A trumpet blares and an ominous, rumbling drumbeat accompany New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz as he emerges from the bullpen — usually in the ninth inning — to unleash his 100 mph fastball and dreaded slider on the opposition to preserve the lead. Baseball-headed mascots Mr. and Mrs. Met cavort atop the dugout, bugles in hand, revving the crowd to a fever pitch. And the cameras shift from a black-and-white image to color, following Diaz as he sprints to the mound to the strains of “Narco,” a five-year-old song by Dutch EDM duo Blasterjaxx and Aussie horn player Timmy Trumpet.
The closer — the pitcher who arrives to hopefully save the game in the last inning — has been accompanied by entrance music since the days of San Diego’s Trevor Hoffman using AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” and Yankee Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera strutting in to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” But Diaz has taken the practice to new heights by striking out nearly two out of every three batters he’s faced, leading the Mets to the top of the National League East for the first time in seven years.
It’s all new to Thom Jongkind, who formed Blasterjaxx in the Hague in 2010, then was joined by partner Idir Makhlaf, performing their big-room house and electro on the big stage at such well-known EDM fests as Ultra Music (composing its theme with fellow Dutch DJ Tiesto) and Electric Daisy Carnival, and collaborating with global superstars David Guetta, Afrojack, Nicky Romero and Hardwell.
Still, “Narco” has brought the duo to a whole new audience, since baseball — dubbed “honkbal” in Holland — is a niche sport in their country (next to soccer and Formula 1 racing), since the nation has produced just a pair of players to the U.S. major leagues, in retired pitcher Bert Blyleven and ex-Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius. The attention has put “Narco,” originally released in 2017, at No. 1 on Spotify’s Viral 50, with streaming numbers approaching 42 million.
“Our music has been played in stadiums before, but nothing like this,” admits Jongkind, who continues to tour as a live DJ while Makhlaf produces and creates the music back at the pair’s studio outside the Hague. “Obviously, it has to do with the Mets and how well they’re playing. It’s all coming together right now.”
“I don’t know anybody that plays baseball here,” chimes in Makhlaf. “It’s not very popular.”
Aussie Timmy Trumpet (nee Timothy Jude Smith) is also well-known in EDM circles for releasing his music on noted Dutch labels like Spinnin’ Records (home of Blasterjaxx) and Smash the House.
“They hooked me up in their studio, showed me this track they’d been working on and I loved it immediately,” says Trumpet. “It was a no-brainer working with them. We were just waiting for the right idea to connect, and I think we got it right.”
The original track had a Middle Eastern-style flute part that was immediately replaced by Trumpet’s signature horn sound — a cross between a matador entering the bull ring, a spaghetti western gun duel and a soldier headed into battle — as Diaz takes the mound for the Mets, boasting his filthy arsenal of sliders and fastballs.
“The trumpet sounds deeper, more epic and majestic,” says Jongkind. “The original wasn’t even an actual flute… it was just a hardware plug-in from the computer. The trumpet is a real instrument, with a dynamic frequency range. It’s that combination of the drums and the melody that makes it so dramatic.”
The “Narco” title comes from the Netflix series. “We were a bit lazy, so we just decided to call it that,” admits Jongkind. “If you’re lucky, maybe it will get people to listen.”
The song, which is also used as walk-up music by Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras, has sparked worldwide demand, and while the duo and Diaz have exchanged video messages on social media, there are rumors the threesome will show up at the Mets’ Citi Field to play the song live.
“You have heard better things than I have so far,” laughs Jongkind. “Who knows? We played it live with Timmy for the first time just a few weeks ago.”
“I can’t wait to head to Citi Field and watch my first game,” enthused Trumpet. “The crowd just keeps getting wilder. It’s like a party when Diaz walks out to that mound. Nothing makes me happier. This is exactly what this song was meant to do. Safe to say, I’m officially a Mets fan for life.”
Diaz first used the song in 2018 when he was pitching for Seattle, saving 57 games in the process, then inexplicably dropped it when he was traded to the New York Mets in favor of the decidedly less dramatic “No Hay Limite,” by Miky Woodz, which coincided with his worst year ever in 2019 — seven blown saves, seven losses and a staggering 5.59 ERA. The 28-year-old Puerto Rican native switched back to “Narco” in 2021, and preceded to rebound, but nothing could have predicted this year, when he’s soared to new heights along with his team amid talk of Cy Young and MVP consideration.
“We’re usually focused on the track we’ve released at the moment, but then this came along, so it’s a cool thing because we play it every night in our set,” says Jongkind. “It’s familiar to our fans, but now we’re getting a lot of baseball fans who haven’t heard of us before. And that’s very important to us, to be able to connect through music.”
With their own label, Maximize Records through Spinnin’, Blasterjaxx’s music is released through Warner here in the States, but major U.S. labels have come a-knockin’ since this viral worldwide success.
“This is great for us,” says Jongkind. “We feel like every genre can be combined. Every song we create has some influence that comes from a different country, and we combine them by thinking outside the box.”
Who knew that would include the batter’s box in American baseball?
“Absolutely,” nods Jongkind. “Let’s go Mets.”
The Top 10 Closer Songs of All Time (according to MLB.com):
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres: AC/DC, “Hells Bells”
Edwin Diaz, New York Mets: Blasterjaxx & Timmy Trumpet, “Narco”
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox: Dropkick Murphys, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”
Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants: House of Pain, “Jump Around”
Eric Gagne, Los Angeles Dodgers: Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle”
Dennis Eckersley, Oakland A’s/Goose Gossage, New York Yankees: George Thorogood, “Bad to the Bone”
Sparky Lyle, New York Yankees: Toby Wright, “Pomp and Circumstance”
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers: 2Pac & Dr. Dre, “California Love”
Hansel Robles, Los Angeles Angels: WWE’s Jim Johnston, “Rest In Peace (Undertaker)”