Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic

Charleston Daily Mail Special - Players' Walk-Out Music

Kudos to Jacob Messer and the Charleston Daily Mail for having some fun with this:


Link while active, text follows --




Ballpark hits

Jacob Messer

Charleston Daily Mail Sportswriter


There's always a price you pay


No matter what you do


If you're gonna climb


That mountain to the top


It always comes down to


How bad do you want it?


How bad do you need it?


Are you eatin', sleepin', dreamin'


With that one thing on your mind?


. . .'Cause if you want it all


You've got to lay it all out on the line


Tim McGraw


"How Bad Do You Want It"


Almost three years have passed since country music star Tim McGraw released "How Bad Do You Want It," but Andy Bouchie still gets goose bumps when he hears that song.


For Bouchie, the West Virginia Power's starting catcher, there is a connection between him and that song.


To him, it is the musical equivalent of his baseball biography.


"I listened to that song when it first came out, and it just fired me up big time," Bouchie said. "Every word in that song relates to chasing your dreams, and that's exactly what I'm doing here."


Bouchie hears that song every time West Virginia plays at Appalachian Power Park because he and his teammates approach the plate or take the mound to hand-picked songs known as walk-out music. Their songs play over the sound system before the start of an at-bat for a hitter or the start of an inning for a pitcher.


Some teams don't give their players an option. Instead, they simply cue up the latest (and not greatest) edition of Jock Jams.


Think "Cotton-Eyed Joe" or "Who Let The Dogs Out?"


The Power, however, allows its players to select their own songs.


Choosing his walk-out music was an easy decision for Bouchie, who didn't consider another song.


"That's what I base my life on," Bouchie said. "Not that song, but the principle of it. The words to that song are in my soul and in my head."


Walking to the plate with his song blaring over the Power Park sound system gives Bouchie "little chills" mainly because of its significance to him.


"It reminds me to just keep striving and working for everything I want to achieve," he said.


Power General Manager Ryan Gates said players give their requests to Kristin Call, who is the team's director of promotions. If a player doesn't select a song, Call or one of her front-office colleagues picks one for him.


Don't underestimate the value in this perk. Players appreciate and enjoy it.


"That was one of the things I heard about in spring training," closer Omar Aguilar said. "I couldn't wait to get here because I never had a walk-out song, but I always wanted one.


"I like the fact that it's your song. People know this guy is hitting or that guy is pitching because his song is playing. They know this guy or that guy is coming out now."


"It's nice," second baseman Kenny Holmberg added. "They could just pick our songs for us. But they give us a choice."


It is a choice the players take seriously.


Outfielder Stephen Chapman said players started thinking about their selections before they arrived in Charleston.


"Everybody was walking around (the Milwaukee Brewers' spring training complex in Arizona) talking about it and asking each other what song they were going to pick," Chapman said. "I think everybody cares about it quite a bit."


Much like the clothes they wear and the cars they drive, the songs players choose can offer insight into their personality.


"It sets you apart," said reliever Travis Wendte, who describes his song -- "Hammer Down" by Cross Canadian Ragweed, an Oklahoma-formed-but-Texas-based alternative-country band -- as weird but good. "It shows your taste in music."


"It's a good way for players to connect with fans and fans to connect with players," starting pitcher Zach Braddock said.


Personalized walk-out music is one aspect of the home field advantage that Appalachian Power Park offers.


"It's an absolute plus to play at home," former Power outfielder/first baseman Michael Brantley said before Milwaukee promoted him to Class AA Huntsville (Ala.) last month.


"If you're on the road, they play a song and you don't know what it is, and you're listening to it and you're trying to figure it out, and it's a distraction.


"That's why I love playing at home. That's what gets me

focused. I listen to the song ("I'mma Shine" by YoungBloodz), take a deep breath and then I get in the box."


The Power staff sometimes ditches the players' walk-out music in exchange for theme-oriented tunes for promotions such as Super Hero Night. But that doesn't happen very often.


"They are kind of particular about their songs," Call said. "They don't want us playing anything else. That's what they like to hear right before (they hit or pitch). That's the song that gets them ready to go."


There seems to be a cultural difference in the way players select songs.


The American players tend to base their picks on the music.


Starting pitcher Brae Wright, for example, picked "Ooh Aah" by Grits because "it's easy on the ears."


The Latin players, on the other hand, tend to place more importance on the lyrics.


Starting pitcher Luis Ramirez, for example, selected Daddy Yankee's "Machucando" because it is about "being happy and having fun."


"I like what he is saying on the song," Ramirez said through utility player Jimmy Mojica, who interprets for his Spanish-speaking teammates. "It's the song that goes with me."


Superstition also can play a part in song selection.


Take third baseman Taylor Green, for example.


He was 11-for-46 (.239) from April 5 through May 2.


Unhappy with his success -- or lack thereof -- at the plate, Green changed his walk-out music May 4 in the first game of a homestand.


He switched from "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria to "Layla" by Eric Clapton.


Coincidentally, he is 58-for-164 (.354) since May 5.


"Oh, yeah, it was 100 percent superstition," said Green, whose batting average has improved to .329 in that span.


"The only reason I picked it was for good luck. It had been a lucky song for me in the past. The other one wasn't working too well for me."


Four other players recently changed their songs.


Chapman switched from Eminem's "You Don't Know" to Da Shop Boyz's "Party Like A Rock Star."


Holmberg swapped "Running With A Gun" by Slightly Stoopid for "Like What I Got" by Mike Jones.


Outfielder/first baseman Andrew Lefave replaced Metallica's "Am I Right" with Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold."


First baseman John Alonso exchanged "Zoom" by Bad Azz for "Wipe Me Down" by Lil Boosie.


"I felt like it was time for a change," Alonso said. "I wanted something new to kick off the second half of the season."


Fortunately for Call, not all of the players switch songs when they fall into a slump at the plate, in the field or on the mound.


Otherwise, she might not get any of her work done.


"For the most part, we tell the guys up front to pick a song you like and stick with it," Call said. "It gets frustrating changing them throughout the season.


"But they have hit the halfway point in the season. They want to change. That's fine."


Players also differ in the effects they seek from their songs.


Some want their songs to calm them down.


Like Aguilar, who takes the mound to Kymani Marley's "Warriors."


"I love reggae music," Aguilar said. "It makes me relax. Usually, I'm the closer. So, I go out there all hyped up.


"I have to relax. Every time I had to do that in college, I listened to reggae music. I pitch better and throw harder when I'm relaxed. It still gives me a little edge, but it soothes me and relaxes me on the mound.


Others want their songs to pump them up.


Like Braddock, who toes the rubber to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."


"I just love the way it starts to rock at the beginning," Braddock said. "It's that last little adrenaline boost (I need) before I pitch."


Here is an interesting revelation, considering all of the thought and effort the players put into their picks: They often don't hear their songs because they are focused on the situation and task facing them.


"You might hear it on your first at-bat," said outfielder Chuckie Caufield, who chose "Bring It Back" by Jae Millz.


"After that, though, you get into the flow of the game and you don't pay much attention to it."


That isn't the case with catcher Martin Maldonado, however.


"I'm waiting for my music," said Maldonado, who exits the dugout to "Intro-El Rey" by Don Omar. "I want to hear it before I go to bat. It helps me stay focused and feel comfortable."


Relievers' songs often aren't played -- or if they are played, they often aren't heard -- because of the promotions that occur between innings.


"We get the AT&T Call To The Bullpen when we come out," Wendte said. "That takes a little while. But the starters have to listen to SpongeBob SquarePants. So, I guess it's fair.


"When I hear my song, it's cool. When I don't hear it, it doesn't really bother me because I'm not really paying much attention to it anyway."


The players agree their songs don't affect their performances.


"I don't think music helps you or hurts you," said reliever D.J. Lidyard, who is the only player on the current roster who doesn't have a specific song.


"It makes me a lot more comfortable when I go up to the plate," Green added, "but I don't think it makes too much of a difference."


Charleston Daily Mail Photo: Tom Hindman

West Virginia second baseman Kenny Holmberg strides to the plate at Appalachian Power Park earlier this month as his walk-out music plays.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Brewer Fanatic Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premier Brewers community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of Brewer Fanatic.

  • Create New...