Why “Game Of Thrones” Is One Of The Best, Weirdest Obsessions In Sports Right Now

How this theme song—and other offbeat tunes—have come to define one particular moment of sports

Imagine if someone played your favorite music whenever you entered a room. For example, say you get home from work and your roommate is watching out the window for you to put your key in the door so he can play, say, the opening theme song to a certain hit HBO show as as you enter.

Well all you need to do is become a professional baseball player and you can have that every time you step to the plate.

The backstory on the baseball walk-up song is brief: an organist for the Chicago White Sox named Nancy Faust thought to play each player’s state song as they entered the batting box. This morphed into Faust playing other recognizable songs for players and eventually the whole thing evolved into the players picking their own songs—and cutting out the organist all together.

Today, every MLB player has a walk-up song (or multiple songs in many cases), and in fact, it’s become such a defining part of their identity, you can find every one’s current walk up song on the official MLB website.

The MLB has even taken to using some of these TV and movie-inspired references on their own, such as the playful co-opting of Game of Thrones into their branding. That whole connection likely started because of the use of that rousing, powerful theme song—but more on that in a minute.

But it’s not just GOT. There are many games and trips to the plate—and so many pop culture references to choose from— here are some of the weirdest walk-up songs players are hooked on. So many that we’ve ranked them.

10. Michael Myers – “Halloween Theme Song”

No, not that Michael Myers. The relief pitcher Michael Myers. And even though this theme song is completely clever and appropriate for someone named Michael Myers, it is a bit unnerving and a bit of an odd thing to try to get pumped up with. Luckily however, Mr. Myers was a relief pitcher so he probably didn’t hear it too often.

9. Josh Reddick – “Careless Whisper”

This is just amazing. And while it doesn’t exactly get you in the mood to smack a ball with a wooden bat, it’s obviously a crowd and team favorite, and it does some work in getting Reddick loose at the plate. Watch the whole thing, seriously.

8. Ichiro – “Super Mario Bros. Theme”

Ichiro has had an insanely long and successful career (he’s played in the MLB since 2001), so it makes sense that he’s switched the walk-up music around on his travels from Seattle to New York and back to Seattle—then back to New York and then to Miami. Everyone loves the Super Mario Bros. but the theme music isn’t exactly the most adrenaline-pumping in the world.

7. Prince Fielder– “Requiem: Rex Tremendae”

Mozart seems like an odd choice for walk-up music but I do have to admit that it’s one of the more hype-inducing classical songs I’ve heard. And while “Rex” means “King” in translation, the royal theme of the song and Prince’s name works well together.

6. Brad Hawpe – “Rockstar”

This isn’t a weird choice, because it’s Nickelback and I’m some Nickelback hater. That’s way too much of an easy target. This is a weird choice because surely Brad was knowledgeable of how much crap he would get by choosing a Nickelback song and yet he chose one anyway. Brave boy.

5. Chris Iannetta – “I Can’t Dance”

This one doesn’t make any sense, Chris. I have to assume you’re trying to be ironic, but baseball doesn’t have anything to do with dancing, even in a metaphorical way.

4. Noah Syndergaard – “Game of Thrones Theme”

I see what he’s trying to do. Noah looks like a character from Game of Thrones, and everyone likes Game of Thrones, so why not combine the two? I can appreciate the effort, but in practice, the walk-up song just seems a bit … off.

3. Ryosuke Kikuchi – “Legend of Zelda Theme”

For No. 3, we head over to the World Baseball Classic for a little Japanese influence. Like Ichiro, it can be assumed the Ryosuke played a lot of Nintendo as a child, and while it’s a great song, it sure does make for an odd entrance. Though it sounds epic when Link tries to save Zelda, it sound much less impressive in the stadium.

2. Trevor Cahill – “White Rabbit”

If you listen to this song, you’ll understand why it’s a weird choice. It would make a lot more sense as a walk-up song for the LSD Olympics.

1. Tony Cruz – “Wolf of Wall Street” chest beat hum

I don’t think this pick is going to get any argument for the weirdest walk-up song of all time. The only argument is whether it’s a song at all. Apparently, in 2014, Tony Cruz of the St. Louis Cardinals took a liking to The Wolf of Wall Street and fed off the energy of Matthew McConaughey humming and beating his chest at a restaurant. You’re a weird one Tony, and we salute you.

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

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