The International Baseball Walk-Up Music Almanac: Los Angeles Angels

When I am not writing about baseball, I am often times writing about music. Rarely do these two worlds collide. And when they do, it's often with terrible results (see: Bronson Arroyo). Baseball players tend to stick to the radio hits and rarely delve deep into any sort of music catalog.

However, this is less the case with Latino players who often pick hit songs from their country of origin where typical American genres or stars aren't always the ones getting major radio play. Go to any baseball game and you are bound to get a tune or two of reggaeton, merengue, salsa or some other style that you rarely get on U.S. Top 40 radio. It's probably safe to say that a majority of the fans in the stands don't even notice. For me, it's a nice reprieve from the predictability and a brief spotlight on what is making it overseas and into ballparks all over the country from places like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba.

With that in mind, I thought it would be cool/interesting to showcase some of this music. So today marks the first installment of a very occasional series I will run on this blog called the International Walk-Up Music Almanac where I single out and talk about walk-up/warm-up songs for players from outside the United States. Today, I'll start with the Angels.

Erick Aybar main walk-up song in 2012 was "Ponte El Chaleco" from a Dominican artist called Secreto El Biberon. Secreto mixes various styles of latin music with a hip-hop approach but mainly sticks to reggaeton's dembow beat. What is reggaeton? It's basically latin dancehall. Crudely put: urban club music in Latin America. Here's the track which has over 1.8 million views on YouTube:

Alberto Callaspo's walk-up selection for 2012 was El Sujeto's "Oro 24kt," a merengue urbano (urban merengue) cut. While reggaeton spans the Caribbean, meringue originated as a style of music and dance from the Dominican Republic and typically features live instrumentation with brass horns and multiple percussion lines. Callaspo likes to keep it a little more traditional apparently. "Oro 24kt" has 288,000+ views on YouTube making it not nearly as popular as Aybar's walk-up track. Cool points for being slightly more original/obscure.

Here's the super funky cut:

Ernesto Frieri hails from Colombia but instead of dipping into his country's rich musical heritage, he chose "Volare," a cut from the internationally famous outfit Gipsy Kings. While they hail from France, the Gipsy Kings are known for blending various styles of music including salsa, funk and flamenco. Nothing against the Gipsy Kings, because this cut is awesome, but it's pretty disappointing to not hear something Colombian from Frieri. Plus, this track is not what you would expect from a closer. It makes you want to dance but doesn't necessarily get you pumped up to strike out batters in the bottom of the ninth. Oh well, to each their own. Enjoy:

While Kendrys Morales has been traded to Seattle Mariners, he was on the 2012 Angels so I am including him here. Plus, he probably selected one of the most awesome and interesting tracks for a walk-up song.

The Cuban Missle's walk-up choice was "Permiso que leg van van" from Los Van Van. While that band might not be a household name in the States, they certainly are in Cuba. In a way, Los Van Van are kind of the Rolling Stones of Cuba, having been a group in various incarnations since 1996 and played around the world. Led by bass player Juan Formell, the group was one of the first salsa groups in Cuba to incorporate other styles of music like rumba, rock, funk, and pop along with various unconventional instrumentation. Points to Morales for keeping it regional and dropping one of Cuba's most famous groups on the listening ears of Southern California Angels fans.

Here's Los Van Van playing the track live in Miami in 2007. HOT!

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