Mud Hens play to variety of music at the plateWritten by Scott Calhoun | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The batter drops the weight ring from his bat, strides to the plate, digs in and nestles his cleats into a comfortable stance in the batter’s box. Audio waves of music cascade from the stadium speakers into thousands of ears.
It’s unofficially called at-bat music, the tune a pro ballplayer chooses to be boomed to his home fans as he comes to the plate.
”You need a good beat when you come up to bat. It locks you in and gets you pumped up,” said Toledo Mud Hens catcher Maxim St. Pierre, who prefers a hip hop intro with ”I Know I Can” by Nas.
Centerfielder Tike Redman also exits the on-deck circle to an urban groove with The Game’s ”Put You On The Game.”
”You gotta have a little rock in your step, something to get you ready and hype you up a little bit,” Redman said.
Once a random selection of sound-filler by the stadium audio-video board operator, at-bat music has become a self-chosen request by each player.
”It’s interesting because if you turn back the clock 15 or 20 years the teams used to pick out the music. Now it’s really become very personal,” said Hens General Manager Joe Napoli.
For some players, the selection of their respective song is a personal and serious decision. First baseman Josh Phelps has often used Led Zeppelin’s ”When The Levee Breaks,” a track he connects to his father.
”It’s one of those things that come from your past. My dad used to listen to a lot of classic rock when we were driving around and it’s just one of those things I like,” Phelps said.
To Hens manager Larry Parrish, who didn’t get to choose in his playing days, it also would have been a matter of legends.
”It would have been something by Hank [Williams Jr.],” he said.
IF/OF Ryan Raburn does get the choice and strides forth to the rural feel of Jason Aldean’s ”Hick Town.”
”I’m a country boy,” the Tigers prospect said.
For others, it’s a matter of preference.
”I usually come out to a rock song, because I’m more of rock fan. I usually come out to a beat that’s got some good guitar play,” said leftfielder Ryan Ludwick, currently approaching the plate to Audioslave’s ”Out Of Exile.”
OF/DH David Espinosa, who said he could care less if he has any at-bat tunes, chose Sum 41’s ”No Reason” and Sean Paul’s ”Temperature.”
Catcher Brian Peterson enjoys the classics of the 1980s and fuses the era with the terminology of the game by coming to bat to The Outfield’s ”Your Love.”
”I’m a big ’80s fan and when we win, The Outfield’s one we play in the clubhouse,” said Peterson, who also ignites Hens fans with the Bee Gees classic ”Stayin’ Alive.”
With the strong Latino influence on the pro game, OF Alexis Gomez of the Dominican Republic offers up ”Oye Mi Canto” by Nore.
”It makes me happy in the game whether I’m batting or on base. You’ve got to be happy to do well in this game,” Gomez said.
Despite the wide range of music styles that blare out with any given batter, Napoli said the choice has its public relations boundaries.
”The music the players choose has to be appropriate for the fans. If the CD cover has the ‘explicit lyrics’ label on it, we’ve got issues,” Napoli said.
What music would you choose?
Tom Amstutz, UT football coach: ”Bad To The Bone,” George Thorogood.
”I think it’s the perfect song for a football coach who likes to see a little aggressiveness out on the football field.”
Anne Baker, director, Toledo Zoo: ”At The Zoo,” Simon and Garfunkel.
Leah D’Emillio, the ”Face of FOXToledo”: ”The Tarantella.”
”It is a fast-paced, traditional Italian song/dance and very energetic. It not only represents my cultural heritage, it’s totally vivacious and fun and would get the crowd going because everyone could start clapping along with the beat.”
Johnny Porkchop Dupree, harmonica player, Voodoo Libido: ”Hoochie Coochie Man (live version),” Muddy Waters.
”That opening offbeat riff, then the lyric, ‘All you pretty women/Stand in line/I will make love to you/In an hour’s time/Ain’t that a man!’ I can see the fear in the pitcher’s bloodshot eyeballs.”
Laura Emerson, anchor, Fox Toledo News: ”Boys of Summer,” Don Henley.
”I can almost feel the sunshine and the wind in my hair when I hear it, and it has enough of a beat at the beginning of the song to get my energy up.”
Nelson Evans, Perrysburg mayor: ”Whipping Post,” The Allman Brothers.
”For the musical intro. It builds from a single bass riff into an all-inclusive instrumental event. It’s very energizing. As far as the words are concerned, sometimes in the mayor’s job you feel like you’re ‘tied to the whipping post’ on issues of local concern. You take the flack for everything that is conceived as going wrong. It’s part of the job and I take my whippings with extreme gratitude. I think it’s great that people participate in government, even though it hurts sometimes.”
Ben Konop, Lucas County Commissioner candidate: ”Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor.
”You get the power chords to pump you up as well as the bold, confident lyrics. Plus, it pays subtle tribute to the first place Detroit Tigers, the team I have suffered with for the last several decades.”
Bob LaClair, president and CEO, Fifth Third Bank, Northwestern Ohio: ”Taking Care of Business,” Bachman Turner Overdrive.
”It’s got a great beat and that’s what I would be trying to do!”
Kevin Milliken, host, ”Eye on Toledo,” 1370 AM: ”Centerfield,” John Fogerty.
”This is a great baseball tune that would get the crowd revved up and get me pumped up to hit one right up the middle.”
Mark Moses, general manager, North Coast Motorcycle: ”Oh, Yeah,” Yellow.
”The tone and beat are memorable and the energy is just slightly arrogant, just what Toledo needs.”
Bernie Quilter, Lucas County clerk of courts: ”Bad to the Bone,” George Thorogood.
”The guitar at the beginning of the song that would get the fans pumped up.”
Tom Richard, sales trainer: ”It’s Raining Men,” The Weathergirls.
”Why? Because the stadium (and opposing team) would be laughing so hard they wouldn’t expect me to knock one out of the park. Underestimated is the best way to go; make them laugh first and I’ll laugh last.”
Judd Silverman, tournament director, Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic: ”You Shook Me All Night Long,” AC/DC.
”That’s always a good song to get the adrenalin going!”
Craig Stough, Sylvania mayor: ”Take Me Out To The Ball Game” Jack Norworth.
”I think the fans should sing every verse.”
Maggie Thurber, Lucas County commissioner: ”You Can Get It If You Really Want,” Jimmy Cliff.
”It’s got a great drum intro, being reggae; it’s got a terrific beat and words that are inspiring. It’s also in line with the thinking most sports psychologist say you need if you’re going to be successful in your game.”
Tricia Courtney Tischler, community relations manager, National MS Society, NWO Chapter: ”Flight of the Valkyrie,” Wagner.
”The notion of me stepping up to the plate in a professional baseball game is so hysterical and utterly ludicrous (as my athletic prowess is footnoted by the basket I sunk for the other team in seventh grade basketball) that an equally fanciful song would only be appropriate. I’m thinking ‘Flight of the Valkyrie.’ You might picture me in a cape and winged helmet, but please don’t.”
Art Weber, photographer: ”Born to be Wild,” Steppenwolf.
”When I wasn’t in the outfield I was a pitcher, a lefty with a sidearm fastball that could run in on a batter, or not. I only sort of knew where it might go. ‘Born to be Wild’ says it all.”
n Brian Wilson, program director, 1370 WSPD: ”Pomp & Circumstances”; ”Ride of the Valkyries”; ”You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd,” Roger Miller.
”Depends on the status of the game at the time …”
Dave Woolford, sports writer: ”Centerfield,” John Fogerty.
”A great baseball song.”