Imagine you're a professional baseball player. There's 30,000 people watching, you're in a close game and you have to come in and either provide a clutch hit or get a few outs on the mound to get the win.
When you step on the field, the song that you choose to define yourself blares through the speakers in hopes of getting the crowd fired up. A good walk-up song has to pump energy into the stadium while getting you in the right mindset to bring home the victory.
There have been some great walk-up songs through the years, but the ones I have listed below are what I believe to be the best of the best.
Honorable Mention: Gerardo Parra - "Baby Shark"
As much as I dislike both the Nationals and this song, it has to be included. While most walk-up songs tend to be more rock-oriented and energetic, you can't deny the effect that "Baby Shark" had on Nationals Park any time Parra stepped up to the plate during the 2019 season. I witnessed it once, and it was like a cult had taken over the ballpark. As soon as that song comes out of the speakers, every fan in attendance starts doing the motions to go along with it. It's weird, but it accomplishes what a walk-up song is supposed to do.
5. Craig Kimbrel - "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent
The rest of this list is very biased towards relief pitchers, but they just happen to choose the best entrance music. Plus, when you have a pitcher running in to the game all the way from the bullpen while "Stranglehold" plays throughout the stadium, it gets you a little more pumped up than when a batter just strolls up to the plate from the dugout while 20 seconds of their song plays.
Kimbrel used to use "Welcome to the Jungle" as his music, but his new song is just as good, if not a better choice. The opening guitar riff gets the whole place pumped up and ready to see the best closer of his generation earn the save.
4. Mark Melancon - "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC
Melancon is far from the only player to ever use "Thunderstruck" as his entrance music, but he is the most notable current player to use the song. Noah Syndergaard used to have this song as his music, but has since changed.
"Thunderstruck" is a classic song for sporting events and you can never go wrong choosing it as your entrance music. The only downside is that it's not a unique choice. But if your goal is to get the blood pumping, it's a good choice.
3. Chipper Jones - "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne
In my completely unbiased opinion, Braves legend Chipper Jones deserves the No. 3 spot on this list. If you were a pitcher in the late 90s through the 2000s and you heard "Crazy Train" come over the loud speakers at Turner Field, you knew you were in trouble.
Jones is one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game and he had one of the greatest walk-up songs ever. Just like "Stranglehold" and "Thunerstruck," it's the opening riff that gets the crowd pumped up to see their hero head up to the plate.
2. Trevor Hoffman - "Hells Bells" by AC/DC
I'm all for songs that start out fast and bring the energy right away, but there's something to be said for songs that have a slow build. That's exactly what Trevor Hoffman had in "Hells Bells."
The former all-time saves leader and the first closer to 500 saves, Hoffman was a feared pitcher back in his day. There's nothing like hearing those ominous bells ring throughout Petco Park and lead into the opening guitar from AC/DC as Hoffman jogs out to take his place on the mound.
1. Mariano Rivera - "Enter Sandman" by Metallica
The only entrance music that could top Hoffman's was used by none other than the man who broke his record for all-time saves. Rivera is considered by most to be the greatest closer of all-time, and as such, he had the greatest entrance music of all-time.
The 1991 song by Metallica is used widely at sporting events, but most notably by Rivera and the Virginia Tech football team. If you don't get automatic chills or a rush of adrenaline when you hear this song start to play, you might not be human.
Sometimes you need a drink and you don't feel like putting a whole lot of effort into making it. That's when a cocktail with just two ingredients will really come in handy.
While going through our liquor cabinet and seeing which bottles a nearly empty, I found some Captain Morgan and some Butterscotch Schnapps. I'm not a big fan of rum and I'm not even sure what schnapps are, so I would never drink either of these on their own. Mix them together, thought, and it makes a fine drink.
Contrary to the name of this cocktail, there is no maple syrup involved. But you won't be able to tell after you down this shot. With the flavor that this drink has, you could have one with pancakes for breakfast or for dessert at the end of the night, no judgment here.
Maple Syrup Shot
0.5 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
0.5 oz. butterscotch schnapps
1. In a shot glass, add Captain Morgan and butterscotch Schnapps
We all miss baseball. And while MLB's #OpeningDayAtHome on Thursday was a good way to get some baseball in since we missed out on actual Opening Day, we're still in limbo not knowing when we'll see live baseball again.
To help out with that, MLB is showing even more classic games this week, with #MLBAtHome on its social media channels.
Each night the league will broadcast a notable game on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, giving baseball fans something to watch and hold them over for the next week. What happens after Sunday, I don't know.
The games on the schedule look like they'll be pretty good. The whole thing kicks off tonight with a replay of the 2019 Home Run Derby featuring Pete Alonso and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the finals. Last year's derby was one of the best that I can remember, so they're setting the bar high starting off with that event.
Other games we'll get to see this week include Roy Halladay's no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS, Derek Jeter's final career game and David Bote's walk-off grand slam against the Nationals in 2018 (this one is especially worth watching since it features Nationals heartbreak).
Unfortunately, no Braves games are lined up for broadcast this week, and they are showing the Nationals' win in the 2019 Wild Card game that kicked off their World Series run.
However, this isn't your only way to watch baseball. Every game from the 2018 and 2019 seasons is available on MLB.TV for free right now. So find some games you wanna watch, whether you re-live a whole season of your favorite team or just watch the highlights, because it looks like we'll be at home for a while.
In the strange, uncertain times that we live in, it's easy to get caught up in all the negativity that is going on. Take a look at the news or social media, and you'll find plenty of pessimistic people talking about worst-case scenarios.
For today's Quarantine Cocktail, I want to get away from all of that a little bit and offer you some optimism. This is a somewhat original drink that I came up with thanks to some inspiration from my girlfriend. We were making Tequila Sunrises recently, and she said we should call them "Tomorrow's a New Day."
With that name in mind, I wanted to make this drink unique instead of just renaming a drink that already exists. Looking around the liquor cabinet, I found a bottle of pineapple rum that I thought would go great in this drink. It adds a little more sweetness and fruity flavor, while not becoming overwhelming. Perfect for feeling hopeful in times like these.
Tomorrow's a New Day
1.5 oz. tequila
1.5 oz. pineapple rum
3/4 cup orange juice
0.5 oz. grenadine
1. Add tequila, pineapple rum and orange juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-mixed.
2. Strain mixture into a glass filled with ice.
3. Drizzle grenadine into the drink.
It's another day in quarantine, which means another cocktail to help you get through it. Today's featured drink is the Whiskey Sour, a drink that packs a lot of citrus flavor and a little sweetness.
You can make a Whiskey Sour really easily by going to your local grocery or liquor store and picking up a bottle of already-made sours mix. But that's not as fun or fresh as making it from scratch.
Mixing the whole drink together yourself isn't difficult by any means. You just need a few more ingredients. For this drink, we'll again use the Ragged Branch rye whiskey, but any rye that you have in your liquor cabinet will work.
2.5 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. lemon juice
1/3 oz. simple syrup
1 maraschino cherry (garnish)
1 orange slice (garnish)
1. Add rye, lemon juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake
2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass (can be served over ice or straight up)
3. Add orange slice and cherry for garnish
We continue our Quarantine Cocktail series with another classic: the Manhattan. This was my grandparents' cocktail of choice, which led to my parents drinking it, which led to me enjoying it.
The Manhattan is another very simple drink that doesn't take very long to make and has few ingredients. It's a spirit-forward cocktail, so if you like something a little more diluted, this isn't the drink for you.
While the Old Fashioned can be made using either bourbon or rye whiskey, the Manhattan is almost exclusively made with rye. Rye has a bit more spice and is a little drier than bourbon, and you can really taste the difference in this drink.
I used a rye whiskey from Ragged Branch, a distillery near Charlottesville, Va. It's always made a good drink and has become one of my favorite whiskies to use for a Manhattan. Some other good ones out there are James E. Pepper 1776 Rye, Bulleit Rye and Knob Creek Straight Rye Whiskey.
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters (I've also used orange bitters for this drink, which gives it a subtle citrus flavor)
1. Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer. About 30 minutes is enough time to get it cold enough
2. Mix rye, vermouth and bitters together in a cocktail shaker or glass with ice. Stir
3. Strain mixture into chilled cocktail glass
It's finally here. After months of waiting and another long offseason, Opening Day has arrived.
That's what we would be saying if the COVID-19 outbreak hadn't forced the cancellation or delay of practically every sporting event, including Major League Baseball Opening Day.
Every year this is a day to look forward to. It's a day of new beginnings, hope and happiness. Every team starts out even with a chance to make this year their time to shine.
This year we'll have to wait a while longer to get to the real Opening Day, but in the spirit of would-be Opening Day, let's take a look at some of the best season-opening Braves games in recent history.
2009: Jordan Schafer hits a home run in first career at bat
Jordan Schafer's career got off to a promising start in 2009 when he took Brett Myers deep in the top of the second inning in his first career at bat. The Braves' starting centerfielder hadn't played at a level higher than Double-A before making his Opening Day start, so he was out to prove himself early on.
Schafer ended the game 2-for-3 with a walk. He led the team in total bases in the game with five, as the Braves went on to win 4-1 over the Phillies. With Philadelphia coming off a World Series championship the year before, this was quite the win on the first day of the season.
Unfortunately for Schafer, that momentum didn't last long. He finished the year batting .204 with just two home runs and eight RBIs.
2010: Jason Heyward hits a home run in first career at bat
There's a bit of a theme with these first two games. 20-year-old Jason Heyward was the top prospect in all of baseball when he made his debut with the Braves in 2010. He didn't waste any time showing why.
Heyward stepped up to the plate against Carlos Zambrano in the bottom of the first inning with the score already 3-3. After taking two pitches out of the zone, Heyward made contact on the 2-0 pitched and launched it into right field, driving in three runs in the process.
The Braves went on to win the game 16-5 over the Cubs and unlike Schafer, Heyward kept it up all season long. He finished the year batting .277 with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs. He made the NL All-Star team in his rookie year, but was ultimately robbed of Rookie of the Year honors by Giants catcher Buster Posey.
Freeman goes 3-for-4 in win over Phillies
Anytime you beat the Phillies is a good time. Getting a win over them on Opening Day to start the season is even better.
The Braves were coming off a Wild Card berth the previous year while the Phillies had missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. There was a lot to like about this Braves team, including the addition of the Upton brothers in the outfield.
But the start of this Opening Day game was Freddie Freeman. The Braves' first baseman went 3-for-4 on the day with a home run and three RBIs. The Braves would go on to win their first division title since 2005, finishing the year 96-66.
Markakis walk-off homer
Like I said, wins against the Phillies are always fun. Even more so when they're historic.
The Braves were trending upwards in 2018. They had put together the core pieces they needed to contend, but no one really expected them to quite yet.
The first game of the season might have changed some opinions. Trailing 5-0 against Philadelphia in the bottom of the sixth inning, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer to give the offense some life.
That was followed by three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including a solo home run by Ozzie Albies.
The Braves were able to stop the Phillies from plating anymore runs, and the game went into the bottom of the ninth tied 5-5. With two men on and no outs, Nick Markakis launched a 1-1 pitch to centerfield, sealing the deal on the Braves' largest Opening Day comeback in team history.
Markakis went on to become an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2018, batting .297 with 93 RBIs. The Braves won the NL East for the first time since 2013, turning things around after a long five-year rebuild.
No one knows when or how this year's Opening Day will take place given the current situation. But one thing you can be sure of, is the Braves will provide plenty of entertainment. Whether it's a rookie hitting a home run in his first at bat, or a veteran coming up with a clutch walk-off, Opening Day games are always among the most exciting.
While we all wish we were watching live baseball today, the circumstances of the world just don't allow that. But MLB has stepped in to make sure we're not completely stranded without our national pastime.
The league announced yesterday that it would be hosting Opening Day at Home. The all-day event features 30 MLB games broadcasted across a number of platforms, including ESPN2, FS1 and MLB Network.
The games on tap include previous Opening Day games, all-time great postseason games and classic regular season games. With so many contests to choose from and multiple platforms on which to watch, we're here to help you make the most of your day.
8:30 a.m. ET - Brewers 2018 NLDS Game 1; MLB Youtube
Wake up and start your day with the first game of the 2018 NLDS between the Brewers and Rockies. Christian Yelich just finished up his MVP season and led the Brewers into the playoffs for the first time since 2011. They faced the Rockies, who were led by another stellar year from Nolan Arenado.
The series, ultimately won by the Brewers, started off with an exciting 10-inning walk-off performance, with the final hit coming from Mike Moustakas to seal the 3-2 victory.
11 a.m. ET - Cardinals 2011 World Series Game 6; MLB Facebook
Another exciting walk-off postseason contest, this one features Cardinals legend David Freese. Trailing 7-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, St. Louis tied it up to send the game to extra innings.
Each team plated two runs in the 10th inning, forcing an 11th. Leading off in the bottom of the inning, Freese worked his way to a 3-2 count before launching the next pitch over the centerfield way, sending the World Series to Game 7, where the Cardinals would win their 11th championship title.
12 p.m. ET - Mike Trout's 5-for-5 game in 2018; MLB Youtube
Here's where you'll have to start multitasking. You might have to have two tabs open at the same time, or if you're able to cast one of your tabs to your TV, do that. Whatever you've gotta do to watch two games at once.
And who would want to pass up a chance to watch Mike Trout's greatest performance of his career. The three-time MVP went 5-for-5 (for the second time that season) with two home runs and five RBIs at home in Angel Stadium against the White Sox.
3:05 p.m. ET - Braves 2018 NLDS Game 3; Las Mayores Twitter
This one is the only Braves game on the schedule for tomorrow, so you can be I'll be watching it. In a series that the Braves ultimately lost 3-1 to the Dodgers, this game was the highlight of the week.
Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuña, Jr. hit a grand slam in the second inning, becoming the youngest player in postseason history to hit a grand slam. The Braves were up early, but the Dodgers came back to tie it. Freddie Freeman played hero when he homered in the sixth inning to give the Braves the only other run they would need as they won the game 6-5.
6 p.m. ET - Red Sox 2004 ALCS Game 4; MLB Facebook
Six o'clock rolls around and the Braves game is wrapping up. There's still an hour before the World Series Game 7s come on FS1. What will you do to pass the time until then?
Head over to MLB Facebook and watch Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS of course. Down 3-0 and facing elimination against their rival New York Yankees, the Red Sox won a 12-inning battle to keep the series alive. They eventually won the series 4-3 and went on to win their first World Series in 86 years, breaking the long-held Curse of the Bambino.
Side note: the ESPN 30 for 30 Four Days in October is a great watch about this series.
7 p.m. ET - 2016 World Series Game 7; FS1
What's not to love about this game? Each team looking to end a long championship drought. The rain delay in the ninth inning. A Game 7 going into extra innings. The Cubs finally winning a championship after 108 dreadful years.
This game will always be considered one of the best in World Series history, and rightfully so. Make sure you're tuning in during primetime tonight.
9 p.m. ET - Clayton Kershaw 2014 No-hitter; MLB Twitter
Because who doesn't want to watch the greatest pitcher of our generation throw a no-hitter?
10 p.m. ET - 2001 World Series Game 7; FS1
Before Curt Schilling became a postseason hero with the Red Sox, he won a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001. But it's Randy Johnson who got the start in this game. Facing Yankees' ace Roger Clemens, Johnson took the mound looking to give Arizona its first championship.
With a final score of just 3-2, a late-game comeback is what makes this game so memorable. Make sure to end your night with this all-time matchup.
This is, I believe, the best way to spend tomorrow and get the most out of the games being broadcast. But no matter how you choose to watch, it's sure to be a day well spent.
Other games throughout the day worth watching, if you can fit them in:
- 9 a.m. ET - Indians 22nd straight win in 2017; Las Mayores Facebook
- 3:30 p.m. ET - Felix Hernandez perfect game in 2012; Las Mayores Facebook
- 4 p.m. ET - Mark Buehrle perfect game in 2009; Cut4 Twitter
- 6 p.m. ET - A's 20th straight win in 2002; Cut4 Twitter
-6 p.m. ET - Classic Home Run Derby match ups; ESPN2
While the country is shut down and we're all holed up in our homes for the foreseeable future, we'll need something to help us get through these unprecedented times.
With that in mind, I'll be bringing you my Quarantine Cocktail series. I'm starting out with some of the classics, but the longer this whole thing lasts, the more creative I'll get.
The first in our series is a personal favorite of mine: the Old Fashioned. Bourbon is my drink of choice, but when I don't feel like drinking it straight, I'll mix together an Old Fashioned.
The Old Fashioned is an ancestral cocktail, meaning one that originated in the 19th century and consists of a base liquor with just a few ingredients to add some extra flavor. In this case, those ingredients are simply syrup and Angostura bitters.
There are many variations of the Old Fashioned. Some prefer a sugar cube instead of simple syrup, while some like to add maraschino cherries as an extra garnish. I like to keep mine pretty simple, mostly so it doesn't take as long to make.
There's also a divide on whether to use Bourbon or Rye in an Old Fashioned. There's no wrong answer as this is just personal preference. I choose to use bourbon in mine as it makes a sweeter, smoother drink.
I went with Buffalo Trace for this occasion. While it can be difficult to find in ABC stores in Virginia, it's one of the best medium-priced bourbons for mixing or sipping. For my simple syrup, I used some homemade that I had in the fridge. Don't waste your money buying pre-made simple syrup when you can make it at home by boiling one cup of water and one cup of sugar.
2 oz. bourbon
1 tsp. simple syrup
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 orange peel
1. Add the simple syrup and bitters to an Old Fashioned glass
2. Add the bourbon and a few ices cubes. Stir
3. Add an orange peel, expressing the oils around the rim of the glass
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.