The crack (or in our case, ping) of the bat, the roar of the . These are both unforgettable sounds that accompany a baseball game. As important as they are to the game, music is just as important to today's National Pastime. From batting practice playlists, to walk-up songs, to rally songs, music is as much a part of baseball as the double play. As Opening Day draws near (February 22 at Southern Indiana), we take a look at the sounds of the game in this week-long tribute to music in baseball.
Part 1: Batting Practice
Players and coaches will be subjected to hours of stadium-rockin' tunes over the course of the season before a pitch is even thrown, so it is important to pick the right songs for your pre-game playlist. So rather than waiting until the night before Opening Day to put your playlist together, let's get ahead of the game by working on your playlist now. To put the best playlist together and to keep the energy at the field at its highest, follow these simple rules. There are a lot of rules.
1. Have a few different playlists. If you're a visiting team, this usually doesn't matter since you will only hear the songs at most three days. But it is your playlist and if you have to listen to it every game of every homestand, it could drive you crazy. Just as a team can go through ups and downs, so too will your moods and changing up the music before a game may help you get back on track.
2. Have a variety of genres. Country music seems to have taken over the ballparks around the country, which is fine (not quite in my wheelhouse, but its about the kids), but when they are the only types of songs being played before games, it can wear pretty thin, pretty fast. Be sure to have a mix of rock (grunge, alternative, classic), pop, country, and hip-hop (clean versions only of course). Hitting a variety of genres can keep everyone on the field feeling pretty good.
3. One song per artist. We played a four-game series early last year and the home team's pre-game playlist might as well have been a Toby Keith album. I have nothing really against his music, but needless to say it was country-dominated and every third song had to have been from Honkeytonk University. You may have an infatuation with certain artists, but keep it to one song per artist, per mix and keep everyone happy.
4. Keep it light. The ball field is not the weight room so let's leave the Rammstein and Slayer on the cutting room floor. Your playlist doesn't have to be a weekly top 40 list by any means, but there still needs to be a level of focus before a game and hearing tunes that make you want to put your fist through a wall can be a bit distracting. Sometimes, you just want something you can ignore.
5. Stock up on songs. Unless you have to use a cd as your music source, this one is pretty easy to follow (and even then, just make a few extras if you can). But if you're able to plug an iPod into the stadium speakers, this is obviously much easier to accomplish. Just plan for 2-3 hours of music on your playlist, turn on the shuffle, and go to work.
In addition to the list of helpful hints, the songs you choose just have to be good. They have to appeal to a wide-range of people with different tastes. Typically, this is best suited for the seniors with a little input from other upperclassman. Sorry freshman, you'll have to wait your turn.
Up next: Songs that should be retired from the ballpark.
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