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While we’re in the middle of the World Series, hanging on every pitch and swing of the bat from our sporting heroes, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that superstar athletes are just like you and me: They’ve got really questionable taste in music. And, like the rest of the country, they’re inexplicably obsessed with mediocre country and hip-hop. Regardless of who wins the series itself, we thought we’d take a look at how the typical lineups of the Red Sox and the Cardinals stack up in an even more important metric: Who has the best walk-up songs?
Mike Napoli: “All Me” Drake featuring Big Sean and 2 Chainz
The idea of a macho slugger entering to a Drake song is pretty hilarious (crying in the rain at home plate), but “All Me” falls on the harder end of the Drake spectrum. The hook — “No help that’s all me, all me, for real” — does kind of run against the Red Sox superfriends team narrative, though.
Matt Adams: “Cash Flow” Ace Hood featuring Rick Ross, T-Pain, DJ Khaled
For a first baseman who weighs in at 260 pounds, it’s not easy finding a musical counterpart of similar stature, but Rick Ross fits the bill well here on this guest-laden Ace Hook track also featuring DJ Khaled and T-Pain.
Dustin Pedroia: “Still D.R.E” Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg
The creeping, sinister loop on this Dre and Snoop classic is as relentless as Pedroia’s hustle. “Still hitting them corners.” Not sure who we’d rather have coming after us, Dre and Snoop or Pedroia — that dude is intense.
Matt Carpenter: “Long Hot Summer Day” Turnpike Troubadours
This fiddle-led honky-tonk number sounds more like the theme music to walking up to the hammock for a nap, but you can’t argue with Carpenter’s numbers this year. One man’s lullaby is another’s motivation.
Stephen Drew: “Hillbilly Deluxe” Brooks & Dunn
This banjo-funk song is the most Stephen Drew thing we’ve ever heard, who often seems like he’s smoking a “little homegrown” of his own out there.
Pete Kozma: “Around the World” Red Hot Chili Peppers
This is a pretty ripping Peppers song, as long as you make sure to turn it off thirty seconds in — just before Anthony Kiedis’s comically inept rap-sung shtick starts. If Kozma really wanted to sell this one he’d walk out shirtless and do some karate-chop dance moves. Sounds like his work in the field Wednesday night, actually.
Xander Bogaerts: “Beautiful” Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell
Bogaerts is from Aruba, you may have heard, which probably explains his selection of this Caribbean inflected come-on from Snoop and Pharrell. Kind of hard to not want to drop the bat and start partying whenever this one comes on, unfortunately there’s no having fun in baseball allowed.
David Freese: “Forty-six & 2” Tool
The opening riff to this Tool creeper is intense enough, and that’s before you get to the shredding chorus. “I want to know what I’ve been hiding in my shadow,” Maynard James Keenan sings, alluding to some heady philosophy —although we kind of doubt many pro ballplayers have read much Jung.
Jonny Gomes: “The Boys are Back” Dropkick Murphys
Gomes seems like he’d fit in with the Dropkicks himself, doesn’t he? Tough, over the top, kind of relentlessly in-character. How much harder can squeezing a bagpipe be than squeezing a runner? “The boys are back and they’re looking for trouble” could’ve been the theme song to the resurgent Sox season altogether. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Matt Holliday: “Crank It Up (Big Show)” Jim Johnston featuring Brand New Sin
We’re not listening to a song about a WWE wrestler, sorry.
Jacoby Ellsbury: “[Expletive] in Paris” Jay Z and Kanye West
Kind of an obviously popular choice here with the “ball so hard” motif and the song’s already inescapable nature, but it makes sense from Ellsbury, the charismatic superstar fan favorite. He’s got a little of Jay’s hustle, and plenty of Ye’s shine, so it fits him well.
Jon Jay: “Born and Raised” Pitbull
Jay grew up and played college ball in Miami, so no surprise that he represents with this slow, aggressive track from fellow Dade County icon and anthropomorphic sleeveless linen suit
Shane Victorino: “Three Little Birds” Bob Marley
Easy to say “don’t worry about a thing,” after Victorino hit that grand slam against the Tigers, but before that we were worried. Very worried. The Hawaiian native strolls up to the plate on a warm island breeze with this classic (and the crowd loves it). We won’t know whether to take the message to heart until this thing’s over.
Carlos Beltran: “Welcome to the Jungle” Guns N’ Roses
Beltran’s song choice matches up with his career as well. He’s been around a long time, no one can deny how good he was in his prime, and he’s famous for his hairspray-teased hair and leather pants in the outfield. Demerits for such a cliché choice here, though.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “Boys ‘Round Here” Blake Shelton
No, just . . . no.
Yadier Molina: “Sigan Bailando” Wisin y Yandel
The Puerto Rican native represents his hometown with this jittery instrumental from the reggaeton/hip-hop duo with its tropical percussion and synth stabs that feel like the soundtrack to a tense murder mystery scene. Also a murder scene? The Cards’ defense on Wednesday night.
David Ortiz: “[Expletive]WithMeYouKnowIGotIt” Jay Z featuring Rick Ross
Look, both Jay and Papi are two of the greatest of all time, but let’s just say with this lifeless track, for a DJ, Ortiz makes a pretty good baseball player.
Allen Craig: “Function” E40
“We out here tryna function,” goes the hook on this tense, minimal rap track that sounds like it might be a quote from the recently injured Craig’s body.
Luke O’Neil can be reached at email@example.com.