Go to any baseball game from Little League to Major League, and odds are that when a batter is coming up to the plate they will be serenaded by walk up music.
The type of walk up music selected varies depending on the player. Players often alternate their walk up music between the guitar driven hair band standards as well as pop music depending on their moods. Other players may even select country music or hip hop for their walk up theme.
One of the best players for walk up music that I have seen in person was former Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence.
For one whole season Pence walked up to the sounds of Katy Perry’s California Girls proving that sometimes walk up music, like baseball, should just be fun.
Whether the music selected is hard rockin’ or bubble gum poppin’ it serves a key purpose when it comes to the battle between the pitcher and the batter.
Or as Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh from Bull Durham would say the players use the music to “Announce their presence with authority.”
Granted it would be hard for a batter to announce their presence with authority by walking out to the pop styling of Carley Rae Jepson but it could be a good call maybe if it made the pitcher laugh so hard that he couldn’t throw a strike.
While there is not an exact Archimedes stepping into the tub and shouting “Eureka” moment when it comes to the invention of walk up music, most baseball people point to the 1993 Seattle Mariners as the fathers of the walkup.
While certain individual players had used walk up music before, the Mariners were the first team to come up with a song for each of their players in the lineup.
It seems fitting that the city that brought flannel and grunge to the world of music would also be the city to bring music to the batter’s box.
While the Seattle Mariners are one of only two teams to never appear in a World Series they can at least lay claim to being the champions of the walk up.
Of course theme music is not limited to batters. Pitchers, especially closers, have also gotten into the act of having music introduce them.
Retired New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera famously walked out from the bullpen to the sounds of “Enter Sandman” from Metallica.
And of course who can forget Charlie Sheen as Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn walking out to “Wild Thing” in the Major League franchise. The cinematic walk up music predates the Mariners walk up trend by about five years and is also often pointed to as being instrumental in the evolution of walk up music.
As with everything there are rules to the walk up music. The songs chosen need to be family friendly and the music is supposed to stop once the player enters the batter’s box.
Of course a really good walk up song can lead to players lollygagging their way to the batter’s box to hear more of their “theme” before facing the pitcher.
While mostly found within the confines of a Ballpark sometimes walk up music occurs beyond the bleachers.
The other day while eating lunch at a local Cajun inspired chicken restaurant named after a spinach loving cartoon sailor I experienced my own version of the walk up music.
I had just gotten up from my table when the perennial theme for the underdog Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky started playing.
As I walked to throw away my trash there was an extra spring in my step as the music blared, (bop, bop bop bop, bop bop bop).
Heading to refill my iced tea the music continued as I found myself filling the tea more forcefully than usual (bop, bop bop bop, bop bop bop).
As I left the restaurant humming along to the song I was inspired to tackle the day with vigor as I headed out to my car.
Of course while the music may have inspired me to find the nearest outdoor flight of stairs to run up while air boxing, I was reminded that I had just eaten lunch and should probably wait at least 30 minutes before jogging and air boxing.
Still, the musical interlude got me thinking about why it is that only baseball players should get walk up music.
Just think how much more exciting life could be if all of our big moments were preceded by music.
Just picture the boardroom scenario where someone says the following. “Now up to present the quarterly earnings report, Joe Smith” (cue the music).
After a few bars of (insert song here) Joe knocks the earnings report out of the park while his coworkers serenade him with Queen’s “We are the Champions” and fist bump each other on the way out of the conference room.
Of course different situations in life would require different music.
While some situations might call for some Pearl Jam, others may require heavy organ sounds of Bach.
There will even be situations where one might take the Hunter Pence route and walk up to a situation with some pop music even going so far as nodding their heads like yeah.
With the invention of large capacity MP3 players it would be very easy to carry around all of the possible walk up music one would need for any situation.
Just cue up the appropriate song for whatever situation comes up and one is ready for anything that life throws their way.
The trick would be the trial and error of finding a truly unique walk up song since not everyone can walk out to “Enter Sandman.”
While it is unlikely that the walk up song idea outside of the Ballpark will catch on any time soon it is certainly something to think about the next time one is listening to the radio, or filling out that dreaded TPS Report.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some walk up music songs to pick out for my next big event right after I put the new cover page on this report.
Copyright 2014 R. Anderson