WASHINGTON — Even in an age of increased access to professional athletes, the power of the player entrance/walk-up song remains strong.
For a professional wrestler, it is synonymous with his/her persona, and a powerful tool used to drive the momentum and enthusiasm of the performance.
For baseball players, it’s more authentic, articulating a player’s mindset going into competition (think Mariano Rivera with “Enter Sandman,” or Jayson Werth with the “Game of Thrones” theme).
But sometimes, that part of a player’s identity must be shrouded in mystery or shared with others. Such is the case for Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen.
“I’ve always wanted to use, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down.’ I used it in high school,'” Storen explained to Grant Paulsen on 106.7 The Fan. “But when I first signed here and got called up, [Joe] Beimel was still pretty fresh, and had only left like a year or two before I got here.
“People always associated that song with him, so I knew I had to give it a little bit of time and a little bit of leave…It was a principle thing.”
In his moment of need, Storen called on his network for help.
“You need a good support system for [choosing a song]. I talked to my best buddy…he’s the one that gave me the Black Keys ‘When the Lights Go Out’ that I used last year. It came into effect the other night,” he quipped. “I went with the ‘Bad Company’ remake, and I liked that.
“There’s so many different ones, but I just really like that song. I think it’s a great song and you can’t really go wrong with Johnny Cash.”
Storen hasn’t gone wrong since taking over closing duties this season, posting a 1.83 ERA and 28 saves, good for second in the National League. As with any great entrance song, Storen is not alone in his appreciation.
“[Yankees closer] Andrew Miller uses that, which was a little upsetting when we went to Yankee Stadium and he comes running in,” Storen said with a chuckle. “I’m like, ‘oh man.'”
Storen should rest easy knowing some of the all-time greats have had to share. Rivera shared “Enter Sandman” with Billy Wagner. J.J. Putz, Eddie Guardado and John Smoltz each used “Thunderstruck.” The challenge is to become one with the song.
“[Miller]’s been using it, but it’s AL vs. NL, so it’s fine,” he said. “I like it and I anticipate sticking with it moving forward. A lot of guys have the big rock song, and I had that and I liked it.
“But I like something where you just set the tone. For me, that’s the kind of tone that I want to set. I enjoy that.”