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This Week's Question: Walk-Up Music


This week's question is geared toward putting readers just a bit deeper into the heads of our PBBC authors. It has nothing to do with writing and only tangentially to do with baseball, but it nonetheless manages to sing: What is your walk-up song -- the music you'd choose to have played while you make your way to the plate?


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Boston: “Smokin”

This really frickin’ dates me, doesn’t it? Like carbon dating, or the number of rings around a giant Sequoia.

Chris Haft

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The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: “Fire”

My old softball team played walk-up music through a beat box for each hitter. Given that the first 15 seconds or so of any walk-up song are what really matters, this was my pick.

Jason Turbow

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Mick Jagger: “Memo from Turner”

I've been waiting for someone to ask me this question ever since there've been walkup songs. If you can't make solid contact after grooving to Ry Cooder's wicked opening riff you don't belong on the field.

Mitchell Nathanson

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Link Wray: “Rumble”

Shirley Ellis: “Nitty Gritty”

Every real and wannabe ballplayer chooses a walk-up song they feel represents them. I'm convinced, however, that it's more about how they want to be perceived by thousands of people, and may not actually be their most representative song. Everyone has a chosen walk-up song and a more realistic walk-up song. Here are mine:

My chosen walk-up song would be "Rumble," the first and only instrumental song to be banned from the radio over concerns it would actually start one. Plus, Link Wray taught my dad to play guitar, which I think is kickass.


My more representative walk-up song is this, partly for the song, which I love, partly in hopes that my energy level and approach would match the kid in the video.

Anika Orrock

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Richard Wagner: “Ride Of The Valkyries”

If this song doesn't inspire one to greatness, nothing will!

D.B. Firstman

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New Order: “Temptation”

Eric Nusbaum

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Grateful Dead: “Truckin’ ”

At the 1:47 mark:

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me Other times, I can barely see Lately, it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been


Joan Ryan

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Elvis Presley: “Also Sprach Zarathustra/See See Rider”

As they announce my name, I linger on deck as they play a few bars of Also Sprach Zarathustra, which segues the drum solo for See See Rider, during which I slowly walk to the plate. It's time to TCB: take care of business, baby. It was good enough for my wedding intro, so it's good enough for my walk-up music. [Ed. note: There’s no way that a wedding intro could take this much time, let alone a stroll to the plate. Nice try, Mark.]

Mark C. Healey

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: "I Won't Back Down"

Jon Pessah


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The Bangles: "Eternal Flame"

Walk-up music was actually my Plan B in getting to Vince Coleman for The Wax Pack. I didn't put this in the book, but when Plan A (getting Coleman's attention at spring training by yelling out "I know about your Uncle Carter's sweet potato pies!") failed, Plan B was to write a story about his buddy Royce Clayton's business customizing walk-up songs for players. I wrote it solely for the opportunity to interview Vincent Van Go as a source. The plan worked perfectly I got Vince's cell number from Royce, texted him and set up a phone call. I asked my questions about (the lack of) walk-up music in the 1980s, and then pulled the ol' bait-and-switch: "So, Mr. Van Go, would you reconsider my request to appear in The Wax Pack?"


"Nope." 

But I digress. My walk-up song would undoubtedly be "Eternal Flame," because the syrupy sound of Susanna Hoffs' voice would surely throw off the opposing pitcher. And it's a wonderful song.

Brad Balukjian



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