07/09/2008 12:00 PM ET
3 Doors Down swing for All-Star glory
Mississippi rockers to perform before Home Run Derby
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Their new hit song is called "It's Not My Time," but the fans who have bought over 15 million albums by the Mississippi rock quintet known as 3 Doors Down would argue that sentiment.
When the group takes the field at Yankee Stadium on Monday, July 14, to perform a special, two-song All-Star Week mini-set before the State Farm Home Run Derby, it'll be another Major League accomplishment for a band still on the rise over a decade after their first album.
The significance of a headlining slot the day before the All-Star Game in the last season of the current House That Ruth Built is not lost on 3 Doors Down, either.
"I'm honored that they asked us to do it," says lead singer and songwriter Brad Arnold. "There are a lot of bands to pick from and a lot that would be glad to do it. And we're very excited about it. It has the nostalgia of the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in the last year for that Stadium.
"I've only had chance to go to that stadium once before, and it was definitely memorable, and I love baseball. The whole experience will be great. And I want to see some balls get rocked over that fence."
Fans will see 3 Doors Down perform "It's Not My Time," from their self-titled fourth album that topped both the Billboard and iTunes album charts in its first week of release in May. They'll also play their first and biggest hit, "Kryptonite," from their second CD, 2000's The Better Life.
And for the duration of the two songs, Arnold and his bandmates -- lead guitarist Matt Roberts, bassist Todd Harrell, rhythm guitarist Chris Henderson and drummer Greg Upchurch -- will be staring up at history, a fact that's not lost on Arnold.
"I'm sure that it will get me as we walk out on that field, just to think of who's walked out on that field before me," Arnold says. "The history that's gone on with that stadium, it makes it a little bit more than a place to watch baseball.
"Really, some of the finer moments of our country have happened right there in that stadium, when baseball has lifted people up from depression, and with the swing and the crack of a bat against a ball, guys have not only scored runs but have brought the entire vibe of the country up.
"Standing where that happened, I'm sure there will be a lot of nostalgia there. I can imagine a few chill bumps coming on that day."
Arnold might want to take a few swings of his own if he gets the chance.
He played pitcher, third base and catcher in Little League, he says, until he got to Pony League and "discovered girls ... and drums ... and a driver's license."
But he never stopped watching or following the game.
"I love the Braves because my dad loved the Braves," Arnold says, "but growing up, my favorite team was the Giants because Will Clark played for the Giants, and he was my man."
Arnold remembers vividly the one time as a kid that he got close to his boyhood hero, also from Mississippi.
"It was at a Braves game at Fulton County Stadium, and they're out there warming up, and Will came to the fence and was signing autographs. I was three people away from him, he was getting closer to me, and I had an 8-by-10 just sitting there, ready for him to sign.
"Right at that moment, he had to get ready for the game and he just walked away. I was devastated."
Fortunately, the success of 3 Doors Down led Arnold to a joyful reunion with Clark.
At a charity event held by NFL legend Brett Favre, who also happens to be a Mississippi native, Arnold and Clark attended and were re-introduced by Favre.
"I had brought that very same 8-by-10 with me, the one I wanted him to sign when I was a kid," Arnold says. "As soon as Brett finished saying, 'Will, this is Brad,' I basically said, 'Nice to meet you. Sign this,'" Arnold says with a laugh.
"I told him the whole story about how I was three people away when he had to go. And we talked for a long time and had a lot of fun. Now the autograph is in my trophy case."
Clark isn't the only baseball player who's come in contact with members of 3 Doors Down, though.
Johnny Damon's been known to hang around some shows, and one of the band's best friends is former Major League pitcher Danny Cox, who hosts the band for hunting, horseback and ATV-riding on his 400-acre ranch in the St. Louis area.
"I wouldn't want him throwing a baseball at me and I wouldn't want him hunting me," Arnold says of Cox. "He knows every stick of his land."
As for 3 Doors Down, the future looks pretty good.
The band continues to work with their charity, The Better Life Foundation, which has raised more than $2 million for local children's charities since its inception in 2003, and Arnold has been working toward his own betterment.
"I recently quit smoking after smoking since I was 12 years old," he says. "I know I'll never smoke another cigarette as long as I live, and it's a wonderful thing. It's like I can breathe. It's like I've got a new set of lungs."
Fans of 3 Doors Down will be overjoyed to hear that from their favorite lead singer, and they'll get a solid preview by tuning into their pre-Home Run Derby set.
"Once again, we're just thrilled to be taking part in the All-Star Game festivities and can't wait to get on the field at Yankee Stadium," Arnold says.
"Wow. Just saying it makes me excited."
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.