Walk-up songs tradition for baseball players, fans alikeSARAH PACKINGHAM: One of the traditions that is so important to players is none other than the walk-up song.
With the game of baseball comes many traditions. These traditions are eagerly awaited in the cold winter months, by not only players, but fans as well. They are something to look forward to each spring, when baseball begins again.
Some of those traditions include the seventh-inning stretch (complete with a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”), Cracker Jack, and tailgating with friends.
Traditions are not only for fans, but players as well. Some players have specific pregame rituals (Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau eats the same pregame meal each day) while some have what they deem to be their pair of lucky socks.
But one of the traditions that is so important to players is none other than the walk-up song. A walk-up song is generally chosen by a player prior to the season. A player might have the same song, or another by the same musician, year after year; players often choose their songs, but sometimes a song is chosen for them.
Such was the case for Duluth Huskies infielder Conor Szczerba this season.
Upon arriving in Duluth, Szczerba didn’t have a song picked out, so the Huskies organization picked one for him. And now, midway through the season, it’s stuck. The song chosen for Szczerba was “Circle of Life” from the movie “The Lion King.”
“I played pretty well,” said Szczerba of his first game with the song. “So they made me keep it. Now everyone on the team calls me ‘Simba.’”
Normally though, he would have chosen some type of country music song because it’s the type of music that helps him relax before a big at-bat.
Being able to relax prior to batting is important and is often a factor in why a song is chosen.
“I walk up to ‘California Girls’ by Katy Perry,” said Max Duval. “I chose it mainly because it is goofy. It takes the edge off a stressful at-bat and helps to remind me that it is just one at-bat or just one game. This helps keep me from getting too wrapped up in success or failure.”
Duval is also from California, so he thought the song seemed fitting for his summer in Duluth.
Often, songs are chosen because they are done by a favorite musician. For the Huskies’ Taylor Burch, that is the case this season.
Burch walks out to “Pledge Allegiance to the Swag” by T.I.
“Just as most athletes, I like to play with my own unique ‘swag’ that makes me feel good and confident to play the best I can,” he explained. “I feel that ‘Pledge Allegiance to the Swag’ puts a twist on our nation’s pledge by gaining respect and recognition to the swagger I play with, just as the U.S.’s pledge of allegiance gains respect and recognition for everything our country stands for.”
Sunday, July 22, is the last chance to hear the Huskies’ walk-up songs until they return home July 30 after the league’s all-star break.
Duluthian Sarah Packingham writes about sports for the Budgeteer. Contact her at email@example.com.