Who doesn’t love a Top 10 list? Well, we do! So welcome to Top 10 Tuesday, where every week we will dive into a different Rockies-related topic. These lists will not be scientific. They are 100-percent opinion (a “Mountain Viewpoint” so to speak) and — more importantly — they are 100-percent debatable. We encourage the banter in the comments (keep it respectful), and feel free to offer up some future topic ideas!
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Long gone are the days of pep bands in the stands and organs dominating stadium speakers. To be sure, the organs are still there, especially in older stadiums like Wrigley and Fenway, but fan sing-along songs betting they can make your hands clap or soundtracks for mound meetings in the middle of the infield abound. None are more popular than the famed walk-up song. (Here is an article about the history of the walk-up song’s arrival in MLB.)
Throughout the years, a wide variety of Rockies players have had some great songs. As I was putting together my list of favorites, it made me realize how different each fan’s favorite walk-up song playlist would be. It depends on when you went to lots of games or were just very tuned into TV broadcasts and listening for background music. For example, I lived in California for a few years (2008-15) and that period has a large Rockies musical void for me for lack of in-person attendance and TV viewership (I did MLB radio). Similarly, newer fans don’t know the older jams and everyone has their own music taste. Last week, we asked fans to share their favorites over Twitter and that helped form this final, very debatable, list. That being said, please share your favorite tunes and musical moments in the comments!
10. Ryan Spilborghs – “Sweet Escape” by Gwen Stefani
Right off the bat, I am probably going to plant an earworm in your head and garner quite a few objections with this one. However, I think it deserves to be on the list because of the magic of 2007 and the crowd singing “who-hoo, woo-hoo.” Getting fans to sing along and make some noise is a great attribute of the walk-up song. Spilly changed his song frequently, for a while rocking Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and many more, but this will always make me think of the first Rocktober, the amazing win-streak end, and the World Series run. While playing in Japan, Spilly also wrote a blog for the Denver Post and elaborated on the thinking behind some of his choices of songs and the reactions they got from coaches and teammates.
9. Carlos Estévez – “Wild Thing” by X
This is a no brainer, but the story behind it is even better. Estévez shares his name with Charlie Sheen (whose real name is Carlos Estévez), who played Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the baseball classic Major League. When the Rockies’ Estévez made his MLB debut on April 23, 2016, he had a different entrance song but forgot to give it to the Coors Field crew. So he got “Wild Thing,” he pitched two scoreless, hitless innings with two strikeouts, and it was legendary. Estévez recalled in an interview with Thomas Harding, “Then the first time I came out, they were playing ‘Wild Thing.’ I’m coming out for my debut going, ‘Oh, this is funny.’ I was a little bit nervous, but I heard the song, started laughing, took a deep breath and said, ‘Now, let’s go.’ I was going to change it, and the guys like Boone Logan were like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to stick to it. You’ve got the same name.’” The luck ran out and Estévez eventually changed the song and went with “Así Soy Yo” by Anuel AA and Bad Bunny in 2020.
8. Andrés Galarraga – “The Pink Panther Theme” by Henry Mancini & His Orchestra
Part for its unusual walk-up nature and part for nostalgia, this one had to be on the list. When the Big Cat walked up to the plate, this was a beautiful accompaniment. With its jazzy cool saxophone, it was also a gorgeous ruse. It’s quiet. It’s for a cartoon. Then Galarraga would send a moon shot into the upper deck.
7. Daniel Bard – “Alive” by Pearl Jam
This was so perfect and part of the feel-good comeback story we all needed in 2020. After a nasty case of the yips, seven years without throwing a pitch, and a fairytale come true, it was only appropriate that Eddie Vedder sings, “Oh I, o-oh I’m still alive” while Bard made his way to the mound. It was a great soundtrack to 14 scoreless innings, six saves, a 4-2 record, a 3.65 ERA, pitches hitting 99 mph, and 27 strikeouts over 23 appearances.
6. Trevor Story – “Thief” by Ooway
To be honest, I wasn’t sure about this at first. Not only have I come around, but now I associate Trevor’s home runs with the glorious notes of a saxophone. The best part of this is that when a Rockie hits a homer, their walk-up song gets replayed as they make their way around the bases. That means for Trevor, over his five seasons with the Rockies, he’s made the sax wail 84 times at Coors Field as he trotted home to score after a homer.
5. Vinny Castilla – “El Matador” by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
As one of the Rockies all-time best hitters, one who is third in team history in homers (239) and in the top 10 in numerous offensive categories, this was a great anthem for the Mexican-born slugger to approach the plate. In an emerging theme, this song also features a rocking horns section. Considering Castilla is still with the organization as a special assistant to the general manager, the Rockies should still play this from time to time when Vinny is at the ballpark.
Interesting side note: The Rockies fully embraced “El Matador” as Vinny’s nickname, featuring him in faceoffs with Wilin Rosario, a.k.a, Baby Bull a.k.a El Toro, in commercials in 2013. In the first, El Matador and El Toro have a staredown. In the second installment, El Toro ends up taking down Dinger.
4. Troy Tulowitzki – “I Saw the Sign” by Ace of Base, “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, and “Baby” by Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris.
Tulo was great with his walk-up song selections. With some Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, he said he was trying to get younger fans more into baseball and those songs would definitely get some sing-alongs. But his choices hit a new peak in 2014 when, after being accused by Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow of stealing signs, he immediately switched to “I Saw the Sign.” Tulo was hitting .571 at Coors Field over a six-week period and Krukow felt like the only explanation was cheating. It couldn’t have just been that Tulo was in the zone and a darn good baseball player when healthy. There should be more smack talk with walk-up songs. Is Ace of Base still around? Maybe we could get them to record a remix “I Heard the Sign” with a new trashcan-banging percussion section and all teams could play it when they play the Astros.
3. Dante Bichette – “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel
Do you hear that? Another horns section blaring! It must be another great Rockies tune as well as a classic 80s music video. The lyrics were a perfect fit for the guy who ranks No. 6 on the Rockies all-time homer list at 201 and sixth in slugging percentage (.540). It also played before Bichette hit the walk-off homer to christen Coors Field with a win in the stadium’s debut in 1998.
2. Larry Walker – “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
All aboard! It’s the Larry Train with the eventual destination of the Hall of Fame. As you rock out to the guitar solos, please be sure to notice a 1997 MVP award, four All-Star appearances in purple, three batting titles, five Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, and a highlight-reel career as a five-tool player. Along the route, Walker will become the all-time team leader in batting average (.334), on-base percentage (.426), slugging percentage (.618), on-base plus slugging (1.044), and have a WAR of 48.3 (second to Todd Helton). How could you not get pumped up when this song came on?
1. Charlie Blackmon – “Your Love” by The Outfield
While Walker’s anthem makes a solid case for best of all time, Chuck Natzy takes the crown because of the interactive element of the 80s classic. No matter if the Rockies are getting clobbered or are in a close battle, when Blackmon comes to the plate every fan at Coors Field is singing “Toooooniiiiigggghhttt!” As part of Lowe’s Walk-Up series, Charlie talks about why he likes his walk-up songs a little bit older. Blackmon’s bobblehead in 2019 also features The Outfield’s hit. Blackmon has used the song since his college days at Georgia Tech and considering he’s got four All-Star nods, one NL batting title, and the sixth-best batting average for active players at .304, it seems like it’s working. Every time it comes on, I am so glad that Josie took that vacation far away.
Jason Giambi – “Wolfpac” from NOW by Jimmy Hart, Howard Helm, and C-Murder
Giambi brought this one with him from Oakland and the howl at the beginning made it a hit with fans looking for homers and clutch hits from the slugger. The song entered the baseball world from the wrestling one, specifically the New World Order, because Giambi said that bat boys originally picked walk-up tunes for A’s players
Joe Beimel – “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash
In 2007, the Colorado reliever picked this tune, which came out in 2006 three years after Cash’s death, and brought it with him to Colorado and took it with him after he left. During that time, the song became very popular in MLB stadiums despite its slow melody because the haunting words are great for upcoming batters.
Scott Oberg – “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin
There’s just something about classic rock and relievers, especially closers looking to save the game.
Kaz Matsui – “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC
This is great for two reasons: 2007 and this song just always brings good energy.
Josh Fogg – “Slow Ride” by Foghat
This song is fitting for the unsuspecting “Dragon Slayer.” A key member of the 2007 Rocktober run, Fogg wasn’t a flashy ace — he just beat all the aces. He won five out of six regular-season starts in September and October and outpitched Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick in the second game of the NLDS and Arizona’s Livián Hernández in the sixth game of the NLCS. With a fastball that maxed out at 93.8 mph, it was indeed a slow ride, in terms of the tortious and the hare fable.
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Here’s a Spotify mix of the top 10 and the honorable mentions (as well as some stadium classics). It kind of helps considering none of us have been able to go to Coors Field in a while.
What songs did I miss? What would you take out of this list? What memorable moments of entrance music stick out most to you? Please share in the comments and I’ll check back to add more to the Spotify mix!