Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the new ESPN Baseball Tonight theme music champion: the one and only Zakk Wylde.
With the help of his devoted Black Label Society and fans around the globe, the former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist defeated Grace Potter & The Nocturnals in the finals of the Baseball Tonight theme music tournament.
Zakk outlasted 11 other recording artists — from rockers Seether and Tom Morello to modern day pop stars Travis Barker and J.Cole — in a tournament for the fans with the results determined by the fans on ESPN.com/Music.
The artists provided their unique interpretations of ESPN’s iconic MLB theme music.
After more than 14,000 fan votes were cast in the final round, only Zakk remained.
“It was really cool to watch baseball on ESPN and hear my family and friends say ‘Hey, that’s your song they’re playing,’” he said.
Zakk “rocked” his version with his signature in-your-face, heavy metal style.
“I won this thing, and it was all about my love for baseball and my love for music,” Zakk said.
In fact, Zakk sees a lot of correlation between ballplayers and musicians.
“All musicians are frustrated jocks. And, all jocks are frustrated musicians.”
There is one exception to that rule, however.
“Well you have Bernie Williams who is a jazz guitarist. He’s actually a really great musician. He’s awesome,” Wylde said.
It wasn’t surprising to hear Zakk mention Bernie Williams, since his love for baseball begins with one team: the New York Yankees.
“Thurman Munson was my favorite player. If I could create theme music for one player it would be Munson,” he said.
Zakk even played catcher as a kid.
“At the time, Johnny Bench was sort of the legendary, superstar catcher. People used to ask me ‘Do you want to be like Johnny Bench?’ No. I wanted to be like Munson.”
Zakk is an even bigger fan of his fellow Baseball Tonight tournament participants.
“I’m a huge fan of a lot of these artists. They all did something with it. It was all cool. It’s all music.”
One artist that Zakk singled out was Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist John Pizarrelli.
“Pizarrelli is one of the most insane guitarists on the planet. He did something incredible with it.”
Zakk will celebrate his victory with the release of his new DVD titled Unblackened — an acoustic album — next year.
“To the ESPN family and the Black Label Society family, keep bleeding black. Thanks for your vote.
“For all the other artists, it’s all music.”