Walk-up music has become such an ingrained element of baseball that I have specific memories attached to it. They begin with a mid-’90s road trip to Toronto for a Blue Jays game, during which my friend ranted that there was no place in baseball for music prior to each at-bat. It was common practice in Canada at the time, not as much so in our native Baltimore. Some 15 years later – now accustomed to the practice and therefore likely to tune out most songs – I chuckled the first time I heard Toby Keith’s “I’m Not as Good as I Once Was” as Miguel Tejada strolled to the plate at Camden Yards.
Joe Lemire digs into the stories behind players’ walk-up music in his fun piece “Inside the prank-filled, throughly-researched world of at-bat music” on SI.com.
Here’s an excerpt:
Ah, yes, the pranks. Take this one, courtesy of the Rangers’ Michael Young, who comes out to Beastie Boys songs “Sure shot” and “Sabotage.” While playing for Class A Hagertown in a 1998 game at Cape Fear, N.C.
Young recounts an amusing incident in which the girlfriend of an opponent wanted to give her boyfriend a nice surprise and had the player’s intro song switched — to Boyz 2 Men’s “End of the Road.”
“I think it was the end of the road after that,” Young said. “When he found out, I think he kicked her to the curb.
“Guys were laughing about it for the whole series.”
Ah, “End of the Road.” Boyz II Men could make Metallica sound romantic, so the tune ended up on many a 1990s teenager’s romantic mixtape thereby creating adolescent confusion before Facebook was there to do it for us. But I digress.
Reading Lemire’s piece inspired me to do some Orioles-related digging on walk-up music.
Anybody remember the 2008 debut of Kevin Millar’s blonde locks and “Ice Ice Baby” walk-up music?
Now go back a bit further. Test your knowledge of which Orioles batters used these walk-up songs in 2004:
“Sweet Home Alabama”
“Hot in Herre”
“Sultans of Swing”
“Hit ‘Em Up”
“Shake it Fast”
See how well you did here.