Unlike most home teams, Metallica broke out the black jerseys earlier this month in San Francisco, when they took over AT&T Park for the third-annual “Metallica Day” celebration.
With James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett handling “The Star-Spangled Banner” – Hammett also led the Giants’ faithful in a sing-along of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch – Lars Ulrich lobbing the first pitch and Robert Trujillo announcing it was time to “Play ball,” it was definitely the most metal afternoon San Francisco had witnessed in a while. So it made sense that Sean Casey, MLB Network analyst and resident rock guy, was on hand to take it all in.
Casey’s full feature airs Friday on MLB Network’s MLB Central morning show, but today, you can watch him go behind the scenes – and on the field – with Metallica, who were more than ready for their call-up to the majors.
“This doesn’t suck,” Hetfield laughed. “You wake up in your bed, with your family, and you drive down here to this amazing park, on this amazing day, in this amazing city.”
Midway through the seventh, Hammett stood atop the visitor’s dugout and riffed his way through “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” like a pro; though, as he told Casey earlier in the day, he’d actually just learned the song the previous night – and, believe it or not, he was actually kind of nervous when it was time to play.
“It’s a little nerve-racking, because it’s a bare, open melody. I don’t have, like, crashing drums and power-chords,” he said. “I learned it last night and I’ve been playing it all day today. I’ll probably play it another 30 times.”
Ulrich, on the other hand, played it cool when Casey asked him about tossing the ceremonial first pitch. That’s probably because he’s done it before – in 2013, he somehow managed to drop a modified Eephus pitch on the outside corner of the plate – but it didn’t hurt that he’s the first to admit he knows absolutely nothing about baseball. There’s no pressure that way.
“I’m going to throw right around the [pitcher’s] mound. The first year I went out past the rubber, because I thought you were supposed to stand behind the rubber – so I handicapped myself by five feet there,” he explained as Casey cracked up. “When people give me beef for not knowing more about it, I say ‘Listen, where I come from, baseball is called ’rounders,’ and it’s played by 12-year-old girls.”