GVSU baseball players reflect on walk-up song choices
Alex Young stole his. Matt Williams did too. Zach Berry didn't have a choice, but wishes he did.
Before every at-bat at Grand Valley State baseball home games, players are treated to a quick snippet of a song of their choosing. Walk-up songs can reflect a player's personality, mold an identity, or, in some cases, be used to loosen up the freshmen.
Or maybe not.
"Seniors get to pick freshman walk-up songs and my song is 'The Cuppy Cake Song.' It's brutal to say the least," Berry said. "I don't even know what it is, but whenever it comes on people just start dying laughing. I'm dying laughing, it's hard for me to focus, I do my best.
"It's kind of embarrassing. The seniors actually gave me a warning before I heard it first, but once it came over the loudspeaker... It's brutal."
Prior to the season, each Laker picked a walk-up song. GVSU tradition, however, dictates that seniors get to choose walk-up songs for freshmen, leading to embarrassing choices like Berry's "Cuppy Cake Song."
Young, GVSU's speedy leadoff hitter, opens home contests with the bass-and-trumpet filled "El Chapo," courtesy of The Game and Skrillex.
"Big fan of UFC... (We're) big Conor McGregor fans, so the last fight we all got together and watched it and that's the song he came out to, so we were all trying to figure out what it was and it was that song, so it kind of just stuck," Young said.
When outfielder and DH Jason Ribecky strides to the plate, often in the two-hole, Whitesnake's classic "Here I Go Again" rips over the field. One could assume the only road Ribecky's ever known is baseball, but it's often the baseballs off his bat that hit the cement beyond GVSU's right field fence.
Williams, always a staple in the middle of the Laker lineup, has a pair of options. As a hitter, Williams rolls to DMX's classic, "Ruff Ryders' Anthem." When he comes in as a closer, however, Williams bumps to a different option.
"I'm a really big fan of my pitching walkout," Williams said. "It's called 'Freaks' by Timmy Trumpet. I have to give credit to the swimmers on that one. Gianni Ferrero, national champion, that was his walkout... I have to give some credit on that."
Anthony Villar, who often bats in the cleanup spot, steps back into the past with the Johnny Cash classic, "God's Gonna Cut You Down." When he finds a gap, and he does often, Villar gets the luxury to run on for a long time, concurrent with his walk-up music choice.
Catcher Connor Glick fluctuates through the middle of GVSU's order, but sticks firm to the Irish thumper "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys. Glick doesn't have Irish heritage, but is considerate of the fans in attendance.
"I don't know, I just liked it. It kind of got me pumped up and I think everyone likes it," Glick said. "I feel like the walk-up songs are more for the crowd than anyone else."
Corner outfielders Seth Johnson and Keith Browning usually follow. Johnson, who specializes in doubles, struts to the bass-kicking, electronica vibes of "Live For The Drop" by Capital Kings. Browning opts for "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. It's a fitting choice, as solid contact at the plate leads to good vibrations on the bat.
Middle infielders and double-play partners Josh Smith and Johnny Nate, the latter of which has a case for the All-GLIAC name team, don't agree on their preferred genres. Smith vibes to rap hit "Really, Really" by Kevin Gates, while Nate gets his country on with Brantley Gilbert's "Kick It In The Sticks."
For better or for worse, walk-up songs are part of America's pastime. They can give a psychological edge for a hitter or pitcher, or can be used as a baptizing method for green freshmen. One thing is clear: players tend to be happier when they choose their own.