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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.

Sports
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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