Throughout the 2011 MLB regular season, Baseball Tonight and ESPN Music asked several popular recording artists to provide their interpretation of ESPN’s iconic MLB theme music.
Artists ranging from rockers Tom Morello and Seether to hip-hop’s newest billboard giant J. Cole provided their renditions.
A new rendition was revealed every week on Baseball Tonight with a 30-second clip that was accompanied by a video of the artist recording their song.
For the past 10 weeks, ESPN’s music site has asked fans to vote for their favorite track in a tournament-style competition.
The voting process started with two artists, with the winner advancing to face the next artist on the schedule.
And now we’re reached the finals. Welcome to “Championship Week.”
It’s Zakk Wylde (of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society fame) versus Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Let’s get ready to rock.
The project has captured the imagination of baseball fans and music fans alike.
According to ESPN Coordinating Producer Nick Davis, it was important to find artists that would do the theme justice.
“Our MLB theme music is so recognizable and we didn’t want to lose that. We wanted artists to be creative and give us their interpretations. It’s been a big success,” he said.
As ESPN Music Director Kevin Wilson explained, it was important to showcase artists from all genres.
“ESPN fans come from such a wide range of cities and regions. All different kinds of people watch ESPN and watch baseball,” Wilson said.
“Since everyone is into something different, we wanted to have several music styles represented. A sport shouldn’t be represented by only one style of music. It shouldn’t be pigeonholed.”
Davis and Wilson were both major proponents of musical integration into our baseball programming and were excited to see it come into fruition.
“Before the season we had a brainstorming session about how we can enhance our baseball coverage, ” Davis said.
“Jed Drake, our Senior Vice President of Production, is a music lover and he loved the idea of getting artists to give their interpretations of our theme.”
Wilson agreed: “John Pizzarelli’s version — that big jazzy sound — worked great during Yankees games. Staind’s rendition felt so right in Boston because they’re big Red Sox fans.”
Wilson gave his thoughts on the “Championship Week” matchup.
“Grace’s version is really incredible. She did a nice job with it. And Zakk is an iconic guitar player. I love what he did with it. He rocked it.”
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals versus Zakk Wylde. There can only be one Baseball Tonight champ.
Cast your vote for your favorite theme song at ESPN.com/Music.
Voting is open until Thursday, Oct. 13.