WAR Masters – A Completely Serious Analysis Of Metal And Baseball

Happy All Star Break, folks. Or, if you aren’t a baseball fan, enjoy the least exciting week in all of sports, when very little is going on except ESPN’s incessant coverage of the same 10 NFL non-stories. But for us baseball fans, it’s a wonderful week when we not only get to enjoy the greatest exhibition in sports, the Home Run Derby, but the All Star Game itself, and a nice breather during the long haul that is The Big 162.

Oh, you thought this was a heavy metal website? You expected some in-depth analysis of the music we all hold so dear? Well it is a heavy metal website, but this article isn’t going to provide any serious analysis. It’s time to have some very silly fun and think up a bunch of (absolutely, positively, mostly non-serious) parallels between heavy metal and Major League Baseball. Might be a player, might be a team, might be an individual musician, band, or album; whatever. It’s all for fun. Play ball!

The First Seven Iron Maiden Albums =
Albert Pujols in St. Louis

Big Albert’s run with the Cardinals, both during his first 11 years and that lovely 2022 farewell, was unstoppable. He won 3 MVP awards and finished in the top five an additional seven times. His triple slash was .326/.417/.614. As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I was absolutely terrified of him (despite him being a total teddy bear of a human). Iron Maiden in the 80s was equally unstoppable. Their first seven albums represent likely the greatest decade in the history of metal. Their habit of playing 300 shows a year wore down all of their competition. The peak of excellence, both of them.

Metallica in the 80s = Shohei Ohtani

Speaking of great runs… If Maiden had the greatest seven album run, Metallica might have had the greatest four album run. The stuff two-way alien Shohei Ohtani is doing is mind boggling at that level, so far ahead (most of) his peers that it just doesn’t seem real. Per Baseball-Reference (which I use over Fangraphs purely out of familiarity), only one person has ever had a season with at least 13 WAR. That was Babe Ruth, in a very different era of the game. Ohtani might get there this year. So, on second thought, maybe not even 80s’ Metallica can compete with what Sho is up to, but on third thought, they did write “Orion.”

Patrick Mameli = Curt Schilling

Time to get shitty to a couple shitty dudes who deserve the shittiness. Curt Schilling has disgraced himself at near Cobb-ian levels since retiring, making people forget about all the postseason heroics and a Cooperstown-worthy career by being an online hatemonger and general MAGA CHUD. Pestilence’s Patrick Mameli, despite being from The Netherlands, also exhibits a very Proud Boy, Trumpster Diver presence online, spewing vitriol and generally acting like he looks at every opportunity. In the battle of The Bloody Sock vs. Mameli’s On-Stage Milk Carton, everyone loses.

Nikhil Talwalkar = Elly De La Cruz

If you’ve listened to Talwalkar’s main work in his main band, you know the deal. This kid, still only 18 years old, is The Brutech Prince Who Was Promised, playing every instrument at virtuosic levels (and getting a lot of hired gun work as a drummer). The early Poopshoot Puncture material has been nothing short of monstrous, especially last year’s Reality Drips into the Mouth of Indifference. Elly De La Cruz, meanwhile, just made his MLB debut about a month ago, and has already turned the league on its head. At just 21 years old, he already runs faster and hits harder than anyone. He’s already hit for the cycle and stolen 2nd, 3rd, and home over the span of two pitches. These kids, at least, are way more than alright.

Bolt Thrower = Derek Jeter

Bolt Thrower was awesome. Derek Jeter was incredible. I’m not denying that for a second. Jeter was a very deserving first ballot Hall of Famer, and if there was a Death Metal Hall of Fame located somewhere down in Tampa, Bolt Thrower would get in on their first eligible ballot. There is no denying this, and yet…

They both seem to have very dedicated cults that greatly inflate their stature to some sort of godliness. Jeter wasn’t even the best shortstop of his era; guys like Ripken and early A-Rod and arguably even Barry Larkin topped him (especially on the defensive side). Bolt Thrower was never the best death metal band on the planet, despite a pretty impeccable run. They were a very “high floors / pretty high ceiling” band, whereas others might slip up but put out more towering classic records. But hey, at least Karl Willetts wasn’t known for giving swag bags to his sexual conquests. Jeter is such a weirdo.

Cannibal Corpse = Tony Gwynn

Consistency. Consistency consistency consistency. But also longevity. Cannibal Corpse is the standard bearer of death metal consistency and dependability. Over more than 30 years and (soon to be) 16 albums, they have delivered time and time again. Ranking their discography is painful because even the albums at the bottom are extremely strong. Tony Gwynn, during his 20 years in San Diego, was equally consistent and dependable. The man won eight batting titles (EIGHT!), was the last guy to truly threaten .400, and the only time he hit under .300 in a season was his rookie year in 1982. He was a 15-time all star. He walked 356 more times in his career than he struck out. Staggering consistency, longevity, and excitement all around.

Gene Hoglan = Pudge Rodriguez

The catcher is the drummer of the baseball world, and there is nary a drummer in metal history that has had a wider impact with as many brilliant musicians as Gene. From Dark Angel and Death to working with Devin Townsend and Testament and many others, he has elevated several capital-C Classic albums with some massive acts. Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez might not be the greatest defensive catcher in MLB history, but he’s on the very short list, and much more well-traveled than guys like Johnny Bench and Yadier Molina, giving him that parallel to Gene. He anchored the Rangers for over a decade, made a stop in Florida to help the Marlins win the 2003 World Series, provided invaluable tutelage to a young Justin Verlander in Detroit, and so on. Everywhere each of these guys went, they set the tempo.

St. Anger = The 2017 Trashtros

Come on, this had to be here. The painfully obvious match here is Lars Ulrich’s famous trash can snare sound and the fact that the World Series-winning 2017 Houston Astros banged on actual trash cans to send sign stealing messages to batters. But that’s not all. How about how Metallica was so broken as a band that they brought in a group therapist to solve their rich guy problems and turned the whole embarrassing affair into a movie? Or how the Astros were so disgraced — albeit not enough to vacate their title — that they fired their whole staff and hired Mr. Integrity Dusty Baker to try and repair their image. No one should ever stop laughing at either of these things, ever. Peak clownshoes.

George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher = Bartolo Colon

This isn’t just a statement on their chonky status. Well, it’s not entirely not a statement on their chonky status, because both guys are among the more famous chonks in their fields, but there’s more. When Fisher joined Corpse, it represented one of the great trade-ups in the history of metal. Chris Barnes was rapidly deteriorating in performance, and in Monstrosity Fisher was already a rising star with far more talent. Corpse made the move. In 2002, Bartolo was the key part of a trade to the Montreal Expos that brought Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and Brandon Phillips to the then-Cleveland Indians. This trade tree is still alive, with a Lee trade bringing back Carlos Carrasco, who in turn helped bring in current stars Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario. Always have the phone ready for an upgrade, folks.

Mikael Åkerfeldt = Joey Votto

Opeth might not be my favorite band, but they’d be in the conversation if I still had such conversations. Mikael Åkerfeldt is their brilliant mastermind, a man that has reinvented himself several times, always (usually) with excellent results and a sense of class, sophistication, and intelligence, no matter the supporting group around him. Opeth’s catalog is nearly unparalleled in metal, and their peak run is comparable to those of Maiden and Metallica mentioned earlier. Åkerfeldt is simply one of the most important figures in heavy music ever, full stop.

I’m a lifetime Reds fan, and Joey Votto is my favorite player ever. He has repeatedly reinvented himself in ways both minute and obvious, coming back repeatedly from looking washed up only to remind the league that he still bangs. He’s maintained his excellence as the team around him has changed over and over, always there as the rock in the middle of the lineup. He’s one of the greatest scientific hitters of all time and will retire as one of the five greatest players in the history of the sport’s oldest team.

They’re both masters of their crafts that exude both dignity and a kind of brilliance that can’t be ignored, but there’s another thing that ties them together: they’re both positively HILARIOUS. Åkerfeldt is known for his riotous stage banter; one time when I saw them he forced the crowd to answer a series of Manowar trivia questions before performing an encore. Otherwise (he said), he’d make bassist Martin Méndez dance on stage in tights. Votto once gave an entire interview as a Canadian Mountie, helped a teammate get onto the All Star Team by campaigning in a donkey suit, and recently bought a school bus to drive to a rehab assignment and back. Ya gotta love ‘em… both.

Some More Bunt Singles

Albert Pujols in Anaheim = Iron Maiden in the 90s
Talk about your sudden declines. Just don’t blame Mike Trout or Blaze Bayley.

Guns N’ Roses = 1986 Mets
Tons of success, and a whooooooooooole lotta cocaine. No word on how the Bill Buckner boner play comes into this… you decide.

Spirit Adrift = Javy Báez
A lot of hype, a decent amount of talent, and some serious issues with fundamentals. But hey, at least they’re both hot, right?

Tony Iommi’s Mustache in the 80s = Ken Griffey Jr’s Swing
Try to be smoother. I dare ALL of you to try to be smoother.

The Last Verse of “Quantum Mystic” = Giancarlo Stanton Hitting One Off the Scoreboard
Crushed. CrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrUSHED.

A Wall of Death Pit = A Randy Johnson Fastball
Imagine that poor bird facing all those sweaty, stinky, charging degenerates.

Aaron Stainthorpe = James Paxton
The Lord of Metal Sadness and the sad-puppy-dog-iest face in baseball. My wife wants to adopt The Big Maple.

Reverend Bizarre = A Zack Greinke Eephus
Slow, determined, and glorious. You see it coming, but you can’t escape the doom.

Faith No More = The 2004 Boston Red Sox
Ignoring the aforementioned hatemonger, most of The Idiots were loveable weirdos worthy of all the magical, wondrous shenanigans of Angel Dust.

Profanatica = The Brewers Sausage Race
I’m not even giving you a link for this one. Go ahead and do a Google search, but maybe go incognito first.

Go Reds.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

  1. Compelled to leave a comment– Nice work! Fun read, on the money with these comparisons.


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