When you spend as much time thinking about baseball walk-up music as I do, eventually you have to figure out what your at-bat song would be.
With a few exceptions, I don’t know how professional baseball players choose what music they want to hear when they come to the plate (or, in the case of relief pitchers [my favorite!], what music plays when they run from the bullpen to the mound). I know Troy Tulowitzki (allegedly) picks songs kids want to hear (although if you want to know the truth, I really think he actually does have atrocious taste in music, actually likes Justin Bieber, and wanted to use Justin Bieber as his music all along and just did that whole “let the fans pick my music” thing so nobody would realize he actually likes Justin Bieber, and you see how that turned out — now we all know that Troy Tulowitzki actually likes Justin Bieber). Someone commented on my Rockies 2010 post saying that Ryan Spilborghs used Tainted Love last year because Soft Cell was a one-hit wonder and he thought he would be, too. Spilly is awesome. (If anybody knows the story behind Roxanne this year, let me know.) Ian Stewart is known for changing his music all the time — as Troy Renck tweeted last year, “Ian Stewart has more walk-up songs than Rodman had hairdos.”
Picking an at-bat song seems like one of those things that would be awesome to do, until you have to do it and you freeze up and are unable to make a decision. On the one hand, you just want to pick an awesome song. On the other hand, you know this is a big deal. You have to pick a song that’s going to make you feel bad ass (or however you want to feel when you’re at the plate). You also realize that, on some level, people are going to judge you by what song blasts (or in the case of Coors Field, softly wafts) from the speakers every time you come up to bat. Are you man enough to be an unabashed Bieber-lover? Do you want to stay true to your roots with some reggaeton? Are you a down-home pickup truck driver who likes twangy country? When you’re a baseball player, your song is part of who you are, at least to the people who are weird enough to be so into baseball that they even notice these things — and hey, those are the people who matter!
I don’t know whether I’d change my music every year. Unless you’re Joe Beimel bringing your bad-ass tattooed arm and killer attitude in from the bullpen over the intimidating strains of God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash, you might want variety from one year to the next. In that case, the process of picking a song might be a little less intimidating.
But if you had to pick just one song, what would it be?
I’ve thought about it plenty of times, but I’ve never committed. I suppose it’s time for me to settle down with what would be my song if I were a professional baseball player.
You know how when you’re a kid, you have things like a favorite band and a favorite song? I don’t think adults really do that. But if I had to pick a favorite song, this would be it. I remember writing a blog post about it a long time ago (Live Journal tragically won’t let me go far enough back to find it tonight, and believe me, scrolling through blog posts I wrote in 2005 was tragic enough, thanks). I think I referred to it as the best song in the universe or some shit. It’s a song I never skip if it comes on when I’m running. I’d blast the hell out of it while driving with my windows down no matter where I’m driving. (I’ll be honest. There are some songs I’m embarrassed to be blasting in my car with the windows down, especially if I’m somewhere like downtown where people are out and about hearing that shit. That’s pretty lame and I should get over it, but people judge you by your at-bat music and nobody cares about your driving-around-with-the-windows-down music, especially when you’re some dorky woman in a bugeye Subaru, but sometimes you want to pretend you’re more important in the universe than you are.) It’s a song I’d blast while dancing around the house by myself when I have the chance to do that again and I wouldn’t rather try to take a nap while the soothing sounds of baseball fill the living room before Ben and Soren get back from the store. It’s a song I thought I’d want to listen to while in labor (that one ended up being wrong and I wholeheartedly rejected my entire 11.2-hour (no lie) I’m-in-labor-kicking-ass-and-giving-birth-bitches playlist in favor of sitting on the couch wanting to die most of the time).
It’s a song that does something to my soul the way no other song does. Don’t get me wrong — I love other songs, some of them so much I’m getting all wound up just thinking about them and I want to tell you about some of them but don’t even get me started because there are so many and I’d worry about leaving something out. (New playlist idea: Tracy’s Rejected At-Bat Songs.) I don’t know why this song speaks to me the way it does. I’m really not its intended audience. I don’t come from where it comes from and I haven’t experienced the struggles it addresses. But somehow with music, that doesn’t matter. Deep in our hearts where we feel these things, maybe we’re all the same. That kind of thing makes me really love people, you know?
Anyway, here it is. I’m at bat.