On a recent Sunday at Fenway Park, the Red Sox clubhouse music was a bit different. It was stuck on a classic rock satellite radio station, churning out The Eagles, the Steve Miller Band, Journey and others at a relatively soft volume.
It was the kind of music one hears everyday up and down the dial, but in a clubhouse that often has thumping hip-hop, it seemed odd, enough so that many on hand began to ask if something was going on.
Not really. Just a slight shift in a clubhouse where music, of all sorts, is central.
Before his departure, Mike Cameron was notorious for getting the place going, often choosing some old school Michael Jackson. Several pitchers, including Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard, like to strum away on their guitars while sitting on the couches.
In one corner, Darnell McDonald is often seen enjoying whatever tunes are playing, or listening to his own with a pair of headphones. It may seem like a small thing on the surface, but those are important moments for the Red Sox outfielder.
“It’s very important, man. Music is uplifting, gets your body going a little bit,” McDonald said. “I think it’s important just for the fact that you play 162 games. It’s a long season. The music kind of breaks up the monotony of doing the same things every day.”
McDonald said he likes all sorts of music and listens to something throughout the day, from the moment he wakes. Of course, much of it is the kind that will make his young children happy.
That’s the thing about music. There’s something for everyone, and when it’s right, it can have very positive effects.
McDonald said he’s been into reggae of late. Those tastes can change from game to game, often based on how he is performing on the field. The 32-year-old has dozens of different songs he uses for his walk-up, the music that’s played at Fenway as McDonald strides to the plate for each at-bat, but he will alter it if need be.
“If you’re doing well, getting hits, you’ve got to stick with it,” he said. “if you’re not, you’ve got to switch it up.”
Baseball players are known to be superstitious, right down to the sounds that keep them going.
For McDonald, it can also vary based on the day or time of the game. Early Sunday morning? Maybe something that will help get the blood going. A pressure-cooker against the Yankees on a Friday? Something to get him in the zone.
Whatever it is, it has to be there.
“I’m a music person,” McDonald said. “I like listening to music all the time. When I get up, I turn my music on. At night. The guys will tell you I like listening to music, so, for me, it’s pretty much my life.”
Well, that and baseball.