Soundtrack for stepping up to the plate

Last season, pitcher Joe Nelson’s entrance song was Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.’’ Last season, pitcher Joe Nelson’s entrance song was Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.’’ (Armando Franca/AP/File 2010)
By Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / April 7, 2011

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For as long as Fenway Park’s music director TJ Connelly can remember, Red Sox players have chosen their own at-bat songs, which means that when second baseman Dustin Pedroia walks out to onto the field to “Dre Day’’ by Dr. Dre (a guaranteed crowd pleaser), it’s his own doing. And it was Kevin Youkilis who chose Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend’’ for his big walk-up last season.

“I haven’t spoken to him about it, but [Youkilis] had a little trend for a while: His songs all seemed to have a ‘you’ sound in them,’’ said Connelly, who coordinates the songs for the players. “Maybe it was a coincidence,’’ Connelly added, before laughing and singing, “Yooou . . . you’ve got what I need. . .’’ to illustrate the point.

Connelly, who has DJ’d for Fenway since 2005, is putting together the list of the players’ chosen songs for tomorrow’s Opening Day. Some of the Sox are still undecided about what they want to hear, but Jason Varitek has gone with the 12-year-old 3 Doors Down hit “Kryptonite.’’ Jacoby Ellsbury wants “Let It Rock’’ by Kevin Rudolf. Jed Lowrie is leaning toward “Stylo’’ by Gorillaz. And as usual, Jonathan Papelbon will walk to the mound with “I’m Shipping Up to Boston’’ by Dropkick Murphys in his ears.

It’s no surprise to Connelly that J.D. Drew has requested no music at all. Some players don’t want the distraction of a song. “J.D. Drew, I think, is our current walking-up-in-silence guy.’’

David Ortiz hasn’t chosen his anthem just yet, but Connelly isn’t worried. “Ortiz is someone who definitely knows how to play a song. He always has at least one or two big, pump-up-the-crowd, heavy beats songs.’’

Asked whether some players choose less-than-appropriate songs for an at-bat, Connelly is diplomatic. He doesn’t criticize. But he does tell the story of Joe Nelson, who had a brief stint with the Red Sox as a relief pitcher last season. Nelson’s entrance song was Miley Cyrus’s tween pop hit, “Party in the U.S.A.’’

“Being a pitcher, that doesn’t mean we heard it for a just few seconds,’’ Connelly said, alluding to the long walk from the bullpen. “We heard a full minute of ‘Party in the U.S.A.’ ’’

Nelson told ESPN last year that he let his daughter pick the song. Sure, Joe. We believe you.

Meredith Goldstein can be reached at

The lineup

This season’s songs, as of earlier this week:

Jacoby Ellsbury “Let It Rock,’’ Kevin Rudolf (featuring Lil Wayne)

Dustin Pedroia hasn’t decided

Kevin Youkilis hasn’t decided

Jason Varitek “Kryptonite,’’ 3 Doors Down

Mike Cameron hasn’t decided

Marco Scutaro has requested no music

J.D. Drew has requested no music

David Ortiz hasn’t decided

Darnell McDonald “That’s All She Wrote,’’ T.I. featuring Eminem

Jed Lowrie “Stylo,’’ Gorillaz (might change)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia “Hero,’’ Skillet

Carl Crawford hasn’t decided

Adrian Gonzalez “Get Up/Levantate’’ and “Bon, Bon,’’ Pitbull

Josh Beckett “Living Hard,’’ Gary Allan (might change)

Jon Lester “I Use What I Got,’’ Jason Aldean

John Lackey “Crazy Town,’’ Jason Aldean (might change)

Clay Buchholz “Voodoo Child,’’ Jimi Hendrix

Daisuke Matsuzaka “The Catalyst,’’ Linkin Park

Tim Wakefield “How Bad Do You Want It?’’ Tim McGraw

Daniel Bard “Stranglehold,’’ Ted Nugent

Jonathan Papelbon “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,’’ Dropkick Murphys

Dan Wheeler hasn’t decided

Bobby Jenks hasn’t decided