TWW Discusses Their Walk-Up Songs
Its been a very frustrating weekend for us at The Waiver Wire. Not because our teams have been under-performing, not because there haven’t been some excellent stories to follow in the sports world, not even because of the unbearable heat blanketing the nation. No. It was frustrating, because one of our writers (Greg Kaplan) posed a difficult question that drove us all mad for 72 hours.
If you had to choose just one song to use as your walk-up/entrance song before a Major League at bat…what would it be?
Some baseball players are identifiable by the music they come out to (see: Rivera, Mariano). So, what were the choices our group of writers came up with? What would be your song? Leave a comment and tell us!
Matt McCarthy: This idea actually comes at a perfect time for me. I was at the Yankee game last Sunday and found myself discussing this very topic with my friend. I figured out through thinking for what I would use that there are two things I consider equally important when choosing a song to walk out to when you are about to walk up to bat. The song HAS to be something that actually pumps you up. Yes, I know, you are a professional athlete and should not need a song to get you in the mindset to get a hit, but it has to be something that gets you hyped.
And equally as important is what it does for the fans. A baseball game is entertainment, you are there for the fans and they have to enjoy the game. One of the advantages to fans shelling out money to see a game live rather than sit at home and watch is the atmosphere and unique experience that is created when you are watching live. That being said, it has to be a song people know and will enjoy and better yet, sing along.
There are arguments to be had that one of these is more important than the other and you could easily think that the song should only serve one of these purposes. For instance, for pump-up only, you could choose a song like Bodies by Drowning Pool which will certainly get anyone hyped (if that is the genre that does that for you). Or you could do a complete 180 and choose Call Me Maybe (would not be the least bit shocked if someone chooses this). That is certainly a song everyone and their mother has heard and is something that would get the crowd involved, but might not get you hyped.
For me, the choice has to land right in the middle and actually is a pretty easy choice for me since it is been a go-to song for me whenever I need something to pump me up for a game.
The Choice: Bring Em Out by T.I.
Vinny Ginardi: This wasn’t easy. The walk up song needs to be something inspirational. I want a song that gets me pumped up every time I come to the plate. While I love how Justin Turner isn’t afraid to use “Call Me Maybe” as his song, Carly Rae’s smash hit doesn’t have enough of an inspirational effect on me to earn my selection. During my selection process I toyed with the idea of using a classic (“Eye of The Tiger”) or a more recent piece (Nelly’s “Heart of a Champion”), but struggled to find something that felt right. I even came to the conclusion that “I Love You” from Barney and Friends would be the worst possible pick.
Ultimately, I decided on Eminem’s “Till I Collapse”, specifically the chorus performed by the smooth vocals of Nate Dogg. The motivational lyrics combined with the infectious beat make it the perfect pump up song. Just thinking about it makes me want to go sprint as fast as I can until the sun goes down. And then sprint some more.
Greg Kaplan: This…was incredibly difficult. I mean, one song to choose out of countless deserving options. Do you go the humor route (like “Tribute” by Tenacious D”) or the ultimate get-fired-up route (like “Crazy Train”)? I really find that a walk-up song is very important to the character of a baseball player. I associate certain songs with amazing moments as a fan, like Mike Piazza walking up to “Voodoo Child” by Hendrix.
For me, it ultimately came down to three songs. The first eliminated was “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns n’ Roses. I love this song, and it would absolutely work for either a hitter or a pitcher. However, I really can’t get over the fact that this was Tom Glavine’s warm-up song. As a Mets fan, I really can’t get the sour taste of his final appearance out of a Met out of my mouth completely. It ruins the mystique of the song for me, which is a shame.
So, it came down to two worthy choices. For me, I don’t need think the need to be pumped up would apply to every at bat. Instead, I would want something identifiable, something that people would be like “Oh no…that’s his music!” That’s why I went “Gangsta’s Paradise” over “Paralyzer”. There is some embedded humor with the song, but I feel its the best song to both calmly walk to the plate to, as well as get the right amount of confidence beforehand.
So, as I walk through the Valley in the shadow of death…
Mike Aurigemma: I do not think I have ever had a tougher time choosing something in my life. I mean picking a college was a cake walk compared to this for me. There were only a few schools I was looking at, but there are over 1000 songs on my iPhone right now. How could I ever choose just one from that whole collection?
I wanted something to entertain the crowd just like Matt. With the money that they were shelling out they deserved something else to really get the night going because we all know at times that baseball can go kind of slow.
Even when I was breaking it down into that category there were still too many songs for me to choose from. So the only reasonable choice for me to make was for it to be a collection of songs that tell a story throughout them all. No, not a bunch of songs mixed together, but maybe one of the most creative pieces of music in history.
That is right I am going with R. Kelly’s collection of “Trapped in the Closet”. I obviously could not pick just one chapter, that would be a tease for the whole crowd. Now I would have to coordinate with the public address announce about working all of this out, but I had an idea to fit in as many chapters as possible each time. First, I would definitely have to take my time walking to the plate. I mean like really take my time getting there. Dropping the helmet a few times and maybe bringing out a broken bat and then realizing it would help. But the most important thing would have to be to get the public address announcer to play the songs throughout my whole at bat. That may be difficult, but the last part is key. I would have to go train with Brett Gardner for a long, long time. I mean if I was able to make my at bats last as long as his, I would be golden. Just imagine reading an enthralling book all while watching a baseball game.
Joe Binckes: As stated by almost everyone else, coming to this decision wasn’t an easy one. I can really relate to Mike’s problem, because scrolling through my iPod throws some 14,000 songs in my face. I almost immediately decided that I would literally drive myself crazy trying to sift through long enough to settle on something that way, and decided to go with what came to my head first and leave it be. I can’t imagine what I’d do to myself if I was faced with this decision and the song would actually be played while I walked up in front of thousands upon thousands of people.
That said, my goal was to find a song that was instantly catchy, up-tempo (for that pump up factor), and that I believe would be memorable enough that people would recognize it in any context. A few tracks came to mind right away, and after narrowing it down I made the tough decision to eliminate “Storm Coming” by Gnarls Barkley and go with TV on the Radio’s stellar earworm “Wolf Like Me.” I find it to be one of the catchiest songs I know, and a go-to when I’m asked to put music on regardless of what type of crowd I’m trying to please. That seems like just what I was looking for, and I’m going to go ahead and declare it my walk-up music before I realize I forgot something else and keep second guessing.
Zak Lansing: I put a good 4-5 hours of thought into this without making much headway, so I went back to the one band I (somewhat surprisingly) have quite the discography of: (həd) p.e. (also written as Hed PE). I grabbed a bunch of their albums in 2005 or 2006 and they’ve stayed with me ever since. I’m not typically a metal guy, but I definitely got a lot of enjoyment and motivation from a good number of the songs, mainly from their sound. I don’t if it’s the bass or what, but damn do some of their songs get me pumped.
You’ve probably heard the song I’m picking, and the reason why you’ve heard it is probably influencing me to pick it as well. One of Madden 2003′s title tracks, “Suck It Up”, has always lit a fire under my ass when I need to get into a headspace of clarity and focus. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t stick with this song for long, as changing my walk-up song would probably be the first thing I do to try to break up a slump and there are a lot more harder songs that I feel could pump me up, but I have some nostalgia with this one.
You could really start from any number of points in this song, but I think I’d cut out the Michael Buffer-esque intro and open with “Let’s get ready to… DESTROYYY.” 23 seconds in, if your video won’t accept the late time start.
Michael Cresci: You’ll have to forgive the corniness of my choice but it just seems fitting. A walk out time should be epic and badass and instill a sense of dread in your foes because they know you’re coming to strike them out or hit a homerun. I was struggling to find a song from my library that fit the bill and then I realized I wasn’t picking my life’s theme song but a walk-up song. So I went classical and chose “O Fortuna.” The song is instantly recognizable and apocalyptic and it’s impossible to not get a little pumped up to in a stadium full of screaming fans.
I think one of the reasons it works so well is the buildup. If I were a pitcher I wouldn’t want the best part of the song to happen right away but rather have things build and create tension as I approach the mound. Plus anything that makes you feel like a harbinger of doom is probably a good choice.
Steve Sabato: I would pick “Shout” by The Isley Brothers as my batter’s music. My reasoning behind this is pretty simple. The question was posed to me, what song I would most like as my batter’s music. I chewed on it, and while at a wedding, watching my family go absolutely bananas to the aforementioned masterpiece, I was sold. It’s the penultimate wedding reception dance number for a reason. That song just makes people really, really psyched. And when I’m coming up to bat, I want people to get really, really psyched as well. And if I strike out, they will either have pleasant wedding memories, or visions of Animal House in their head, so they won’t be so mad.