loggins and Messina. This could only be better if the choice came without irony, but it surely does not. Swisher hasn't been a Top Gun this year, but he sure keeps it interesting." --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Carlos Quentin, LF
Songs: "4 Minutes (to Save the World)" by Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake
Quentin: "First, I didn't even know what song it was. Second, I didn't pay attention. I always assumed they played something when I come up to the plate. Now that I find out it's that song, I might have to change it. So that's about it."
Critic commentary: "Quentin is having a surprisingly monster season and should be an All-Star shoo-in, but he clearly hasn't put much effort into his walk-up selection. Madonna's latest chart-topper is a safe bet, and we appreciate his 'Save the World' bravado, but it just doesn't do justice to his out-of-nowhere '08 campaign. Might we suggest Nas' 'Made You Look?'" --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Paul Konerko, 1B
Song: "Harvester of Sorrow" by Metallica
Konerko: "I think I just told them any song off that album (And Justice For All). That was about it. It's been a while now. It's been up there for at least six years in a row. It's one of my favorite albums, and it's just a great song. It's got a good beginning to it. Sometimes I hear it, sometimes I don't. It kind of depends. I'd say most of the time, no, but sometimes if you're coming up and there's a pitching change, they let it play. Then you hear it longer. But not as much as the people watching the game probably hear it, because you're a little more focused in."
Critic commentary: "Long before anxiety-laden documentaries and Napster-induced legal tantrums, Metallica was one of the baddest bands on the planet, and this song is as good evidence as any of that fact. Are the best days of Konerko, plagued by a thumb injury this season, behind him as well?" --Jim Welte, Editor, MP3.com
Jim Thome, DH
Song: "No Leaf Clover" by Metallica
Thome: "I just kind of roll with it. I'm not an overly big music guy, so whatever they play is fine. No biggie. I don't even really hear it up there. If I would think about it, I probably would, but I don't pay much attention. I'm focusing what I'm trying to do. So no big deal."
Critic commentary: "Good thing Thome's not still bashing for Cleveland, as he'd be battling for this Metallica cut with Casey Blake. Lord knows battling the arms of the American League is challenging enough." --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Jermaine Dye, RF
Song: "Flashing Lights" by Kanye West; "Independent" by Webbie
Dye: "They're probably the songs that I hear on the radio now, the most popular songs that I hear. One song's pretty much upbeat and kind of gets me going a little bit, and the other one, Kanye West, I did that because he's from Chicago. I hear it until I get in the box and I kind of refocus again."
Critic commentary: "Love the 'Flashing Lights' choice -- totally current, totally hardcore. The overproduced clichés of 'Independent' are slightly less impressive, though that spelled-out chorus does encourage literacy. Batting is F-U-N!" --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
Joe Crede, 3B
Songs: "It's Not My Time" by 3 Doors Down; "What I Want" by Daughtry
Crede: "I never knew what the songs were. Before, in the past, when I have picked them, for me personally, I'll go up there and I'll hear it and think, 'Yeah, that's the song I picked out,' and all of a sudden my focus is way off. Now I'm concentrating on the song. For some guys, it helps them a little bit, especially at home, but for me, I did it for a couple years and it just seemed that my focus just wasn't what I thought it should be. That's just me. I just prefer that I not pick it unless they start playing something like Justin Timberlake. Then I'd have to go up there and change that."
Critic commentary: "Lemme guess: Previous song choices included 'Hemorrhage (In My Hands)' by Fuel and at least one Nickelback song, right? Men are so awesome." --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Song: "Set it Off" by Audioslave
Pierzynski: "I just don't really care, to be honest with you. It doesn't do anything for me one way or the other. I know guys have certain songs they like to come up to, but I've never picked one and whatever they play is what they play."
Critic commentary: "Given the title, you'd anticipate this track from Chris Cornell and Co. to be a bit more explosive. Instead, it's just got an expletive-laden chorus, so the PA man can only pray Pierzynski strolls up to the plate with some expediency." --Kenny Herzog, Contributing Editor, Heeb Magazine/Freelance Music Critic
Brian Anderson, CF
Song: "So What'cha Want" by Beastie Boys; "LoveStoned" by Justin Timberlake
Anderson: "I used to want to come up to songs to get me all pumped up, but as a hitter, you don't really want to do that because you start over-swinging. At least it affects me like that. So I try to come out to some songs that I just like. The 'LoveStoned' song I really don't like all that much, just the ending of it. I like that last part, I like the beat. And I always liked that song by the Beastie Boys because I remember my dad used to give me a hard time and joke about the lyrics, you know, 'What'cha want?' Mess with me all the time."
Critic commentary: "Beasties are timeless -- can't front on that. Meanwhile, 'LoveStoned' is a great song, but to fire up a crowd? Weird choice, and not exactly PG. Though between this and Dye's Kanye, I can't help but think the White Sox are getting way more action than the rest of us." --Whitney Pastorek, Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly magazine
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.