Skip to Content

Grading the 2024 Minnesota Twins Walk-Up Songs

Our annual springtime merger of music and baseball criticism.

Facebook: Minnesota Twins|

The ol’ ballpark.

In the cash-dominated, rigidly marketed world of professional sports, athletes don't have much space for self expression.

NFL players may choose to display one of seven anodyne social justice slogans that won't upset the league's 64 uniform inspectors. The NBA relaxed ex-Commissioner David Stern's "kind of racist" dress code, while the NHL continues to enforce its collectively bargained suit mandate.

MLB has its own set of bizarre uniform guidelines, but baseball boasts the most unique insight into the personalities of players: walk-up songs. Starting around 1990, ballpark PA systems began blasting player-selected tunes prior to each home team at bat. For over a decade, I've made it my springtime ritual to grade the tracks picked by each Minnesota Twin: at the Twin Cities A.V. Club, at, at City Pages, and, now at an outlet I hopefully won't torpedo.

The club—which exorcised its playoff demons last fall after winning the AL Central—brings high expectations into 2024, plus lots of newish faces. Long gone are the days of Joe Mauer approaching the plate to T.I.'s 2006 banger "What You Know," as the swagless hometown hero reliably did every year at Target Field. (He received reliable A grades.) Even the more recent Bomba Squad has largely dissolved, meaning we've lost the soundtracks to dingers from Nelson Cruz ("Soldado" by Juan Luis Guerra), Mitch Garver (a semi-pandering "Say Shh" by Atmosphere), Eddie Rosario (“Bendiciones” by the ubiquitous Bad Bunny).

My yearly desire to cast music-critic judgements onto nine physically, financially, and, often, tastefully superior men? That'll never die. Here's how your 3-3 Minnesota Twins fared at DJing their own at-bats.

Byron Buxton, OF

Song: "Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison

For years the lightning-fast centerfielder opted for "Return of the Mack," the silky-smooth and undeniable '90s R&B jam, before dabbling with a ho-hum track from Texas rapper Wacotron for the past few seasons. Those years in question? They weren't kind to the injury-riddled star, who was relegated to just 85 games as a DH in '23. We're thrilled the "Mack" is back, and it appears to be re-energizing Buck: The 30-year-old stud is back in the outfield, thank god, and hitting .261 through six games.

Grade: A+

Carlos Correa, SS

Song: "Monaco" by Bad Bunny

We'll never question the taste of Correa, whose heroic appetite for Jucy Lucys reportedly helped lure him to Minnesota. The two-time All Star chose a brooding, gloomy track from his Puerto Rican countryman last year ("25/8"), and we're happy to report Correa is now going with a slightly feistier Bunny bop that boasts 100 million YouTube spins. It might surprise our English-speaking readers to learn that Bad Bunny was Spotify's most-streamed artist for three years, before getting knocked off by T-Swift last year; it's fun to imagine the reggaeton superstar bumping loudly from inside Correa's new $7.5 million Orono mansion. Finally fully healthy *knocks on a wooden baseball bat*, Correa, 29, is smacking the ball at a .368 clip so far.

Grade: B-

Willi Castro, OF

Song: "Que No Remix" by El Alfa El Jefe feat. Chocoleyrol

The speedy Puerto Rican selected an appropriately fun and fast one from El Alfa El Jefe, a Dominican rapper who has earned the honorific of "The King of Dembow." Want a crash-course in the subgenre that borrows from reggaeton and dancehall? Hit play. Want a review specific to this song? We'll defer to the most up-voted YouTube commenter...

Estar en la cima y bajar abajo y ayudar es signo de grandeza ,nadie podrá con el alfa tiene una bendición tan grande en esta tierra que solo Dios podrá pararlo ,tiene la inteligencia,la disciplina,la vicion ,el coraje y una humildad nunca antes vista ,el que come solo del pastel se empalaga y bomita el que comparte disfruta más ,Dios te bendiga por los siglos de los siglos


Grade: B

Alex Kirilloff, 1B

Song: "Armies" by KB

It has taken armies of team doctors to keep Kirilloff, once a sweet-swinging top prospect, on the field; he has yet to play 100 games in a season, but his 1.122 OPS through six games this year hints that Kirilloff, 26, might finally realize his lofty potential. On "Armies," it takes about 15 seconds to realize you're hearing a Christian rap song. The titular armies, you see, are fighting for His Glory. If you don't speak English, however, you might mistake this earth-quaking trap track for godless, aggressive mainstream hip-hop. For the rest of us, Kevin Burgess is very clearly saying things like, "Oh vanity, Satan try to cancel me," and, "Put it on the Bible, I'm in autopilot, on God." Cue the iron-clad Hank Hill reasoning...

Grade: D+

Edouard Julien, 2B

Song: "Armed and Dangerous" by Juice WRLD

I became a Juice WRLD fan after watching the 2021 HBO doc Juice Wrld: Into the Abyss. In it, we see a prodigiously talented young musician slip deeper and deeper into addiction, creating an uncomfortable-yet-captivating level of voyeurism. You just want to jump through the screen, hug the real-life Jarad Higgins, shake him, and get him clean. Juice died in 2019, though the 21-year-old MC left behind a staggering amount of music. "Armed and Dangerous," a standalone '18 single, isn't his best, with his free-association lyrical chest-pumping floating above a sparse, halting beat. If the aim is getting a player hyped while walking to the plate, plenty of other Juice songs would work better—let's pretend "Stay High" is about baseballs! (Julien bashed 16 homers in his rookie campaign last year.) Still, this one ain't bad, and who are we to question this ascending young Canadian?

Grade: B

Max Kepler, OF

Song: "Nikes On My Feet" by Mac Miller

For a half-decade I've challenged the German-born outfielder to honor his home country with some menacing, speaker-blowing Rammstein. Last year's selection, Berlin-based MC Pashanim, counted as a half-victory. This year, Kep has moved on to the late, great Mac Miller. (I interviewed Miller ahead of Soundset 2011, and he copped to being supremely zooted on weed during our zigzagging chat.) This early Miller track, off his 2010 mixtape K.I.D.S., is adventurously instrumental for almost two minutes before the late Pittsburgh artist begins rapping about his come up, which was tragically cut short in 2018. An appropriate and peppy old-school pick—by millennial/Gen Z standards, calm down—from a pro who has quietly become the Twins' longest-tenured current player. Still just 31, Maximilian Kepler-Różycki was signed out of Germany way back in 2009.

Grade: B+

Ryan Jeffers, C

Song: "Ms. Poli Sci" by Paul Russell feat. Khary

This song sounds a lot hornier than it actually is, which might be due to Russell's association with Christian rap. We hear surplus "ooh-ooh-ooh-oohs" over a slinky, funky, and throbbing beat as the Atlanta-born, Cornell-educated marketer turned rapper paints a scene of... really wanting to study with a fellow student? There's lip service paid to sharing feelings but, ultimately, it sounds like Russell is angling to hit the books rather than the bed. Huh... god bless him! In any event, this is not the ideal soundtrack to mashing dingers, however you interpret that phrase.

Grade: C-

Kyle Farmer, 3B

Song: "God's Country" by Blake Shelton

We have a man named Farmer... from Georgia... picking a southern rock anthem that rhapsodizes Dixie whistling and toiling in dirt? A little on-the-nose! This is standard-issue Shelton fare, Nashville machine to the core. A bell dings with epic overtones; a gospel choir appears from the ether; Blake sells the salt-of-the-earth bona fides he has long since traded for Hollywood glitz with thunderous conviction, though the listener should know better. Then again, maybe we shouldn't overthink this one. Shelton apparently hasn't, describing the 2019 track as, "A song that has a strong and deep meaningful lyric, but at the same time it leaves it up to the listeners interpretation."

Grade: C-

Carlos Santana, DH

Song: "Di Di Di" by Braulio Fogon feat. Don Forty Five

We won't take the bait here. Nope, no way in hell we'll seize on the cheap heat of suggesting this veteran slugger pick a steamy, riffy No. 1 hit from 1999 that appeals to muñequitas and Spanish Harlem Mona Lisas alike. It's too easy! We're better than that.

Grade: B-

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter