09/15/2008 11:50 AM ET
@-bat music: Philadelphia Phillies
Phils rock, reggae and roll towards pennant drive
By Doug Miller and Kevin Horan / MLB.com
The Philadelphia Phillies are right in the thick of the pennant race once again, and every night a different player can step up and make a huge difference as the club tries to win its first World Series title since 1980.
The Phillies look for inspiration everywhere, and it's quite possible that they get it from the music that's playing when the hitters stride to the plate in Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have good stories behind these personal song selections, and they weren't afraid to admit why they chose them - except for Jayson Werth.
MLB.com/Entertainment has been 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 have changed over the course of the 2008 campaign for various -- and often superstitious -- reasons, but rest assured that we've been featuring the songs straight from the players' plate play lists at press time.
Here are the Phillies' phavorites:
Jayson Werth, RF
Song: "Heavy Metal" by Sammy Hagar
Werth: "I am not commenting on that. [Chuckling, with tongue firmly in cheek] It's not a public issue."
Critic commentary: "He could theoretically find someone that epitomizes the title of this song a bit better than the former Van Halen frontman, but it might throw people off if Werth came to bat while, say, Slayer was pumping through the PA." --Kenny Herzog, music/pop culture critic, NudeCelebrityDeathSUV.com, UncensoredInterview.com
Chase Utley, 2B
Song: "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin
Utley: "I like how it starts -- it's got a good tempo to it. There's nothing in particular, except for the fact that I like how it sounds."
Critic commentary: "Another gem, adding suspense to the surge that comes with almost every Zeppelin track. You can't go wrong by getting the Led out, but this one adds a sense of anticipation. More often than not, Utley delivers the goods." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer
Ryan Howard, 1B
Song: "Made You Look" (remix) by Nas featuring Jadakiss and Ludacris
Howard: "It's something that you like; I guess it's feel-good. Puts you in the moment. I guess everybody has different reasons for why they have their song. Some guys, it might be something more motivational. Some guys, they just like the song. I just like the song, I like the beat. And then the artists -- it's the remix -- it's got Nas, Jadakiss and Ludacris on it. That's like three of probably my top 10. I mean, you've got a track with those three on it, that's a sick beat. It's pretty much game over."
Critic commentary: "Intended or not, rarely has a song so perfectly encapsulated a season's ups and downs. Howard makes us look every night, either as the ball soars into the night or as yet another strike whips on by. He's cut down his strikeouts after a rough start and still deserves love for superb numbers otherwise, but it's still almost all or nothing. He's well on track to break his own strikeout record, set last year. 'They shootin',' and he's swingin'." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer
Shane Victorino, CF
Song: "Jamming" by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Victorino: "I just like it. I've always liked Bob Marley. Reggae is a big thing in Hawaii, reggae music, Hawaiian music. Hawaiian music kind of has somewhat of that theme. I just like Bob -- I like his lyrics. I like a lot of what he says. Back when he was alive, of course, what was going on at that time, I just like a lot of his beliefs and what he says in his lyrics."
Critic commentary: "Isn't it hard for Victorino to even hear his at-bat music with the double-flapped helmet? It's also kind of ironic that such a speedy guy gets down to slow-paced reggae jams." --Kenny Herzog, music/pop culture critic, NudeCelebrityDeathSUV.com, UncensoredInterview.com
Greg Dobbs, IF/OF
Song: "Megalomaniac" by Incubus
Dobbs: "I like the band and it's one of my favorite songs that they've done. It's just a good song and that's why I chose it. It's awesome. I like the intro. I've wanted to [see them live]. It's tough during the season. I'll try during the offseason, but, with family and stuff, it's still kind of hard to do. At some point, though, I want to."
Critic commentary: "Hey, if diatribes against power-hungry leaders with ill intent get Dobbs fired up, then so be it. The track is typical Incubus -- light, melodic vocals interspersed with heavy riffage. It's just what the doctor ordered for the Phils' pinch hitter extraordinaire." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer
Chris Coste, C
Song: "La Grange" by ZZ Top
Coste: "It was chosen for me my very first year [of professional baseball, in 1996]. And I've always loved it, so I've always kept it. I didn't even think to choose one, and I came to bat, and he [the stadium sound technician] played it, and he played it the whole night, and the rest of the season. It's perfect; it's great -- it's a really good song. I still use it now. It just seemed to fit at the time and it's still one of those songs that you can't really put an era on it. Ten years from now, it'll be a great song. It just has a good beat. The direction it takes is kind of motivational. Now, it's become more sentimental because it's something I've always had and I've never had any reason to change it."
Critic commentary: "Incredible pick. This could only be made better if the former 33-year-old rookie grew a Billy Gibbons-style beard down to his waist. If you can't get your swagger on while walking up to the plate to 'La Grange,' you need to check your pulse." --Jim Welte, freelance music writer
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. Kevin Horan is an Associate Reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.