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The Stories Behind our Baseball and Softball Walk-Up Songs

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The walk-up song, at-bat music, intro song, etc., it goes by many names in the baseball and softball worlds, but the music that plays when a batter walks up to the plate or a pitcher heads to the mound has become a storied part of the game. The music may seem like a small detail, as it's just a snippet of a song, yet our Baseball and Softball players often agonize over their song choice for weeks, even months, and fans pay close attention. Last week I posted on our Facebook page asking fans what their walk-up song would be if they played for the Gamecocks and almost 100 people had one to share. A walk-up song represents you in front of the entire stadium and usually reflects your personality or musical taste, so the choice is understandably a big decision. Add in wanting something meaningful AND original and it can be a daunting task. "It takes me forever," said senior pitcher Jose Mata. "I probably had four or five different choices before deciding. I found one finally just a few days before it was due." The Miami native has since decided to revert back to his song from last year, "Shut It Down" by Pitbull featuring Akon.  On the other end of the spectrum, junior Molly Brossart said her choice, "Number One" by Nelly, was an easy pick because, well, she's number one. "I think Adele [Adele Voigt, who wore #1 last year] used it last year so I guess it's tradition now," said Brossart. "I'll pass the tradition on to the next #1 when I leave."

Others turn to teammates and family members for help. Freshman pitcher Julie Sarratt, who is off to a great start this season having pitched two shutouts including one no-hitter, intrigued me with her choice of Britney Spears' "Circus" for her pitching intro song. As it turns out, she decided on it with a senior teammate's help. "I thought of it the night before I had to turn my song in. Ashley [Chastain] had that song two years ago. She showed it to me and it was perfect so she handed it down to me." The song fits a pitcher perfectly as the chorus begins, "all eyes on me in the center of the ring..." The concept of a walk-up song was new to Hannah Milks as a freshman last year since they didn't use them at her high school. She turned to her stepbrother for help and her song, "Big Poppa" by Notorious BIG, was such a hit she kept it for this year. "I like to do things a little out of the norm. I knew I wanted an instrumental. That one just flowed. It's old school, I didn't think anyone else would have it." That a song from just 1995 is now considered "old school" is a topic for another post! Ha!

"Old school" would continue to be a theme among many of the Softball players' choices. Evan Childs' song "S.C.O.M" by Fort Minor featuring Juelz Santana samples the Guns N' Roses classic, "Sweet Child O' Mine" at the beginning. "It was old school but new school at the same time," said Childs. "I think that's really cool. I've never heard anyone else with this batting song so I thought it was original. If you see me in the box I'm usually singing it." Samie Garcia said she decided to go old school with AC/DC's "TNT" after many of her teammates chose hip hop songs and she wanted to be different with some rock n' roll. Garcia's choice caught on as a favorite among her teammates who even sing it for her when she comes up to bat on the road. But of all the answers to "which teammate's song is your favorite?", none was more loved than Lauren Lackey's choice of "Warp 1.9", a techno song by Bloody Beetroots that energizes the entire team. "It's exciting, fans get into it," says Childs. "We fist pump like champs when we hear it." Lackey explained, "it's something different. Everyone likes to have the upbeat rap songs. I just thought nobody would have heard of it, my little brother actually told me about it. It pumped me up so I chose it." Molly Brossart agreed, "that's our fist pumping song. Gets the whole dugout pumped!" We'll have to wait until Softball's next home stand (this weekend, March 11-13 vs. Ole Miss) to see if the crowd gets in on the fist pumping action with the team, but it's only a matter of time.

Fans will also have their favorites of course and certain songs lend themselves well to fan participation and interaction. Pitcher Michael Roth explained, "we're trying to get some fan involvement, makes for a great baseball environment."  Roth is definitely right; I'll always remember the entire Sarge Frye crowd joyously clapping along to John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" whenever Justin Smoak came to bat a few years ago. This year, Christian Walker's use of the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme song has been a fan and team favorite at Carolina Stadium. "The guys were all laughing and a few of my friends here for the first game told me all the fans were talking about it," said Walker. Amusingly enough, the catchy Will Smith tune wasn't even Walker's first choice. Players submit their song choices and student manager Ryan Fischer, Marketing Assistant Darren Uscher, and Director of Baseball Operations Kyle Lipsey work together with the players and coaches to make sure all the players' choices will work as intro songs. When Walker's first choice wasn't available, they suggested the Fresh Prince tune because it was fun and includes a mention of Philadelphia, Walker's home stomping ground. At last Friday's home game vs. Clemson, both the dugout and bullpen did a back and forth arm wave (a la Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray" wave from the same era, which would be another great walk-up song... hint, hint). There are a few other songs and moments throughout the game where the team has a gesture or dance going, so keep an eye on the dugout!

Other fan favorite song choices for Baseball include those made by Michael Roth and Scott Wingo. Roth (pictured below) chose "Sweet Dreams" by La Bouche as his pitching intro and the theme song from the movie Bruno as his hitting song. "A friend showed me the Bruno theme song. I like techno and me and Ryan [Fischer] were like 'YES, this is definitely it'. Ryan listened to it over the sound system," explained Roth. "I like something different, it's a good song. I just try to keep it to my personality. A walk up/intro song should be who you are as a person and I feel like that explains me pretty well, I'm just different."

Michael Roth.jpeg 

Fans and teammates still talk about Wingo's choice last year of "Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire and this year he didn't disappoint with his choice of Montell Jordan's '90s chart-topper "This Is How We Do It". He then debuted a poignant new choice vs. Clemson last Friday, Lil Wayne's "Stuntin Like My Daddy". Wingo's father, Bill, was an All-ACC baseball player at Clemson. Even with his own unique choices, Wingo says one of the best he's ever heard came from an opposing player who stood just 5'5" and came to the plate to the sounds of Too Short's "I Wish", which starts out "I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller..." Reasons for favorites can vary widely. Strength & Conditioning Coach Billy Anderson says his favorite is Adam Matthews' choice of "My Kinda Party" by Jason Aldean because it's his kids' favorite and they always sing along. Assistant Director of Media Relations and Baseball SID Andrew Kitick loves Tyler Webb's pitching song choice, "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones, for its baseball/pitching reference (not to mention black being one of our school colors). Another team favorite is Hialeah/Miami native Adrian Morales' use of "Welcome to Miami" by Will Smith. Roth explains, "I think it's good when they have meaning."

As Roth, Wingo, Morales and others demonstrate, a walk-up song is often a personal message. Volunteer assistant softball coach Chrissy Schoonmaker chose a very meaningful song for her senior season in 2008. Schoonmaker played for the Gamecocks from 2004-06 before suffering a fractured cervical vertebra in a car accident. She triumphantly returned to play in 2008 where she was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team. Her song that season was Kanye West's "Stronger" because of her "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" attitude.

Freshman Drake Thomason found an opportunity with his walk-up song to put talent to good use. He created his own song by piecing together clips and beats from other songs, even working his own name into the song using clips from pop singer Drake. "I started messing around with it. My brother and I have messed around with music before so I know I could do something like that, figured I'd make something about me.  I tried a bunch of stuff and played around with about 10 different songs before deciding."

Another interesting note: "Sandstorm" has only recently taken on a life of its own as a popular anthem for the Gamecocks, but back in 2002 pitcher Blake Taylor used it as his intro song coming to the mound at Sarge Frye. Taylor, perhaps best remembered by fans for his complete game performance to win the final NCAA Regional game vs. North Carolina in 2002, can still be seen today on our videoboard at Carolina Stadium during games as part of his current job with Southern First Bank here in Columbia.

The stories behind these songs go on and on in both baseball and softball. Each team has their special and meaningful ones and fans will always have their favorites. They can pump up the crowd, energize a dugout, or even intimidate an opposing team. So listen up this weekend as both Baseball and Softball play three-game home series and let us know your favorites!!

Writing this post of course got me thinking what I would choose as a walk-up song. So after much deliberation I settled on "Oops, I Did It Again" by Britney Spears, and not just for the name similarity, but because I have a knack for striking out (I might hold the rec league slow-pitch softball record), usually followed by, "Oops." So, what's your story? What would you choose?

- Brittany Lane

Been wondering at the games what song you're hearing? Check out the lists below and let us know your favorites in the comments!

Baseball's Songs:

3    Adrian Morales                        Will Smith-Welcome To  Miami    
4    Robert Beary                            P.O.D-Alive    
5    Patrick Harrington                    T.I.-Pledge Allegiance To The Swag    
6    Peter Mooney                           JT Money-Hit Em High, Hit Em Low    
7    Richard Royal                           Newsboys-Born Again    
8    Scott Wingo                              Montell Jordan-This Is How We Do It   
                                                         Lil Wayne - Stuntin Like My Daddy
9    Steven Neff                               Eric Church-Lotta Boot Left To Fill    
10  Drake Thomason                     Made His Own Mash-Up    
11  Will Casey                                Kid Rock-Warrior    
13  Christian Walker                      Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Theme Song    
14  John Taylor                               Breaking Benjamin-Lights Out    
17  Jose Mata                                 Pitbull feat. Akon-Shut It Down    
18  Dante Rosenberg                    The Outfield-Your Love    
19  Jackie Bradley Jr.                    T.I.- Yeah Ya Know    
20  Jake Watson                            Flux Pavilion-I Can't Stop    
22  Matt Price                                 Price Is Right Theme / Jerimih-My Time    
25  Adam Westmoreland              B.o.B-Don't Let Me Fall    
26  Adam Matthews                       Jason Aldean-My Kinda Party    
27  Forrest Koumas                       Sean Biggs feat. Akon-Never Gonna Get It  
28  Spencer Jordan                       Run DMC-It's Tricky    
29  Michael Roth                            Hitting:Theme From Bruno
                                                         Pitching: La Bouche-Sweetdreams    
30  Erik Payne                                Outkast-Bombs Over Baghdad    
31  Evan Marzilli                             Rick Ross - Maybach Music Part 2
33  Alex Burrell                               Guns-N-Roses-Sweet Child of Mine    
34  Greg Brodzinski                       Trick Daddy ft. Lil Jon -Let's Go    
35  Logan Munson                         Bruce Springsteen-The Rising    
36  Brady Thomas                         Eddie Money-Take Me Home Tonight    
38  Tyler Webb                               The Rolling Stones-Paint It Black    
39  Patrick Sullivan                        Joe Espositio-You're The Best Around    
40  Jake Williams                          Kanye West-Homecoming    
42  DeSean Anderson                  Rick Ross-Speedin Instrumentals    
43  Al Hentz                                    Jason Aldean-Hicktown    
44  Colby Holmes                          Linkin Park-Papercut    
45  Bryan Harper                           Lupe Fiasco-The Show Goes On    

Softball's Songs

1    Molly Brossart                          Nelly - Number One
                                                         Lil Wayne ft. Drake - Right Above It
2    PJ Fulmer                                 Backstreet Boys - Larger than Life
3    Sara Eidt                                  Noo Noo - Aight
                                                         Trick Daddy ft. Lil Jon - Let's Go
4    Lauren Lackey                        Bloody Beetroots -
Warp 1.9
5    Carolynn Bryan                        B.o.B - Bet I Bust
                                                        Big Boi - Kryptonite
6    April Borchardt                        Saliva - Click Click Boom
8    Laura Mendes                         Birdman - I Run This
10  Chelsea Hawkins                    Ya Boy - I Got the Power
11  Evan Childs                             Fort Minor ft. Juelz Santana - S.C.O.M
                                                        Akon ft. Rick Ross - Give it to em
12  Samie Garcia                         AC/DC - TNT
13  Kelley Dillon                            Juelz Santana - Second Coming (Intrumental)
                                                        Skillet -
14  Kylie Morin                              The Kid Espi - Oregon Homeboy
                                                        Travis Porter - Bring It Back
16  Sam Arbaugh                          Lil Wayne - 6 Foot 7 Foot (Instrumental)
                                                        The Hives -
Tick Tick Boom
20  Kaitlin Westfall                        T.I. - Yeah You Know
                                                        Chamillionaire - Good Morning
21  Kierstyn White                        Seether - Out of My Way
                                                        Skillet - Rebirthing
22  Jackie Slawson                      Kevin Rudolf - I Made It
                                                        Drake - Forever
23  Julie Sarratt                            Pitching: Britney Spears - Circus
                                                        Hitting: Diddy - Hello, Good Morning
24  Dana Hathorn                         Kanye West - Power
30  Kaela Jackson                        DJ Kool - Let Me Clear My Throat
33  Ashley Chastain                     Ke$ha - We R Who We R
42  Hannah Milks                           Notorious BIG - Big Poppa
80  Audrey Broyles                       Avenged Sevenfold -
82  Kandyce Redondo                 Lil Wayne - On Fire
                                                        Travis Porter - Go Shorty

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Someone should use "Four Kicks" by The Kings of Leon. It's kind of a fire-you-up song and the refrain is Gamecock-related

"You with your switchblade posse,
I'll get my guns from the south,
We'll take to the yard like a cockfight
Four kicks whose strutting now."

Some time ago, the Georgia Tech leadoff batter used Ludicris' "Welcome to Atlanta" - which fit perfect with their new stadium back then that clearly showed the ATL skyline behind dead centerfield - now thats a good walk up

D.J. Thomas of nc state uses "go dj" by lil wayne when he pitches

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