Walk this way

When you attend a ballgame and a player comes up to bat, a song is played over the PA system.  This is more commonly known as the “walk-up song.”  Pitchers also have warm up and entrance songs.  I guess for the relief pitchers, it should be called a “walk-in” song.  The only other sport I know of with walk-up songs is professional wrestling, where they’re known as “entrance themes.” One of Ric Flair’s walk-up songs was Also Sprach Zarathrusta by Richard Strauss, better known as the theme song of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I wondered when walk-up songs first started.  So I did a little research and discovered that the walk-up song originated in Chicago in 1970  with White Sox organist Nancy Faust.  She had a list of all the players and their home states and when they came up to bat, she would play the theme song for their state.  Eventually, players wanted songs that she couldn’t play on the stadium organ, and a new tradition was born.  The first relief pitcher to have a walk-in song was Trevor Hoffman, in 1998.  Chip Bowers, a Padres employee, flipped through his CD collection and found “Hell’s Bells,” by AC/DC.

What does a walk-up song do, exactly, besides being nice to listen to, that is? A loud, jarring walk-up song can intimidate the opposing pitcher. It gets the fans to sit up and pay attention.  A walk-up song can serve as a calling card, or in opera terms, a leitmotif.  When you hear “Welcome to the Jungle,” you know Carlos Beltran is coming up to bat.  A walk-up song can be an extension of a player’s personality.  Matt Holliday’s walk up song is “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band.  When you hear that song, you can just see him kicking back and enjoying some down time.

Players select their own warm up songs, although they are usually cleared by the team before they’re played.  Baseball is still a family-friendly sport, and any songs with objectionable lyrics are not allowed.  Some players, like David Freese, have walk up songs written just for them. Other players select songs that they enjoy or that have some special meaning for them.

If you want to find out the walk-up song of any MLB player, you can go to this website: www.mlbplatemusic.com.  If you’re interested in finding out the Cardinals’ walk-up songs, you can go here.  The Cardinals’ walk-up songs were last updated on May 25th, however, so some songs may have changed.

I hope you have enjoyed my look at walk-up songs.  See you next time!

Diane

Bibliography:  “Baseball’s Brand New Soundtrack” by Kate Kilpatrick, located at http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports/Baseball-Walk-Up-Music–144150975.html.

United Cardinals Bloggers weekend!

As you may or may not know, this blog is a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers network.  Last weekend was the second annual United Cardinals Bloggers weekend.  On Saturday evening, some of the blog writers got together for a dinner at Patrick’s in Maryland Heights.  Rob Rains provided goody bags for the attendees.  This dinner was sponsored by Any Sports City.  I unfortunately could not attend the festivities, but I hope to go next year.  Rumors are that a good time was had by all.

On Sunday, the Cardinals threw a great party for the United Cardinals Bloggers members at Busch Stadium.  We entered the stadium through the administrative offices.  Lindsey Weber of the Cardinals met us at the front desk and gave us forms to fill out our personal information.

We then proceeded upstairs to the conference room.  The bloggers visited with each other until 12 noon.  Ron Waterman of the Cardinals then called us to sit down.  We sat and listened as John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt gave us reports.  Mr. Mozeliak stated that the Cardinals have a bright future coming and there is lot of depth at the minor league level.  He also mentioned (and so did Mr. Waterman) that the Cardinals were selected as the Organization of the Year not just because of winning the World Series but also because of the minor league prospects. He also stated that the Cards can’t rely on just the minor league; the free agent market also has to be considered when planning for the future.

Mr. DeWitt then took  the floor.  He stated that the Cardinals front office is trying to do a better job as a information team.  They want to be an outreach organization at the social media level of things happening in the front office that are of interest.  More information will be coming from the organization.    He then talked about Ballpark Village.  They are several weeks away from approval at the state level. Once they get the approval, designs can be started.  He was optimistic that they may be able to get started on the design process in late October or early November.  He anticipated opening in the spring of 2014. There will still be some parking.  The plan is 100,000 square feet of  retail entertainment with a large plaza for entertainment and the Hall of Fame museum.  There will be ticketed rooftop seating to watch games.

Mr. DeWitt stated that attendance has been good this year.  They try to stay in the top 10 of revenue of major league clubs.  St. Louis is a small market team and they are in the bottom third of media revenue.  The Cardinals can act like a top third media club because of the great attendance.

Mr. Waterman then opened up the floor to questions for Mr. DeWitt and Mr. Mozeliak.  After the Q&A session was over, the floor was turned over to the chef, who explained the different kinds of food available at Busch Stadium and then gave us the menu for lunch that day.  The guys’ eyes glazed over after she mentioned bacon wrapped hot dogs.  They didn’t hear anything else after that.  LOL!

We then went to our seats in party rooms 304 (the Jack Buck room) and 306 (the Lou Brock room).  Room 304 had the bacon wrapped hot dogs (which were yummy with BBQ sauce), nachos, salad, coleslaw and desserts.  Room 306 had build your own macaroni and cheese, which unfortunately I did not get to try.  We were able to go between both party rooms.  We sat at the tables, ate, and caught up with old (and new) friends.

Courtesy of  Daniel Shoptaw

From left to right:  Lindsey Weber, yours truly, Christine Coleman (of Aaron Miles’ Fastball) and Mary Schless (photo courtesy of Daniel Shoptaw).

We all gave Lindsey suggestions for next year’s get together. Hopefully, she’ll remember them!

The game was good too until the top of the 9th when Jason Motte gave up a home run.  The Cards ended up winning the game and avoided the sweep, thankfully. Here’s a photo of all the bloggers that were there – can you find me?

Thanks to Daniel Shoptaw who set up the whole weekend and the Cardinals, who put on a classy party for all of us.  I had a great time and can’t wait until next year’s United Cardinals Bloggers weekend!

That’s all for now!  See you next time!

Diane

Ms. Diane’s Guide to Manners at the Ballgame

Baseball is a civilized sport, and its fans should be civilized too.  Attending a game at the ballpark should be a pleasant experience.  Not only are you watching a baseball team you love, you should also be having a fun time with your family and/or friends.  Unfortunately, there are some fans that spoil the fun.  Let’s lay down a few rules to help make attending a baseball game a good experience.

  1. Watch your language.  And I don’t mean using run on sentences or the wrong tense of a verb.  I’m talking about cursing.  Fans bring their children to a ballgame and they will not appreciate having to tell them the meaning of that word you used.  If you wouldn’t use that language in front of your mother, then don’t say it at the ballpark.  If drinking makes your language more “colorful,” then perhaps you should only drink at home or at a bar.
  2. Don’t smoke in your seat.  Smoke is irritating to non-smokers. You will be removed from the stadium.  Busch Stadium has designated smoking areas at Gates 1, 2, and 4.
  3. Don’t let your kids kick the seat in front of them.  I went to a game a couple of weeks ago and the kid who was sitting behind me kept kicking my seat. I turned around and glared at him a couple of times, but he didn’t seem to get the message and the dad seemed to be oblivious to what his kid was doing.  I finally moved up to the edge of my seat so that I wouldn’t feel the kicking.  The simple rule of “keep your hands and feet to yourself” is always good to teach your children.
  4. Be courteous and careful when you try to catch foul balls/home run balls. Don’t dive over everyone else or push people out of the way so you can get that foul ball/home run ball.  You could seriously injure someone (or yourself).  And if there is a child sitting near you, consider giving that child the ball.  Children are future baseball fans.  If we are nice to kids and go out of our way to make the game a pleasant experience for them, they will want to become baseball fans too.
  5. Be polite if you have to leave your seat during the game. Say “excuse me” if you have to leave your seat to go to the bathroom or to the concession stand.  Try to limit leaving your seat to the time between innings or between halves of innings.  It’s hard to watch the game when there are people standing and moving in front of you.  If you are seated and a person is trying to get to the aisle, please stand up to make it easier for the person to get through.
  6. Be courteous to stadium workers. They are often standing for hours either directing fans to their seats or working in the concession stand.  Be nice and say “please” and “thank you,” and smile at them.  They’re working hard to make your ballgame experience a pleasant one.
  7. Be courteous when asking players for autographs. And don’t be upset or angry if you don’t get an autograph.  The schedule can be pretty tight and there may not be much time for players to stop and give autographs before the game starts.  After the game, players are tired and they may just want to get home and relax, just like we do after a long day at work.  If you do get an autograph, don’t forget to say “thank you.”
  8. If drinking makes you obnoxious, then don’t drink at the ballpark.  If you want to watch the game and get drunk and obnoxious, do it in your own home or at a bar.  Being around a drunk at a ballgame does not make for a good experience. If you do happen to be sitting close to an obnoxious drunk at a ballgame, let an usher know so that the person can be removed from the stadium.
  9. Don’t use racial or sexual orientation slurs.  Like cursing, this is something that is very hard to explain to a child. It also makes you sound pretty stupid.
  10. Please dress modestly. This is mostly directed at the ladies, although sometimes there are guys who take their style cues from plumbers and let their butt cracks show.  The rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t wear it in front of your mother or your children, then don’t wear it to the ballpark.
  11. Clean up when you leave.  Make sure you have all your personal belongings and throw away your trash.  There are lots of receptacles to recycle plastic bottles in the stadium.  The folks that clean up the stands would be very appreciative if you take a couple minutes to pick up your trash.

If you have any other suggestions to make for good manners at the ballpark, please leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane