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When I was a kid I used to imitate the swings of pro ball players with my friends and imagine myself in their shoes. In our own backyard leagues we were the heroes whose cards we collected and games we watched. Whether it was the grace and cool factor of Ken Griffey Jr, the weird awkward stance of Julio Franco, the crushing anger of Albert Belle, or the nonchalant style of Cal Ripken Jr – we knew them and practiced them.
However, I also was obsessed with the notion of the walk to the batters box and having the right song picked out for that thirty second interval. This is a song that has to put both the batter and the audience in the right frame of mind. It must also epitomize confidence, capability, and have an anthemic quality about itself. It short, it must make you feel badass in thirty seconds or less.
I still think about this all the time, and have arrived at a few choices that are keepers, at least for this season.
Booker T and the MGs: Green Onions
The first is the classic Green Onions from Booker T. and the MG's. This song was built for baseball, summer, and strutting. I have used it as my own personal anthem for a long time and would be hard pressed to have any other song build me up before I drove some chump belly-itcher yard.
David Bowie: Young Americans
David Bowie Young Americans may seem like a weird pick, but hear me out. This tune always makes me feel fast, imperturbable, and fired up. Also, the tune is completely quirky and I guarantee I would be the only player in the bigs coming to bat to Bowie. Plus, The Young American would look great printed on a t-shirt or written across the top of an upper deck baseball card.
J Roddy Walston and the Business: Don't Break the Needle
This seasons song choice is a new classic from Baltimore's own J Roddy Walston and the Business, Don't Break the Needle. The tune opens with a throw back piano riff in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis before it gets dirty with the guitar entrance. Furthermore, the vocal hook drops right about the time I imagine I would step into the box.
Finally, last season I was sitting in the stands of Camden Yards having this discussion with a friend when I had similar thought. If I were the closing pitcher, I would want to run from the bullpen out in center field to the pitcher's mound to the Ghostbusters theme while the jumbo-tron played a montage from the film. This routine would surely become an immediate fan favorite and give the audience a chance to shout, "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown." Then I would throw nine consecutive strikes and sit down the opposition. Who you gonna call?
At its heart this is a discussion about choosing your own theme song and then having it play before you did something spectacular like crush a moon shot home run. I've had a million different song ideas over the years but am settled on these options, at least for right now. I'd love to hear what your at bat song is so hit up the response option and Holler Back!