By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Brock Holt is not an international superstar. As baseball players go, his career has been about league average, give or take a little here or there.
But when it comes to selecting walk-up music, Holt may be headed for the Hall of Fame. Because Holt chose Whitney Houston’s 1992 cover of “I Will Always Love You” as his walk-up music. And that is a Hall of Fame selection.
The world caught wind of Holt’s choice of introduction music on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, after Holt entered the game for Xander Bogaerts, who suffered an injury in the top of the seventh inning. Holt stepped to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, with Tampa Bay leading 7-2, and though Holt himself flew out to left field for the second out of the inning, the indelible impact of Whitney Houston’s golden pipes boldly declaring “I will always love you” was felt inside Fenway Park and in the surrounding neighborhood. And as a result, the Red Sox put forth a two-out rally that saw them climb all the way back from the 7-2 hole to take an 8-7 lead and win the game. As a result, the Red Sox improved their record to 8-1 — the best record in franchise history to start a season.
It was a comeback that featured some impressive at-bats from the likes of Christian Vazquez, Rafael Devers, Mookie Betts, Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi, but it was no doubt aided by the inspiring performance of the late Ms. Houston on the stadium’s audio system.
“I think that’s kind of what got us going in that inning, was Whitney,” Holt said after the win.
Holt was joking, of course, but there’s no doubt that his choice was a hit. Typically, players will either select a high-energy pop or rap song. Country music is also pretty popular. (Then there are players like Jason Varitek, who came out to “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down for about 45 years and may still be using it as his alarm clock these days.)
But Holt picked Whitney, which definitely bucked the trend. It might have even drawn a chuckle from Rays pitcher Matt Andriese.
“I think they might have turned the volume up, because I feel like it was a lot louder than everyone else’s walk-up song,” Holt said. “And I think I actually saw Andriese actually laugh on the mound. But the crowd seemed to love it.”
Holt, who was just four years old when the song became a hit, explained the process that went into the choice.
“I wanted something that kind of everyone can relate to. So why not Whitney?” he said. “I was a little nervous there for it to play in the situation that we were in.”
Of course, some of the greatest moments in history follow feelings of intense jitters, and this one paid off for Holt. It’s now just a question of whether or not he’ll stick with the tune.
“I don’t know if I’m going to have to keep that or what, because it’s kind of obnoxious, I think,” he said. “But it was pretty cool in that moment.”