Entrance Songs Seek Closers

Everyone should have a leitmotif. Like healthcare, food, clothes, and shelter, this should be considered a basic human right. Unfortunately, though, the vast majority of us are not lucky enough to have our presence announced musically (lest we take the task upon ourselves and risk looking mentally unstable by humming the same tune every time we enter a room).

A list of people who are among the privileged few to have leitmotifs:

1. Characters in films, television shows, and plays.

2. Professional athletes.*

*It should be noted that I consider professional wrestlers both of these things.

Indeed, there is perhaps no athlete to whom the leitmotif is more important than the closer in baseball. It has been scientifically proven that the last three outs of a baseball game are the hardest ones to get and it has also been scientifically proven that having a bitchin’ theme song is more valuable to a pitcher than any 100 MPH fastball when attempting to record these outs.*

*It should be noted that science has proven neither of these things.

Eric Freeman of the AV Club recent wrote a nice piece entitled “Prelude to a save: A closer’s guide to choosing the right entrance song,” which I missed when it was originally posted the week before last but was alerted to yesterday by this short post from the fantastic Grant Brisbee. Freeman provides the following rubric to assist closers in choosing the perfect entrance song:

-Pump up the crowd.

-Establish a brand.

-Leave the metal womb.

-Sound isn’t the whole story.

-Don’t pander.

-Know your source.

Naturally, this article got me thinking about heretofore unused songs that would make good leitmotifs. Below I have listed five such songs along with skillfully embedded youtube clips and the current closer for whom I believe the song represents the best fit.

1. “Ante Up,” MOP

I am simply unable to listen to this song and not get pumped up. One minor concern is that playing Ante Up over the stadium public address system could lead to thousands of neck injuries resulting from excessive head nodding.

Closer of best fit: Heath Bell

2. “Ride of the Valkyries,” Wagner

The menacing horns laid over the swarming strings in “Ride of the Valkyries,” would strike fear into the heart of even the most courageous hitter. It certainly helps that this piece will forever be associated with the iconic helicopter raid scene in Apocalypse Now. “I love the smell of splitters in the ninth…Smells like victory.”

Closer of best fit: Jose Valverde

3. “People Get Ready,” The Impressions

This one breaks Freeman’s first rule, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it:

People get ready, there’s a train a comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord

The song is all about salvation — which happens also to be the closer’s job. It might not pump the crowd up, but this smooth classic should give them peace of mind.

Closer of best fit: Ryan Madson

4.”‘Round Midnight,” The Miles Davis Quintet

In my humble opinion, this is one of the greatest jazz recordings ever released, by one of the best jazz bands ever assembled. Davis takes Thelonious Monk’s standard and puts his always cool, calm, and collected touch on it. Again, this one eschews Freeman’s first rule, but trades the pump up factor for straight-up coolness.

Closer of best fit: John Axford

5. “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta,” Geto Boys

From the mellowed out beat, to the lyrics, to the Geto Boys’ laid back delivery, this track is simply the musical embodiment of self-confidence. “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta” is the perfect choice for a dominant closer who knows he’s dominant and wants to say to the crowd “Chill, I got this. And by the way, I just have to tell you: it’s awesome being me.”

Closer of best fit: Mariano Rivera

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Eric writes about the Phillies at The Good Phight. Follow him on Twitter.

15 Responses to “Entrance Songs Seek Closers”

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  1. LetItBeLowenstein says:

    The obvious winner and champeen is “Why Do I Keep F***in’ Up?” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse for Kevin Gregg.

    Would’ve loved to have seen Rod Beck sprint in from the pen to the Stooges’ “TV Eye.”

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  2. Bam Bam Bigelow says:

    I think “I’m Too Sexy” would fit Brian Wilson pretty well.

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  3. filihok says:

    I always thought Beethoven’s 5th symphony would be pretty good.

    Doesn’t matter who used it, they’d quickly rack up 500 saves

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  4. The Rajah says:

    I’m not a Yankees fan, but you have to respect Mo Rivera’s talent. He’s more of an Imperial March (Star Wars) kind of guy if you ask me. Darth Rivera walks in and it’s his show!

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  5. gnomez says:

    Danny Herrera should enter to Yoda’s Theme.

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  6. Stephanie says:

    I’d never heard “Ante Up” before, but it’s a MILLION times better than the generic rock song Bell currently uses. I’d much rather he wheel on in to that one – particularly if they put Bert & Ernie on the jumbotron while doing it! Particularly after enjoying Hells Bells/Hoffman, his entrance leaves much to be desired. Good thing he’s got a great personality….

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  7. PG says:

    I enjoy the Geto Boys suggestion. Although, I think “Still” would also be a pretty solid tune.

    Me and my buddies have talked about this in detail….what would our “walk in” music be?

    I have, and always will, opt for “My Pony” by Ginuwine.

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  8. Kyle says:

    I would like someone to re-record “Save me San Francisco” inserting “Frank” for “San”.

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  9. Jeffrey Paternostro says:

    I feel like if you are going to go classical, “Mars, Bringer of War” is too often overlooked.

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  10. ElJosharino says:

    “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men clearly belongs somewhere here. Ideally for the more sensual closer who wants to gently caress his opponents into the Loss column while gently kissing them on the forehead.

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  11. Kyle says:

    seriously why has no one ever come in for the ninth playing wagner. it would be sooo cool

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  12. This is wonderful.

    However, I vote replacing Wagner with Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bare Mountain”.

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