Comparatively, Arizona isn’t exactly suffering during wintertime (unless you hate heavy sweaters). But a distinct lack of polar vortexes doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate spring’s arrival as intended: with baseball, that all-American opportunity to indulge a shared love of fierce competition, day-drinking, and playing hooky.
But what if you’re a baseball rookie, a plebe who doesn’t know an RBI from an IRA? Then enjoy the festivities via another pillar of the human condition: ranking and criticizing stuff.
Below is the walk-up and warm-up music for many of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who open their home season on Friday, April 5, against the defending world champion Boston Red Sox. The list is painstakingly categorized and graded from best to worst. If you assumed that music isn’t as essential to baseball as the bats themselves, you’re likely better suited for billiards.
“I think guys do put a lot of thought into [their warm-up music]” catcher Carson Kelly says. “Some guys need that change, and some have used the same walk-up forever. Some guys are just superstitious that way. Spring training is walk-up season, so you always picture yourself walking up to the plate, and maybe blare the music in your apartment or house.”
As such, this list is your back way into baseball’s stratified fandom — a chance for the layman to talk shop with diehards and better grasp the complicated love affair with America’s pastime.
Until someone starts talking about WARP or FIP. Then, you’re on your own.
Alex Avila, catcher
White Stripes — “Icky Thump”
Chants are as vital to sporting events as nachos in commemorative helmets, especially when said chant involves drunken, Republican-leaning baseball fans screaming, “You’re an immigrant, too!”
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Archie Bradley, pitcher
Jay-Z — "Public Service Announcement"
Playing Hov in public feels like entering the cheat code for life — or, at the very least, playing as Oddjob in GoldenEye 007's multiplayer with slappers only.
Bradley: “Everyone kinda searches for a walk-up song that fits or has a little meaning. At the time, I got moved from starting out to the bullpen, and for me it was, like, allow me to reintroduce myself. It just kinda fit with me coming out the pen now. Like, I kinda got some new stuff, so allow me to reintroduce myself. It'll be my walk-out song forever.”
Eduardo Escobar, third baseman and shortstop
Ozuna — “Escapate Conmigo” (“Get Away With Me”)
If you’d followed our Pot of Gold coverage, you’ll recognize why no one can speak ill of Ozuna. Still, we’re a little disappointed he didn’t choose “Te Vas.”
Adam Jones, outfielder
Dr. Dre — “Keep Their Heads Ringin’”
Not a traditional sports anthem, surely, but you couldn’t incite an entire stadium better if you played “We Are the Champions” over “Kernkraft 400.”
Greg Holland, pitcher
Snoop Dogg — “Lay Low”
As is the case with all West Coast rap from 1992 to 2008, Nate Dogg’s doing a lot of heavy lifting. He could’ve read an instruction manual for a 1977 Gremlin and it would’ve gone platinum.
T.J. McFarland, pitcher
Red Hot Chili Peppers — “Can’t Stop”
RHCP can be hit or miss, like deep-dish pizza or EDM. Here’s hoping “Chop Top, he says I’m gonna win big” becomes a rallying cry.
Wilmer Flores, infielder
The Rembrandts — “I’ll Be There for You”
Some song choices send the crowd into a stadium-shaking frenzy. This one evokes dreams of Netflix marathons and Jiffy Pop.
Yoshihisa Hirano, pitcher
KREVA — "Chuban-sen" ("Mid-Game")
Sure, there's a language barrier with this banger. But if sports fans are okay with "Rock and Roll Part Two" and Gary Glitter's monster self, you can bust out Google Translate.
Carson Kelly, catcher
The Chainsmokers featuring 5 Seconds of Summer — “Who Do You Love”
A booming anthem tailor-made for springtime celebrations, even if Chainsmokers/5SOS is a more unholy combination than a Dracula/Tucker Carlson figure-skating duo.
Kelly: “I just heard it on the radio, and I liked it. I don’t put a ton of thought in, but it’s something I’m feeling at the time. But I’m constantly listening to the radio for something new, something different. It’s always good to have the same songs over and over, but I kinda like listening to different stuff.”
John Ryan Murphy, catcher
Blackstreet — “No Diggity”
While a stone-cold hit, it’s always been an incongruous selection for sporting events — unless, of course, they’re finally starting a National Zumba League.
Socrates Brito, outfielder
Lapiz Conciente y Nacho — “Caminemos” (“Let’s Walk”)
Not exactly “Jump Around,” but you can’t knock the uplifting message, unless you enjoy a churro dog with a side of bad vibes.
Christian Walker, first baseman
Meek Mill featuring Big Sean and A$AP Ferg — “B Boy”
For Meek haters, a reliable example of his true prowess. For Big Sean detractors, more evidence atop the Rushmore-ian mound.
Walker: “I always try to do Meek. He’s a Philadelphia guy, and I grew up in that area, so I always feel some kind of connection with that. There’s always some pride to do something with him. I’ve walked up to a different part of that song before. I’ve walked out to some of his old mixtape stuff, like Flamers 2 and all that stuff, but this is the only Meek I’ve walked up to in pro ball. I like the trend.”
Jarrod Dyson, outfielder
NBA Youngboy — “Permanent Scar”
A lesson of life’s ebb and flow. For every high mark — “I came in with a cold heart, and I left as a popstar” — there’s something about getting lost in one’s own house.
Ketel Marte, infielder
Secreto — “Yo llegaré” (“I Will Arrive”)
This song could be ranked much higher, except Secreto wears a trenchcoat at the beach in the music video, and that’s an instant loss of 45 points.
Ildemaro Vargas, infielder
Bad Bunny featuring El Alfa — “Botafuego”
The musical equivalent of a guy in the club wearing a fedora with peacock feather.
Yoan Lopez, pitcher
El Alfa featuring Diplo — “TecnoBow”
No clue what a “TecnoBow” is, and there’s no need to ever crack that nut.
Robbie Ray, pitcher
NF — “No Name”
Well, it’s not yet another Eminem song.
Ray: “I really like NF. This was a new song that I liked. I have always been an underdog, so it seemed relevant.”
Steve Souza Jr., right fielder
Lecrae — “Coming In Hot’”
A bass-heavy jam coupled with hackneyed wordplay (example: “They want my soul, better go to Korea”), like eating a fine porterhouse covered in year-old ranch dressing. But we won’t be hearing it this year because Souza is injured and out for the season.
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Nick Ahmed, shortstop
TobyMac — "I Just Need U"
A wager: Ahmed continues his Gold Glove-winning performance, and we make this the team's anthem. Or, D-backs miss the playoffs and everyone comes out to "La Macarena" forever. Place your bets!
Ahmed: “The song displays who I am playing for and why it is I do what I do. I lean on God and he has given me the opportunity and ability. None of this is possible without him.”
Diamondbacks versus Boston Red Sox. 4:10 p.m. on Friday, April 5; 5:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 6; and 1:10 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street. Tickets start at $35 via mlb.com/dbacks/tickets.