Finding traces of normalcy in the midst of a baseball season being played during a health pandemic has to be challenging.
Almost every habit has been disrupted — sound familiar? — and even things like home run celebrations require conscious thought instead of just instincts.
But entrance music — whether during an at bat for a hitter or just before taking the mound for a pitcher — is one of those small slices of routine that can be salvaged. And Twins players have done so, with the full list of known entrance music released Tuesday by team PR specialist Dustin Morse.
Sure, there’s this thought: If entrance music is played in a ballpark without fans, does it really make a sound?
But as much as the songs are part of the fan experience — and fan routine: can you even think about a Joe Mauer at bat without thinking of the first 10-15 seconds of “What You Know” by T.I.? — they are even more about getting players in the right frame of mind to compete.
As such, here is a very subjective compilation of 10 very good songs chosen by Twins players for their entrance music this season. Let’s do this in reverse chronological order to build suspense!
10. Sergio Romo. “El Mechon” by Banda Sinaloense. I didn’t know anything about this song before I looked it up. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d throw it into a playlist. But it sounds exactly like Romo pitches. In Romo we trust.
9. Randy Dobnak. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. Some songs pump you up. This one, I imagine, probably calms people down. But maybe that’s what Dobnak needs before he takes the mound against big league hitters. If this was a list of karaoke-able songs, by the way, Dobnak’s choice would be in the top three.
8. Luis Arraez. “Temblor” by Causa, Farruko and El Alfa. If Arraez hits .400 this season, which he probably will (*probably will not), it could be argued that the vibe from this song should at least get a co-starring role in all the accolades he receives. The hook is mesmerizing. I could watch the video all day, though probably not in the office. What a time to be working from home.
7. Zack Littell. “Can’t stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Where do Red Hot Chili Peppers fall on the hipster credibility spectrum? Is it cool to like them? Guess what: I don’t care. They continue to slap hard, and Can’t Stop is, as the kids say, a banger. This would get me fired up to throw some low 70s heat. Littell can throw even harder, and this song surely helps.
6. Mitch Garver. “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Great song. Incredibly positive. I’m not quite sure what’s keeping it out of the top five. Maybe it’s a better postgame celebration song than at-bat music? But guess what: I didn’t hit 31 homers in 311 at bats last season. Garver did.
5. Tyler Clippard. “Ready or Not” by The Fugees. First off, fantastic song. Extra bonus that the lyrics are on point for intimidation. “Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide” is exactly the mentality that a relief pitcher should bring into a tight ballgame. Clippard is clearly a strong addition to the ‘pen in multiple ways.
4. Alex Avila. “Icky Thump” by White Stripes. If the guitar and drum around the 45 second mark don’t make you want to run through a brick wall, I don’t know what will make you run through a brick wall. Maybe nothing? As a closer’s entrance song, this might be No. 1. As at-bat music, it loses a little because maybe it’s … too unsettling? Can you even grip the bat while playing air drums? We’ll find out as the season goes along, I guess.
3. Taylor Rogers. “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. The album “Rumors” came out in 1977, a few months after I was born (more on how I’m old later). It came out about 13 years before Rogers was born, so this choice — a classic song, of course, obviously — reflects an impressive musical sensibility from Rogers. Also, it has a nice slow build, perfect for a handful of warmup tosses.
2. Byron Buxton. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison. One of the catchiest songs ever created, and it came out in the mid-90s just a couple years after Buxton was born. I can’t think of a single reason to dislike this song, just as I can’t think of a single reason to dislike Buxton as a ballplayer.
1. Rich Hill. “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam. The veteran Twins lefty, signed in the offseason, is 40. I’m three years older, which is a sobering reminder that even the oldest athletes now tend to be younger than me. But in this case it means that Hill and I appear to be on virtually the same musical wavelength, having experienced the grunge revolution in our early-to-mid-teens. In the battle of Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam, I’m a Nirvana guy. But Even Flow is probably the best Pearl Jam song ever. And it earns the top spot in these rankings.