It used to be that fans paid the closest attention to what shoes a baseball player wore, or his particular brand of glove or bat. Sorry, Nike—nowadays Major League players may get the most attention for what song they choose as their walk-up music.
And in the field, closer Trevor Hoffman became as famous for entering the fray to AC-DC’s “Hell’s Bells” as he did for being the all-time saves leader. There’s no doubt that he’ll hear that song when he’s inducted at Cooperstown.
Speaking of Cooperstown, it got me wondering, “What walk-up music would Babe Ruth choose if he played today?”
Off the top, let’s give propers to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” (featuring Alicia Keys) and Frank Sinatra’s “Theme From New York, New York” (not featuring Alicia Keys), but that’s too easy. Besides, they’re both already in heavy rotation on The Cathedral’s sound system. Springsteen’s “Glory Days” and “Born To Run” are a natch for The Sultan of Swat, but again, too easy.
As I was pondering genres and surfing Snoop, Eminem, Toby Keith, Far East Movement’s “Like A G6,” and Kirk Franklin’s “Revolution” on my i-Pod, it occurred to me that Sporting News ranked Ruth number one on its list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players.”
This isn’t a discussion of whether Mo Rivera could get Babe to rock out to Metallica, it’s more in the spirit of Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me.”
THE BAMBINO WOULD CHANGE THE ENTIRE LANDSCAPE OF WALK-UP MUSIC.
Record companies would pay him to use their songs (Note to A-Rod, Pujols, Jeter and The Freak: you guys all owe me an expensive car when this starts happening for you—every company repping an artist with a song that uses the word “freak” should already have Timmy’s agent on speed dial).
Big Boy would be goofing with Seacrest, and an excited announcer with a smile in his voice would chime in, “DJ Street Cred’s new album drops on Tuesday, but you can hear Babe Ruth walk up to it tonight!” Travie McCoy wants to be a “Billionaire” so freakin’ bad, but George Herman could do it—just with music tie-ins.
The charismatic, Roarin’ Twenties juggernaut would be workin’ his music mojo non-stop.
Picture it. Dude limos into the park to the strains of the “Official Ruth Arrival Song.” There’d be a different diddy licensed for every park, even Spring Training games.
“American Idol” winners would croon Babe’s “Official Coming Out of the Tunnel Tune.” The kids from “Glee” would get the “Official Batting Practice Spirit Song,” and all of the A-List artists would jockey for the “Official Home Run Trot Anthem.”
There’d be a shiny sticker of Babe’s smile on the artwork for all of his official songs. It would be the first thing we’d look for when downloading music or buying MB-3s (re-named for Ruth and his number).
Singers brag about “being fly” and “walkin’ pimp,” but Babe invented that shizzle.
Every play, every inning, every day would take on an official Babe Ruth song. Rihanna would be featured on dozens of them. The smart marketers would cross-promote the songs from Babe’s buddy movie with The Rock and feature snippets from Babe’s comedy album with Charles Barkley.
Theme music from Babe’s romp with the rapscallions on “Jersey Shore” and Babe’s best-selling video game “Call of Duty: Babe’s Beast Ops” would replace organ music and permeate the parks.
I love me some Ruth, but I would absolutely draw the line at special Kidz Bop compilations of songs used by Babe Ruth.
Jay-Z would write an epic rap song with The Babe laughing and speaking before each chorus. Both of them can make a Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can, but let’s be honest, Babe invented Yankee Nation.
Yes, will.i.am can channel P.T. Barnum, but Ol’ Grip It And Rip It was making more money than President Hoover before we fully understood what that meant about our society.
The next time you hear Troop 41’s “Do The John Wall,” imagine the music the modern era missed without The Man, The Myth, The Legend—The Bambino.
Footnote: Think all of this is preposterous?
I’m still convinced that President George Herbert Walker Bush’s name is a thinly-veiled tribute to Babe. Bush was born in ’24, he played baseball, there are pictures of him with The Babe—his son W even once held an ownership stake in the Texas Rangers.
R. Scott Murphy is an award-winning writer, sports producer and marketing executive. You can enjoy more of Murphy’s madcap baseball stories in his latest book, “Ducks on the Pond.” Follow Murphy @MentalKickball on Twitter for daily Home Run Alphabet entries.