Steppin’ Up To The Plate | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Steppin’ Up To The Plate

May 24, 2010

I was talking to Dee the other day about something that I find to be one of the coolest parts of the game of baseball and its inherently individualistic nature, walk-up intro music.  There is no other team sport in which every player on the field gets so many exclusive moments.  A Hall of Fame NFL lineman could go his entire career without ever hearing his name over the stadium loudspeakers, yet even bottom rung Major Leaguers get three to four chances on average to strut out into the spotlight.  Even high school varsity teams throw on players’ own personal pump-up tunes on their way to the plate.  I didn’t play baseball long enough to get to walk out in front of a cheering stadium to a song of my choosing; the closest I have to compare is whatever I put on my IPod before a big ski run, but I totally understand the motivation of music and think it has a particularly interesting place in the game people come here to read about.

In my research on the topic I came across an article published Sunday in the Sacramento Bee that beat me to it, pretty much summing up everything I wanted to say about the topic along with a lot of big league insight that I would not be able to provide.  It’s really worth checking out, and big ups to back to back Cy Younger Timmy “Dirty Hippy” Lincecum on selecting The Doors’ Break on Through.  You are now firmly cemented as my favorite active player (more on that later). Another interesting bit I came across actually talked to the music people behind the scenes for all 30 MLB teams and got the skinny on all of them.  So I’m going to save myself a lot of time on this one and get straight to what I wanted to do with this piece in the first place.  I know all the guys that write on here have at some point walked out to their own intro music, along with most of the people who are reading here on a regular basis, and I’d love to hear what you guys’ thoughts are on it.  What did you walk out to and why?  If you’ve never had the pleasure of walking up to the plate to cheering fans and your own musical motivation, think for a minute that you’re in the on-deck circle of your favorite stadium and your team needs a big hit.  What’s it gonna be?  I want to hear from you on this one, Golden Sombrero Nation.

Responses:

Dee: the three walk-up songs i remember using were shook ones, gun ballad by the pharaohs (paz’s verse), and the whoa instrumental from bad boy. i really thought all of those beats were just heavy and brought me to the competitive and focused state of mind i needed to be in. i have heard some of the guys i go to dental school with, who also happened to play in college, say a lot of shit about players who use hip-hop as their walk-up jam like that we are all fake thugs and wankstas. it’s not like a could not have found a great punk rock piece that i would have loved. the problem is that even 3-chord punk songs demand more than the 5 or 6 seconds it takes to walk from the circle to the box. all of those hip-hop tracks i mentioned used samples that were only around 4 seconds and then looped. i really feel like battle rap is the way to go with walk-up songs.

Mark Wilcox: At Grynul, I walked out to a beat mixed by Griff and Hodges a few summers ago when we were drinking beer and watching Chris dominate his guitar. Apart from it being a pretty dark and intimidating beat, I liked it for the memory it conjured. Having a cold one with friends will forever be a favorite pastime; I could relax and think about how cool it was that I was there when that little piece of intellectual property was created. Plus I knew no one else in the world walked out to that shit. Confidence and comfort were the reasons I chose my walk out music.

7 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Brettsta,

    At Grynul, I walked out to a beat mixed by Griff and Hodges a few summers ago when we were drinking beer and watching Chris dominate his guitar. Apart from it being a pretty dark and intimidating beat, I liked it for the memory it conjured. Having a cold one with friends will forever be a favorite pastime; I could relax and think about how cool it was that I was there when that little piece of intellectual property was created. Plus I knew no one else in the world walked out to that shit. Confidence and comfort were the reasons I chose my walk out music.

  2. Barfy says:

    the three walk-up songs i remember using were shook ones, gun ballad by the pharaohs (paz’s verse), and the whoa instrumental from bad boy. i really thought all of those beats were just heavy and brought me to the competitive and focused state of mind i needed to be in. i have heard some of the guys i go to dental school with, who also happened to play in college, say a lot of shit about players who use hip-hop as their walk-up jam like that we are all fake thugs and wankstas. it’s not like a could not have found a great punk rock piece that i would have loved. the problem is that even 3-chord punk songs demand more than the 5 or 6 seconds it takes to walk from the circle to the box. all of those hip-hop tracks i mentioned used samples that were only around 4 seconds and then looped. i really feel like battle rap is the way to go with walk-up songs.

  3. The Towel says:

    Both of you made excellent choices in terms of walk-up music, I feel. It was an honor to play them for you.

  4. Senor Towel, if you had been the face rather than the voice of grinnell athletics, what would you be walking out to?

  5. The Towel says:

    Good question. I’d have probably gone with “Don’t Sell me Short” by Bad Religion. Throughout my baseball career, I’d typically been used as a role player at the beginning of seasons, forced to prove my worth in limited playing time. Eventually, I’d get a start here or there and hit my way into the lineup, and often, by the end of the season, I’d be a guy that the team wanted to see up there in critical situations late in ballgames. Coaches who did not know me prior to the season often dismissed me as not being able to contribute because I was not as big and strong as the other players. In fact, a coach who DID know me well and had worked with me during parts of three seasons took my dad aside when I was in seventh grade and told him I’d never wear a high school uniform because of my weak arm. Two varsity letters and a .300+ high school career average later, I can safely say I proved him wrong. This obviously wasn’t the case at Grinnell–the level of play required to compete for playing time at Grinnell was simply too high for me to ever play. But during my career, many coaches did sell me short, which gives the song extra meaning to me.

  6. Mike Rosenbaum says:

    Ahhh, finally getting to this post after meaning to do so at least 20 different times! I love this topic and it is something that I have always taken note of, whether it was during one of our collegiate games or sitting in the stands at a big league game. I was at the Cardinals’ game last Tuesday and had a great time critiquing their walk up music…but I will touch on that another time.

    Due to the fact that I was both a regular position player, as well as a late-inning reliever/closer, I had more opportunities than other guys to listen to my selections. Our policy was that a player who both hit and pitched could have a specific song for each setting(Thanks to the Towel). For me, my choice had to be something that got me psyched and ready to dominate the task at hand. Basically, the song had to give me that little extra boost of confidence right before I did my thing. At the same time, my choices were usually longtime favorites that I also had come to associate with a level of comfort. They were unique to me and reflective of my free-spirited nature yet overall on-field competitiveness and edge. So, below is a year-by-year recap of my selections for both hitting and pitching. While my hitting selection varied from year to year(I’m superstitious, get over it), my pitching track was the same for all 4 years.

    Freshman Season:
    Hitting – That year I strolled up to the plate to the sounds of 311’s “Down.” Since I first heard the track as a 13 year old kid, the band and song have been longtime favorites and something that I have always associated with high energy and piece of mind. It’s got that badass opening riff and refuses to let up as the song progresses.

    Pitching – As a late inning reliever, I wanted to spice things up on the bump with something that really got me fired up. Seeing that I already went with a heavy number at the dish, I ultimately decided on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.” Like “Down,” it has a great intro and buildup and just bumps real hard all the way through. At times, I found myself rapping along to it while throwing my warm up pitches. It fired me up enough that I wanted to rap along with it while also distracting me from the intensity of the situation and allowing me to start the inning with a level head.

    Sophomore Year:
    Hitting – Same as previous year(Down)
    Pitching – Same as previous year(Scenario)

    Junior Year:
    Hitting – I had to switch up the hitting track this year due to my superstitious nature and ultimately went with the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Give It Away.” I’ve always loved this band and song so it was really an easy choice. It’s got that killer funky intro and then transitions into another funky, raptastic verse. I’m not gonna lie, this jam just made me feel like the fuckin’ man when I stepped up to the plate.
    Pitching – Same as previous year(Scenario)

    Senior Year:
    Hitting – Decided to go with a throwback jam this time and picked a song that had always been a candidate in each of the previous years. Like my other choices, I keyed on a song with a great intro that builds up right around the point where the at-bat begins and the music is muted. My choice was Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” – a track you can really never go wrong with. I wish that I would have just gone ahead and settled on this one for my sophomore year so I could have gotten real crazy my senior year.
    Pitching – Tribe once again; how can’t you be down with a track that drops a Bo Jackson reference in the first verse?

  7. the dude says:

    Good answer, boss. I think I’d have to either keep it G or thrash it out hardcore style, maybe a dragonforce solo or something.

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