What’s your walk-up song?

This past week, a co-worker shared this episode by Kansas Public Radio with me.  To celebrate the return of Major League Baseball, KPR asked members of its own staff to share what song they’d pick as their own personal walk-up song.  I listened to the episode while doing some housework the other night (can I just mention what a privilege it is to be able to listen to cool stuff while doing chores?), and it was fascinating to hear what these individuals each chose as their tunes.  One guy chose the Bagel Bites jingle from the 1990s commercial, which I found most amusing of the choices.  Each staffer explains why they selected their song, and the program even goes on to play each song.  If that sort of thing interests you, I encourage you to give the episode a listen, as well.

Of course, this also got me thinking about what I would choose as my own walk-up song, and I have to confess, I’m finding it hard to choose.  I do feel like Smash Mouth’s “All Star” is pretty hard to beat, but I imagine it would also be an overused selection:


But then, the chorus of Papa Roach’s “Face Everything and Rise” provides quite the pump up without being quite as mainstream:

Or if you’d rather get away from lyrics, at the moment I’d probably go with one of the instrumental portions of Code Black’s “Tonight Will Never Die”:


To be honest, I could probably go on and on for days listing possible songs, so for the sake of brevity, we’ll stop this list at three.  And honestly, if I were to do this again tomorrow, my top three would likely be completely different.  I’ve decided that the most logical solution to this problem, in the unlikely event that I ever do become a big league ballplayer, is that I’ll just have to make a point to bribe the PA team to play a different song with each at-bat.  That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

But now, I’m curious: what tune would you choose as your walk-up song?


“Casey @ the Bat Analytics,” by Mitchell Nathanson

This parody of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey At the Bat” was published in 2019 by Mitchell Nathanson, author of A People’s History of Baseball.  Not only does it incorporate modern-day metrics like WAR, PitchTrax, and exit velocity, the poem also paints a frighteningly accurate picture of today’s in-stadium crowds.  The piece is very well done, and in spite of shaking my head in recognition, I find that I rather enjoy it.

*

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney whiffed again, the eighteenth K that night,
A sickly silence fell, for somehow baseball wasn’t right.

A straggling few got up and left, annoyed they even came;
And most who stayed were kind of drunk or wagered on the game.
Yet still to come was Casey, whom the fans had long extolled,
Though at the age of 31 the metrics deemed him old.

But first ahead was Flynn, a player much accursed;
His BABIP was atrocious, and his WAR was even worse.
Another guy came up as well, his name recalled by few;
Confusion sowed by double switches made in hour two.

But Flynn defied the numbers, making contact with the ball;
And sent it on a mighty arc — it caromed off the wall.
—The guy should be on third,— a salty graybeard spat and cursed,
As Flynn removed his batting gloves, a jogger still at first.

The other guy, as well, reached base, a waiver-wire addition;
Dropped by a last place club dumping salary without contrition;
And when the blaring music stopped, fans noticed what occurred,
Instead of crossing o’er the plate, young Flynn just jogged to third.

As Casey stepped into the box, the scoreboard roared “Make Noise!”;
Which the crowd most surely would’ve done, if not for all their toys.
About 5,000 hometown fans were checking in on Twitter;
So most remained oblivious to Casey as the hitter.

Ten thousand eyes were somewhere else as he scratched upon the dirt;
And Velcro-strapped his batting gloves and touched six places on his shirt.
And kissed his bat, then tapped the plate nine times or maybe 10;
Then from the box did Casey step, and start it all again.

The pitcher’s antics on the mound were also quite a show;
Whole seasons seemed to pass before he hinted at a throw.
Yet here it came, the cowhide sphere, arriving at great speed;
‘strike one,— the umpire firmly called. But PitchTrax disagreed.

The fans who watched upon their phones could see it plain: outside;
Unless their phones had zero bars, or batteries had died.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” the fans all stood and roared;
At least so roared the older ones, the younger ones seemed bored.

Two strikes remained. The oldsters, fretting, began to wring their hands;
While younger fans, in hour four, sped toward concession stands.
Then Casey dug in once again; the second spheroid flew,
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, ‘strike Two.’

“Fraud!” cried the maddened few at all the blue-clad, rulebound fools,
While waving off the heady clouds sent up from nearby Juuls.
Now Casey’s face grew stern and cold, the fans all rose as one;
As midnight neared their hope was clear: just let the game be done.

As Casey runs the metrics, and adjusts his swing for lift;
The fielders check their little cards, and drift into a shift.
And now the pitcher fires a rocket off, despite his ample gut;
And now the air is shattered by great Casey’s uppercut.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sport is as it used to be;
And fans still hang on Casey’s fate, not exit velocity.
But that era’s gone — don’t cry into your $15 beer;
While all the laughing children shout, “Football season’s here!”


“From Nails to Thumbtacks,” The Baseball Project

Here’s a good Baseball Project tune to start your Tuesday.  This song is all about the rise and fall of Lenny Dykstra, who was considered to be one of the heroes of the 1986 World Series, but has since fallen into so much legal and financial trouble that earlier this year, a court in New York ruled that he is “libel-proof,” meaning his behavior and character are so awful even false statements cannot harm his reputation.


Double runs

So long as the 2020 season is already twisted, maybe we can just play ball the Calvin & Hobbes way this year.  Scoring this play would be interesting.  Do you think this counts as two RBIs?  Two hits in one at-bat?

Double runs.jpg

Bill Watterson


“The Kid” baseball cartoon

I’m having a difficult time finding additional information about this short video, so if anyone happens to know anything about it, let me know!  I stumbled across this clip this morning, but the poster of the video didn’t include any information about it.  I’m not sure who created the cartoon, nor if the creator had a particular player in mind (“The Kid” seems like a fairly popular nickname in baseball).  I’m also curious about the song.  Listening to it, it sounds vaguely familiar for some reason, but I can’t put my finger on why that is.

In any case, even if you don’t know anything about the origins of this video, it’s a fun little short to watch, and I imagine the song will be stuck in my head the rest of the morning.


Road kill

I’m not sure I 100% agree with these vultures.  Putrid is putrid, no matter the venue.  I will say, though, that while I enjoy hot dogs at home, they do somehow manage to taste even better at the ballpark.

Road Kill comic

Steve Moore


“Ode to the Mets,” The Strokes

I was a big fan of The Strokes through my time in college and grad school, but I haven’t paid much attention to them in recent years.  So my thanks goes out to Jackie, a.k.a. The Baseball Bloggess, for sharing this gem with me!

The lyrics of this song look back at the band’s career and their history in New York City, where they grew up together. The title of the song, of course, references the New York Mets, whom lead singer Julian Casablancas calls the team of his youth. Casablancas wrote the song after the Mets lost Game 7 of the 2016 NL Wild Card to the San Francisco Giants — a loss that exacerbated the frustrations of fans of a team that has not won a World Series since 1986. The band views the name as symbolic, with the Mets representing something that you set your heart on, but that continues to disappoint.


“Baseball Bill,” Echo & The Bunnymen

I confess, the lyrics to this tune are pretty trippy, though I suppose that’s to be expected, coming from a group called Echo & The Bunnymen.  Nevertheless, I really like it!  There’s something very catchy about the song that makes it just stick with you.


Home run trot

Clearly, this coach needs to re-evaluate their priorities.  You just never know when you might need to break out the home run trot, especially at the Little League level.  It’s best to stay prepared at all times.  Hopefully coach is at least allowing the team to practice the bat flip?  Because nothing teaches sportsmanship like perfecting the art of showing off.

Family Circus home run trot


“(Give it Up For) Buck O’Neil,” Bob Walkenhorst

Buck O’Neil is hailed as a legend, especially here in the Kansas City area.  Not only was O’Neil a great ballplayer, but his achievements off the field were arguably even greater. He not only worked to spread interest in the Negro leagues, he also played a huge part in the establishment of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.