Mariano Rivera would be plenty intimidating coming into a game in complete silence, but playing “Enter Sandman” by Metallica as his entrance music definitely adds to the hitters’ sense of dread.
Yet as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes, Rivera isn’t even a fan of the song and the Yankees only stumbled into using it for his entrances because they were trying to copy the Padres’ use of “Hells Bells” for Trevor Hoffman.
According to Hoch in 1999 they initially tried “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses, but weren’t satisfied with the crowd reaction. Then a freelance member of the scoreboard production team named Mike Luzzi brought in some CDs and suggested “Enter Sandman.”
And the rest is history.
In retrospect the song’s ominous tone and lyrics are a perfect fit for Rivera coming in to close the door on opponents, but here’s what the future Hall of Famer told Hoch about being forever linked to the 1991 song:
I never said that I didn’t like it, but I didn’t care about the song. I didn’t pick the song. I don’t pay attention to the music. When I go in there, I’m going to business. I have a job to do, that’s it. It’s not part of my identity. People identify it [with me], but that’s it. I wouldn’t say that’s my identity. To tell you the truth, I have to do one thing. I go out there and pitch.
Which is of course exactly the sort of approach to things that makes Rivera so damn scary.