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The Story Behind ‘La Bestia,’ The Atlanta Braves’ Celebratory Song for 2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. was named the 2023 National League Most Valuable Player last week — and to celebrate, a song named after the Venezuelan athlete’s nickname, “La Bestia,” has been released.

Backed by a catchy dembow beat and lyrics chanted by Dominican artist Niko Eme, “La Bestia” is the perfect sing-along song to hype up fans at a baseball game. “Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? The beast,” says the repetitive chorus in Spanish.  

“We wanted something that felt global and to do something we could put a chant to,” award-winning Mexican-American producer Samuel Ash tells Billboard. “I felt that dembow is perfect for that because it’s something you could repeat with a gang of people. We wanted something that was high energy. So that’s just what I felt when we were coming up with ideas of what direction to go in as far as the style of music. I know dembow is a Dominican genre but I felt that it could still feel global and resonate with him as a Venezuelan.” 

The song is only the second effort the Atlanta Braves have released as part of a sports-meets-music initiative that launched this year. The first song was “Home of the Braves” by Zaytoven featuring Young Dro to celebrate the launch of the Braves City Connect jerseys.

“Part of it is trying to figure out how we can connect to our audience in unique ways and out-of-the-box ways,” elaborates Eugene Brooks, director of diversity marketing of the Atlanta Braves. “The objective is how do we reach people where they are, especially the younger audiences, through all the different platforms?” 

“La Bestia” was created within a week and released the day Acuña was crowned MVP. Both Brooks and Ash admit they kept the song under the radar, hoping — but never doubting — that Acuña Jr. would get the title. 

The 25-year-old four-time All-Star won his first career MVP in his sixth major-league season, marking the eighth time a Braves player has nabbed the title after Freddie Freeman (2020), Chipper Jones (1999), Terry Pendleton (1991), Dale Murphy (1982, 1983), Hank Aaron (1957), Robert Elliott (1947) and Johnny Evers (1914). “He was a unanimous selection, receiving 30 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He finished with 420 points, 150 more than runner-up Mookie Betts,” according to a press statement.

As for having his own song, one that will hopefully become his walk-up anthem next year, Brooks assured that Acuña loves it.

“From what I know, he was very shocked that we would create something like this specifically for him,” he says. “As a whole, I think it forces you to look at baseball differently now with how we attract fans and what we want to do. It’s also a way to celebrate our players in a unique manner. So it kind of creates synergies between the player and the organization.” 

“This initiative that we’re doing with the Braves is so important for the Latino community,” Ash adds. “I feel that we’re in a season where we’re walking and opening doors so that the people behind us can run. I’m very excited about it.” 

Listen to “La Bestia” below:

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