Editor’s note: You know what’s fun? Really good sportswriting. I like to think we’ve done our fair share of that since StrongSide launched in September, and we’re only getting warmed up. But I also promised you something different than anywhere else in town, too. And you know what’s fun and different? A DJ. Not just any DJ, either.
If you know, you know, in which case you should skip ahead to the man himself. If you don’t, Michael Gruber has been enriching our sports scene for 20 years, from his time at The Ticket to working as music director for the Mavs, the Stars and, since 2020, the Rangers. Throughout the 2022 baseball season, he’ll be at StrongSide, too, doing what he does best: picking out great music for us to listen to. I’ll let him take it from here.
Hello again, everybody! This is Michael “Grubes” Gruber, music director for your Texas Rangers. Welcome to my Super Awesome Baseball Playlist of Merriment and Mirth. It is baseball time in Texas, and every month of the season, I’ll be curating a playlist here at StrongSide for you to jam to. I’ll give you some stuff you expect to hear at the ballpark, along with some Rangers-specific jams from the players and my own playlists. And, from time to time, stuff totally off the radar, too!
You can find the full playlist at the bottom of the post. So pull up a chair, bust out your AirPods, and follow along!
Classic Baseball Songs of the Month
“Africa,” Toto: Always a great song but somehow elevated to cult-hit status thanks to social media. It’s borderline impossible not to join in as the chorus kicks in: “It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from yooooouuuuuu”
“Centerfield,” John Fogerty: Yes, you’ve heard it a million times at every ballpark every year since it debuted in 1985, but it still can get any baseball fan in their feelings. After a long offseason, it was a pleasure to open up Globe Life Field with those distinctive claps. That said, I might not play it again this year. We all have our limits.
“Domino,” Van Morrison: An Arlington Stadium/Ballpark in Arlington/Globe Life Field staple thanks to the great Chuck Morgan, PA voice of the Rangers since 1983 and, until he bestowed the honor to me in 2020, the music director. An upbeat song that brings back memories of sunny days at the ballpark with family and friends.
Player Walk-Up Songs of the Month
“Shining Star,” Earth, Wind, and Fire: Mitch Garver goes a bit against the grain by picking an older track, but that guitar-and-horns intro will get anyone to smile and bob their heads!
“Southside Da Realist,” Big Tuck: Taylor Hearn’s selection works on a couple of levels. First, it’s just a great song to get the adrenaline going. And DFW native Hearn picking a fellow DFW native as his warm-up soundtrack creates yet another connection that has made Hearn a favorite among Rangers fans.
“Walking on a Dream,” Empire of the Sun: Nick Solak’s pick is a personal favorite. The song was released in 2008 to minimal attention but gained newfound popularity when it was used in a 2016 car ad. Just a feel-good song that hopefully leads to many feel-good results for Athletic John Mulaney!
Songs I Brought In That Are Awesome
“Do You Wanna Taste It,” Wig Wam: As soon as I saw the incredible opening-credits sequence of the hit TV show Peacemaker, I knew I had to rock this track at Globe Life Field. The glam metal vibes work shockingly well in exciting late-inning situations where the crowd needs to take it to 11!
“Hello,” Martin Solvieg feat. Dragonette: Yet another “song from a show I watched in the offseason,” the driving beat of “Hello” makes one want to dance like Coach Beard from Ted Lasso—though maybe with more moderation. Maybe.
“Levitating,” Dua Lipa: One of my favorite new artists, Dua Lipa seems to write hits like it’s her job. Oh, wait, I suppose it is. Anyway, this song is incredibly catchy, and I would definitely like to congratulate myself for adding it to the ballpark playlist. Go me!
“Skate,” Silk Sonic: Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak team up to craft an incredibly cool throwback hit that brings good vibes to the ballpark and puts one in the mood to score … some more runs!