Metal And Sports: When Worlds Collide
August 6, 2018, a year ago
The connection between metal and sport seems spurious at best. Although bands such as Cannibal Corpse look like an all-star offensive line, the tenants of metal often cut against the overly commercialized sports world.
But, athletes still profess their love for the genre in a variety of manners, and their love is often returned by metal band. Below, we have compiled a smattering of connections between the metal and sports.
Baseball walk-up music is a tradition of America’s pastime as much as overpriced beer and horrible snack food. While walkout music often reflects the Top 100 radio charts, metal heavily features on ball players walk-up music.
Perhaps the most famous instance is New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera walking out to Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’. Metallica even performed the song for the pitching great when Rivera’s number was retired at Yankee Stadium. Rivera walked out to the song from 1999 until his retirement in 2013, and in the sports world Rivera and ‘Enter the Sandman’ have become synonymous.
Metallica also regularly performs for the MLB’s San Francisco Giants during an annual Metallica night where the band performs the national anthem and throws out the first pitch.
Other famous baseball walk-up music includes Jonathon Broxton entering to Black Sabbath’s "Iron Man", Chipper Jones walking up to Ozzy Osbourne's " Crazy Train" and Chase Utley using Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”.
Baseball’s metal connection is not limited to walk-up music choices. At the 3:54 in mark in Amon Amarth’s music video for “Raise Your Horns” Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer makes a cameo. Bauer is avid metal fan and a proud owner of a signed T-shirt from the band. If you watch the music video you will also see MMA fighter Colleen Schneider and NHL goalie Mike McKenna make appearances.
From baseball, we head to the distinctly different world of e-sports. Ninjas in Pyjamas is an e-sports organization that mainly plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and as Swedes it is no surprise they are fans of metal music. E-sports and metal fans were surprised to see metalcore band Adept’s music featured in Ninjas in Pyjamas videos. The e-sports organization has gone so mainstream that they are prominently featured as principal brands on sports betting website Betway along with more well-known sports names including soccer’s West Ham United.
Soccer players are also some of sport’s biggest metalheads. Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is one of the world best in goal, and he hasn’t been shy about his affinity for metal music. Much to the chagrin of his teammates, de Gea often plays metal in the locker room and his favorites include Slipknot and Metallica. The shot-stopper also has a picture with Avenged Sevenfold on his Instagram.
Terry Butcher, former England international and current head coach of the Philippines national team, is best known for his gritty playstyle and once playing in a blood-soaked England shirt. Due to medical and safety precautions it is unlikely to see such a metal player emerge again. But with the image of Butcher in his blood-soaked jersey, it comes as no surprise that Butcher has deep connections to metal.
Butcher is a friend of Iron Maiden founder Steve Harris, and of course he is a huge fan of the band. Steve Harris himself has a football connection, as he grew up hoping to play professionally and was even approached to train at West Ham United. Harris has continued his passion for the game by founding an Iron Maiden themed team called the Maidonians for which Butcher has appeared.
Despite the seeming disconnect between sport and metal, upon further review it’s not so out there to say the grit of sport translates to metal music. After all, metal influencer Queen are perhaps the most well-known band in sports, and you cannot argue that Terry Butcher looks quite metal.