Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Nationals 2014 Walk-on music review


At the home opener, when Nate McLouth came to bat we were stopped in our tracks by his walk-up music: “Kyrie” by 80’s band Mister Mister.  My wife and I immediately thought this was a rather odd choice.

It made me wonder: should we critique every one of the Nats’ batter’s walk-up songs?  Of course we should!

Thankfully, the team lists each player’s 2014 walk-up music for us on their official page.  And, here’s some research by fellow blog DistrictSportsPage on this year’s walk-up songs (and 2013’s walk-up songs) for comparison purposes (note; the official website list isn’t accurate according to those actually listening to and Soundhounding the songs).

Here’s some thoughts on each player’s selection (we’re only going on their primary/1st at bat selection).  We’ll list this in the rough batting order and then tack on the bench guys.  And I’ll give my personal, baseless, unscientific “grade” for the song from a crowd-involvement and song-selection standpoint.


  1. Denard Span: “Gotta Have It” by Kanye West/Jay-Z.  Fitting song to start; last year he used a selection of hip-hop songs, but not really a big crowd involver.  Grade: D
  2. Bryce Harper: “Flower” by Moby.  A repeat from last year.   Interesting selection for the young Harper; he doesn’t seem to be the typical Moby fan, but the song is catchy and unique.  He also uses a slew of different songs from many other genres for subsequent at-batss.  Grade: B-
  3. Ryan Zimmerman: “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.  His 2014 actual song differs from the official website; I like this pick.  A familar song, if not a big sing-along song.  Grade: B-
  4. Adam LaRoche: “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean and Eric Church.  Also fitting; LaRoche is a ranch-owning, game-hunting good ole-boy.  And he’s buddies with the singer Aldean.  So he continues to use his songs as he did in 2013.  Grade C+
  5. Jayson Werth: “Warehouse” by Dave Matthews Band.  This is the crowd-favorite where everyone calls out, “Wooh!” after each interlude.  Of course, I can’t figure out where in the song that occurs from the video.  Werth also uses “Werewolves of London” periodically (of course).  Brilliant.  Grade: B+
  6. Ian Desmond: “One Sixteen” by Trip Lee (feat. KB & Andy Mineo).  Does not seem fitting for him, but clearly he likes this genre of hip-hop/rap since his alternates from last year are by and large the same kinds of songs.  Unfortunately for Desmond I’m a middle-aged white guy and can’t stand modern hip-hop.  Grade: D
  7. Anthony Rendon: “No Competition” by Bun B. Feat. Raekwon & Kobe.  Eh.  Don’t like it, don’t get it.  I will say this: I liked his song from last year moreso (“Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg, which you’d recognize if you ever saw the movie Training Day).   Grade: D
  8. Wilson Ramos: Wepa” by Gloria Estefan.  I’m not sure if he’s still using this (its a holdover from 2013) since he got hurt so quickly, but its got a good dance beat and latino flavor.   No offense to Lobaton’s selections, but lets hope we’re hearing more Gloria Estefan sooner than later.  Grade: B.

Bench Guys

  • Nate McClouth: “Kyrie” by Mister Mister.  Man, I’m sorry. I know Michael Morse made retro 80’s songs hip with his selection of “Take On Me” (by the way, being in the stadium when 40,000 people were “singing” gave me goose-bumps that I still get thinking about it to this day), but this song is awful.  You gotta find something else.  How about some Kenny Loggins or the Top Gun theme, if we’re stuck in the 80s?  Grade: F
  • Danny Espinosa: “Outside” by Staind.  Big fan, especially after his 2013 choice as well (from Cage the Elephant).  Grade: B
  • Jose Lobaton: “Mi Chica Ideal” by Chico & Nacho.  Fast, catchy.  Can’t argue with it.  Grade: B
  • Kevin Frandsen: “Snow (Hey Oh)by Red Hot Chili Peppers.   You’ve heard this song, even if you have no idea who RHCP is (hint: they were a serious underground 80s sensation but are now totoally mainstream and played the Superbowl Halftime show this year and actually wore clothes!)   I like it; even if it seems a bit slow-paced.  Grade: B-
  • Tyler Moore: “Drivin’ Around Song by Colt Ford feat. Jason Aldean (at least according to the Nats website; he hasn’t had a home AB yet).  We see Moore’s heritage here; Mississippi born and bread.  Loves his country music.  Grade: C
  • Scott Hairston: “Blue Sky” by Common.  Not my cup of tea; not really a crowd-engager either.  Grade: D
  • Sandy Leon: I have no idea; has anyone seen an at-bat by him yet?  They never got his song from last year either.  Grade: Inc

What would I use as walk-up music?

Not that I’ve ever thought about this in my life or anything.  But i’d definitely go with something from my head-banging days in high school.  I (fortunatley or unfortunately depending on your point of view) grew up in the 80s, so we listened to glam rock, heavy metal and the like.  I’d probably go with one of these three options:

  • “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue (who is on their farewell tour this summer; tickets going fast!)
  • The Final Countdown” by Europe (simply because this is a huge running joke amongst my friends and my wife and I)
  • Something harsh from Metallica.  I’d have to do some digging for a good riff that wasn’t already taken by someone more famous like Mariano Rivera.  🙂


I’m tempted to do this same analysis for the pitchers … and maybe I will.  But for some reason “walk on” music for pitchers isn’t as meaning ful.  Well, except for Tyler Clippard‘s epic “Peaches” walk-up song by the Presidents of the United States a few years back.  Ok, we’ll do a part-2 of this post for the pitchers…. stay tuned.


16 Responses to 'Nationals 2014 Walk-on music review'

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  1. Werth also uses the Game of Thrones theme as his walk-up music in the first inning.


    10 Apr 14 at 11:01 am

  2. I usually don’t chime in on the non-baseball posts, but this one was fun, and something that I had given some thought about even before your post. Which, I know, says more about me than I am happy about!

    So, if I were a player, my rules of the road would be a song that gets me fired up (I would take crowd reaction into account, but it would be secondary), and so it would have to be a high energy song, at least in parts. I also tend to think of this as the intro to the song. My musical interests are fairly wide, but for energy I have tended towards rock, especially bluesy rock. So, acknowledging the same cultural bias as you, I would give failing grades to almost all of their existing choices. I’d give Werth a B-/C+, but I think that is primarily for Werewolves of London. Here are my choices:
    For classic rock:
    All Along the Watchtower (Hendricks version). The first 30 seconds or so cannot be beat. Imagine this as a closer’s song, coming into the 9th with two on, two out? If I changed it for being a Batter, I could see either You Shook Me All Night Long or Sweet Child of Mine.

    I could go other genres, though. For Modern Rock, it might be some of the over heard stuff, like Ho Hey (Lumineers) or Lonely Boy/Gold on the Ceiling (Black Keys). I could throw in a rap song or two, but my knowledge is a little dated: maybe Baby Got Back or Low? (Although it might be a little awkward to be at the plate with the speakers blaring I like big butts, and I cannot lie …

    If I just wanted to get the crowd singing, maybe something like Tubthumping, or I Love Rock and Roll.


    10 Apr 14 at 11:06 am

  3. Didn’t a prior reliever use “Fireworks” by Katy Perry?


    10 Apr 14 at 12:28 pm

  4. I seem to recall that Nick Johnson used a Miley Cyrus tune as walk-up music for a while back in the day. Asked about it, he confessed that he had told his 6yo daughter that she could pick his walk-up music, and that’s what he got. So he gets Dad points for that at least.

    John C.

    10 Apr 14 at 1:10 pm

  5. Really, any one on the guys that started using a Pink Floyd would instantly become my favorite player.


    10 Apr 14 at 4:18 pm

  6. @ckstevenson, yep – Ryan Mattheus used it. Always cracked me up, without fail.


    10 Apr 14 at 7:20 pm

  7. Agrre with you Todd, I think the all time is Morse. Was reading that the Giants fans go crazy for it,too.
    It takes at least 2 drinks to hit that high octave in the end.

    Mark L

    13 Apr 14 at 4:47 pm

  8. My favorite story about “walk-up” music wasn’t from a batter, but from a pitcher.

    When John Smoltz made his way to the bullpen … suddenly he needed “walkup” music. Having been a starter his whole life, and also being totally old-school, he had no need or desire for a walk-up song and when pressed by the Atlanta team “DJ,” he just said, “I don’t care what you play.”

    So, the next day he enters in the 9th and starts walking up to the mound for his save … and hears “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.

    hahahaha. After that, he picked his own song. I believe he went with Ac/DC’s “Thunderstruck” (which was heavily featured in the HS football movie “Varsity Blues”). (story confirmed a couple of places, here).

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 14 at 11:31 am

  9. The beginning of Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower indeed is a great choice. Love that guitar riff.

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 14 at 11:37 am

  10. I wasn’t a huge Tom Gorzelany fan, but loved that he used Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.”


    14 Apr 14 at 2:24 pm

  11. I need to do the same analysis for the pitchers.

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 14 at 2:43 pm

  12. Zach Walters and Let it Go from Frozen win it for me. A+


    20 Apr 14 at 9:37 pm

  13. You have to listen to a LIVE version of DMB Warehouse to hear the WOO’s!

    Bonnie K

    23 May 14 at 11:29 am

  14. Ahh. Well that makes sense. 🙂

    Todd Boss

    23 May 14 at 12:43 pm

  15. McClouth started yesterday and I thought it was great. Best choice for walk on music ever.


    27 May 14 at 2:50 pm

  16. 🙂 80s music is love in the eye of the beholder. To me, Aha is “good,” and Mister Mister is “bad.”

    Todd Boss

    27 May 14 at 3:11 pm

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