PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Phillies are keeping the hits coming at this World Series.
On the scoreboard — and from Billboard.
While Kyle Schwarber and the NL champion Phillies took batting practice ahead of Game 3 on Tuesday night, Mr Hollywood DJ and DJ Smooth stood behind a turntable near the home dugout, spinning tunes from a playlist created by backup catcher Garrett Stubbs.
“A lot of the guys have the music they like, and then I just ended up just putting it all together,” Stubbs said.
Clubhouse dance parties have been a staple celebration for the team during this October run, with Calum Scott's cover of “Dancing on My Own” the signature song. But the team has been pumping out jams before games, too, after players decided early in the season they wanted the right music to set the mood.
“They asked for it, so we said: ‘That’s any easy one,’” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski recalled.
So they brought in Mr Hollywood DJ, otherwise known 39-year-old Everett Jackson, and DJ Smooth, a.k.a. 30-year-old Austin Sotoloff.
Stubbs assembles the playlists, also used for those postgame bashes. Through early drills and batting practice, music pulses from the ballpark sound system. Players occasionally shimmied between swings Tuesday as they prepared to play the Houston Astros.
“They kind of wanted to pump it up a little bit more, bring the energy. The players love it. They have a good time,” Mr Hollywood DJ said.
Stubbs, a 29-year-old from San Diego, was acquired by the Phillies last November from the Astros. He greeted Houston general manager James Click and manager Dusty Baker with hugs when they walked by the batting cage.
Stubbs’ taste may be more traditional than most teammates: His walkup music is Frank Sinatra’s version of Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon’s “That’s Life.”
“I like all music encompassing, so it’s easy for me to put a lot of the songs they like on there,” Stubbs said. “I don’t have very much knowledge in the rap genre. (Outfielder Brandon) Marsh is the guy to go to for rap music.”
Baker recalled Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” being picked for him as walkup music at Triple-A Richmond in 1970-71. Back then, players didn’t have a choice.
“I would have probably had three or four of ‘em depending on what mood I needed to be in,” the 19-year big league outfielder said. “From reggae music to Tupac (Skakur) or something like that to get me ready. I use that now to get me ready or to calm me down, whatever I need — or to be angry or to be mellow. Music does that for me. First thing I do after I read, I turn my music on and my wife’s like, Turn the music down. So I put the shirt on that says, `If the music’s too loud that means you’re getting too old.‘”
Scott's “Dancing on My Own” is reserved for playing in the ballpark and the clubhouse after wins. The artist hasn't performed it live at the park, but Stubbs hopes maybe he'll swing by if the Phillies win the Series. They entered Tuesday tied 1-1 with Houston.
“He won’t be playing until we get that thing on our fingers,” Stubbs said. “People can look forward to something from him probably if we see it all the way through to the end.”
On-field DJs popped up at a few ballparks this season. At Yankee Stadium, slugger Giancarlo Stanton brought longtime friend and DJ ShaneO to mix things up.
At the SkyDome in Toronto during the 1992 Series, the public address system played rock when the Jays practiced and elevator music — classical and middle-of-the-road — for Atlanta. The Braves returned musical favor with the reverse before Game 6 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
“I would love to do that. I got `Careless Whisper’ on deck, just in case,” Mr Hollywood DJ said, referencing a George Michael smooth jazz track. “We got to get Houston in the mood."
The pair packed up when the Phillies finished BP at 6 p.m. and moved to a booth in the second deck beyond first-base, where they spin in-game tunes.
When the Astros practiced, they were met by “Cold Heart,” the Dua Lipa and Elton John remix, and Harry Styles’ “Music for a Sushi Restaurant.”
“Mind games,” Stubbs said.
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