As he takes the mound this afternoon for St. Louis, Dakota Hudson will have to rely on his internal soundtrack to provide the familiar tune of Rock of Ages. A mega-hit from the early 80s for Def Leppard, it’s been the walk-up music at the plate and on the mound this year for the Cardinals rookie.
“I hear the music all the time,” Hudson said. “Sometimes it’s just a little rhythm out there there and gets you going. But you’ve got to be fired up to throw too, it’s not like it’s just hitting. It gets you locked in and gets you going.”
And it’s been working. Entering today, Hudson has a record of 16-7 and is tied for the second-most wins in the National League. His sixteen victories are the most by any rookie pitcher this season and the most in franchise history since Dick Hughes had the same total in 1964.
So how did Dakota, who just recently turned 25 years old, develop such a strong connection with a band that charted their top hits before he was born?
“Growing up, my dad had a huge collection of cds,” Hudson shared. “He was going through law school at UT and I felt like that was kind of his study break. He’d have either music going or on the weekends when we’d be home he’d have a couple different things–Def Leppard, maybe some Whitesnake in there.”
And while he admits to liking some of the rock ballads, there are other songs that bring back particular memories from in Dunlap, Tennessee.
“We had a talent show when I was in high school and a couple girls did Pour Some Sugar on Me, so there’s a lot of back and forth–I have stories associated with that type of music that reminds me of home.” Hudson said.
Any chance he may have grabbed a guitar to shred a couple of riffs or sing some Joe Elliott vocals at that talent show?
“I’ve got no musical skills whatsoever,” Hudson stated.
Before games at Busch Stadium, a variety of songs play as the Cardinals stretch, throw, take batting practice and infield. Newer groups like Greta Van Fleet mix with classics from Montrose. In the clubhouse there’s also a mix of country, hip hop, and Latino tunes. Post game victories the music is turned up past 11 with fog and lasers shooting past the lockers.
“We hit a little bit of everything on our team and it’s all pretty fun,” Hudson said. “I listen to some country music, some rap and pop here and there. It just depends. I’m hearing most of the new songs from the clubhouse.”
As for the Rock of Ages, Hudson is looking to have one small adjustment made for his song.
“I wanted them to start it at Gunter glieben glauchen globen, they started a little bit late so may have to talk to them,” he smiled.
It’s probably a good chance that something can be worked out before his next start at home.