Maestro, the music:
This is Free Form Friday, the place for all the random things we talk about in lieu of college football for the next 14 or so offseason Fridays. As usual, you're free (see what I did there?) to talk about whatever your hearts desire. But if you're looking for a little structure, let me pose a question: If you were a professional baseball player, what would be your "walk up music"?
Walk up music, for the uninitiated, is the brief burst of music played over the PA system as batters step to the plate. Some players change theirs frequently. Some, like Chipper Jones, use the same song for most of their career.
The selection criteria seems individual, but at the same time follows some established guidelines. Baseball players being among the most superstitious people on Earth, you can't really change it if you're hitting well with a particular song. So you want something that will stand the test of time.
Also it has to be something at least a little esoteric. How lame would it be the come to the plate to the strains of "Uptown Funk"? No, you want something hipster enough that the DICE baseball crowd will get it, rocking enough to get the beer-soaked crowd into the game, and unique enough that everyone knows "that's the song that plays before MaconDawg steps up and breaks the Mets' hearts once again. Geez he hates the freakin' Mets.*" A certain degree of swagger is also important. Nobody needs to step into the box to face a 98 mile per hour fastball feeling wistful and introspective.
For my part, I think I have it narrowed down to a handful of selections:
- "Right Hand on My Heart" by The Whigs
- Chuck Leavell's piano solo on the Allman Brothers' "Jessica."
- "Orange Crush" by R.E.M.
- "Feast on My Heart" by Pylon
- "Hard to Handle" by Otis Redding
Obviously that's a pretty eclectic mix. But I have a soft spot for local music and I guess that comes through in the selections. I've also always thought it would be cool for a player to go with something totally incongruent. Like Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You." Or the sad trombone music they play when some schmuck misses out on a car on The Price is Right. Or "Yes! We Have No Bananas." Or a snippet of spoken word, like something from "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. I mean, at a certain point being a multi-millionaire athlete just doesn't seem worth it if you can't act a little eccentric. Plus, in my experience in sports locker rooms the crazy guy gets the shower to himself, so that's a bonus.
Feel free to include your selections in the comments, along with some of the best actual walk up music used by actual pro baseball players. Just not the Mets. And . . .
*Spoiler: I hate the freakin' Mets like a fat kid hates celery. And as a former fat kid I can tell you, we really hate celery.