Music to My Ears – Walk-up Music

I have to start today’s blog by paying tribute to an amazing accomplishment – Matt Cain’s perfect game on Wednesday night.  It was the first perfect game in the Giants 130-year franchise history and only the 22nd in all of baseball history.  And he did it with 14 strikeouts, meaning he struck out more than half of the 27 guys who had the misfortune of batting against him.  Though the Astros don’t have the greatest record in baseball, they do have some guys that can hit, including tiny “Don’t underestimate me” Jose Altuve with a batting average well over .300.  Thank goodness Matt decided to sign a long-term contract with the Giants before all this happened!  Can you picture the dramatic headdesk from his agent that evening??  He was also gracious enough to acknowledge the fact that he couldn’t have done it alone, especially acknowledging that fantastic catch by Gregor Blanco in the 7th.  Cain’s response right after this catch was priceless!  He also acknowledged Buster Posey, mentioning that he didn’t shake off a pitch signal all night.  And the run support (10 to be exact) surely set his mind at ease and allowed him to focus on the task at hand.  It was touching to me to see the younger guys being interviewed and all of them saying that that particular game was the highlight of their career so far, even though the spotlight belonged to someone else.  That’s one of the reasons I love these guys!  And I was so nervous for them that if they made an error or even a slight bobble they would be wracked with guilt forever.  What pressure!   Not to mention the pressure on Cain himself.  But that guy sure can hide the pressure well.  Major congratulations, Matt.

Since I mentioned the perfect game first, I also have to mention my near miss with the history-making moment.  My brother, Paul, called me earlier that day saying he had two Club Level seats for the game that night, and if I wanted them they were mine.  Unfortunately, I had to work until 7 that night and then I had to pick up my son from the airport at 9 so I wasn’t going to be able to go.  Paul didn’t end up going either.  So, so close!!  I listened to the game on the radio in the car during all my wanderings, and I was kicking myself the whole time (which is difficult to do while you’re driving).  I’m a believer that things happen for a reason, so I guess I should appreciate the quality time I had in conversation with my 18-year-old-soon-off-to-college son on the way home and not dwell on the superb game that I missed, right?  RIGHT??  I can do that, and I’m sure there will be other stellar moments that I’ll experience with my boys in the future.  RIGHT??

Now on to today’s blog topic:  Walk-Up Music.  Up until about a year ago, I didn’t know walk-up music existed.  For those who are like I was then and don’t know what this is, when a player comes up to bat or a pitcher goes out on the field, a song of their choosing is played in order to get them pumped up to play (as well as to pump up the fans!).  These songs can range from rap to heavy metal to country to rock to just about anything in between.  I was wondering one day if there was a list anywhere of the Giants players’ walk-up music, and lo and behold about a week later someone from CSNBayArea.com wrote an article about it.  So I have to give them credit for this, but I’m including links to the songs so you can listen to them for yourself.  Here they are:

Position Players
Gregor Blanco — “Welcome to Jamrock” (Damian Marley)
Angel Pagan — “Blue” (Gemini)
Melky Cabrera — (1) “Crazy People” (Pitbull) (2) “Right Above It” (Lil Wayne)
Pablo Sandoval — (1) “The Motto” (Drake) (2) “Wild Boy” (MGK) (3) “Ni**as In Paris” (Jay -Z & Kanye West) (4) “Dance” (Big Sean)
Freddy Sanchez — “Cuidad Au Au” (Cosculluela)  (sadly, we haven’t heard this one yet!!)
Nate Schierholtz — “We Stand Together”(Nickelback)
Brandon Crawford — (1) “Lord Knows” (Drake) (2) “Writer’s Block” (Royce Da 5’9)
Ryan Theriot — (1)“Push It” (Salt-N-Pepa) (2) “I Wanna Rock” (Luther Campbell)
Brett Pill — “Im Broken” (Pantera) (sadly, we won’t hear this one for a while!)
Emmannuel Burris — (1) “Up!” (Loverance) (2) “Untouchable” (Rick Ross) (3) “Faded” (Tyga)(4) “Function” (E40 – start at 18 seconds)
Buster Posey — “Hell on Wheels”(Brantley Gilbert)
Hector Sanchez — “Corazones” (Daddy Yankee)

Pitchers
Tim Lincecum —
 “Loud”  (Mac Miller)
Madison Bumgarner  “Bad Company” (Five Finger Death Punch)
Matt Cain  “Whistlin’ Dixie” (Randy Houser)
Ryan Vogelsong — “Metalingus” (Alter Bridge)
Barry Zito  “Doo Rags” (Nas)
Jeremy Affeldt  “Fireproof” (Pilar)
Javier Lopez — “Coastin'” (Zion I)
Sergio Romo  “El Mechon” (Banda MS)
Clay Hensley — “Wherever I May Roam” (Metallica)
Santiago Casilla — “Mi Roca Y Mi Castillo”(Entre Mar Y Cordillera) (couldn’t find a link to this one)

Lots of illicit lyrics in there, so don’t let the kiddies listen!  Guess my boys aren’t as innocent as I thought!!  And several of the guys have multiple songs, so I guess they change it depending on their mood?  Or do they have a different song for each at bat?  Not sure about that one.  From listening to these, my musical tastes most match Madison, Javi, Clay, Ryan Theriot (at least with “Push It”), Angel, Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy, and Nate, and my favorite walk-up song of all is Nate’s by Nickelback (one of my favorite bands).  This song just makes me happy.  However, when Ginny and I went to the game this Tuesday, this was NOT Nate’s walk-up song, and I didn’t recognize the new one, nor could I find it on the internet.  I was so disappointed the first time he came up to bat!  While doing my research, I noticed people giving him a bad time for choosing a Nickelback song, so maybe he gave in to the pressure.  I hope the other ones are still accurate.  Whose song do you like best?

I found an article by Pat Pemberton that listed the top 20 walk-up songs (not sure what they based this on), and there were some interesting ones on the list.  Mitch Williams’ walk-up music was “Wild Thing” (X).  “Wild Thing” was his nickname because of his habit of pitching out-of-control fastballs.  Gordon Beckham changed his walk-up music from a soft 80’s love song to “Seek and Destroy” (Metallica).  The suggestion was made by teammate, Paul Konerko, in order to get out of a batting slump he was having.  The song worked – his average shot up 80 points.  Nick Johnson chose “Party in the USA” (Miley Cyrus).  WHAT???  But he chose it because it was his 4-year-old daughter’s favorite song.  I love that story, and I could see how that song would get him pumped up to do his best for her.  Several players have walk-up songs that play off their names.  David Wright’s is “The Right Stuff” (New Kids on the Block), Tom Gordon’s is “Flash” (Queen – theme from “Flash Gordon”), Brian Wolfe’s is “Clap for the Wolfman” (The Guess Who), Matt Holliday’s is “Holiday” (Madonna), and Jeff Weaver’s is “Dream Weaver” (Gary Wright).  But I think my favorite is Cliff Floyd’s choice of “The Streetbeater (The Sanford and Son Theme)” (Quincy Jones).  Could you just imagine someone walking out to that?  He says he chose it simply because “it’s fun and it lightens the mood a little bit.”  Love that!

I’ve often thought about what my walk-up song would be if I was a professional baseball player (stop laughing, Nick!!).  It’s a close tie between two:  “Dynomite” (Taio Cruz) and “I Gotta Feeling” (Black Eyed Peas).  Whenever I hear those songs on the radio, I can’t help but start singing at the top of my lungs and rocking out, and I would think those would be good qualities for a walk-up song.  They get me pumped up!  What would your walk-up song be?

I’ve got a new spit count for you.  Here you go:

June 15th

Giants:

–          Posey 9

–          Theriot 8

–          Sandoval 6

–          Pagan 6

–          Casilla 6

–          Cabrera 4

–          Arias 2

–          Bochy 1

–          Vogelsong 1

–          Belt 1

–          Romo 1

Mariners:

–          Olivo 9

–          Seager 3

–          Vargas 2

–          Ackley 2

–          Luetge 1

Misc.:

–          Umpire 1

Game Spit Master Generals = Posey and Olivo with 9 each

That’s a total of 63 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.6 minutes.  In other words, there was a whole lot of spitting going on!  That may even be a new record.

I noticed tonight that Buster lifts his mask a lot to spit, just like his ex-teammate, Chris Stewart.  I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on him because I think I’ve been missing some of those spits.  I also noticed several of Angel Pagan’s spits were due to spitting out sunflower seed shells while in the outfield.  I’ve seen other guys do this as well.  They shove a handful of seeds into their mouths and then spit out the shells one by one.  Have you ever tried to do this?  How can they concentrate on not swallowing the shells while they are also concentrating on making a play?  And how do they not choke??

Now onto the random section of the blog.  Have you noticed the celebration that takes place in the outfield when the Giants win a game?  Recently, I’ve noticed that Melky, Angel, and Gregor all come together in the center of the field after a game that they’ve won and they all jump into the air and bump each other.  I love this!  I was wondering if it was just the chemistry of these three driving this act, and wondered what would happen when Nate Schierholtz came in to play right field one day.  Ginny found a picture of these three continuing the tradition.  These guys sure love being around each other, and it’s fun to share in their celebrations.

Barry Zito pitched on Memorial Day, and I noticed that he got extremely emotional when he came out of the game after letting a run score.  He had pitched a great game and had no reason to be sad about how he had played, but you could see that the emotion of the day had gotten to him.  He had his head bent on the mound and then it looked almost as if he were crying in the dugout.  He even got a standing ovation when he left the field.  If you were unaware, Barry founded an organization called Strikeouts for Troops which “is dedicated to giving back to our military heroes while providing the ‘comforts of home’ and lifting the spirits and morale of our injured troops and their families in their greatest time of need.”  The organization was recognized that day, and a member of the military who had been assisted through the organization, Marine Cpl. Nick Kimmel, a triple amputee injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, threw out the first pitch on a new pair of legs.  Apparently Barry met Nick during Spring Training and had been keeping track of his progress.  I guess at the end of the day, all of his emotions caught up with him, and he had to let them out.  Great job, Barry, both on the field and in what you do for all our troops.  And I appreciate you sensitivity!

I hate to discuss anything negative connected with my boys, but what do you all think about the charges against Pablo?  When I first heard, I didn’t realize that he was single, and I was outraged and figured his career was forever smudged by his act of adultery.  I knew he had a kid and assumed that he was still married, but I discovered that he is divorced.  That still left me wondering about these charges.  I wondered if it was a case of a woman taking advantage of someone she knew had a lot of money.  I’m presently assuming this might be true as I think if the case against him was strong, he would be in jail somewhere right now.  Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.  Regarding his play since he came off the DL, he really needs to get back in shape or he might lose his job to Joaquin Arias.  Man that kid has taken advantage of his move to the big leagues and made a great impression defensively.  I love to watch him.

Did any of you see a recent interview of Madison Bumgarner by Amy Gutierrez of Comcast SportsNet?  She actually had the nerve to ask him about the snot rockets!!  She referred to the question that came in from a viewer on the “Ask Kruk and Kuip” segment of a game that asked why Amy had never asked Madison why he blew snot rockets.  His response was that he’s broken his nose multiple times, and when he runs a lot he can’t breathe and feels like he has to blow his nose.  He said it wouldn’t be easy to carry around Kleenex, but he joked that he might start carrying a handkerchief.  He says it’s a hard habit to break but that he’s been trying to cut down this year because it keeps getting mentioned.  I didn’t see any evidence of this “trying to cut down” at the game I went to this Tuesday.  The snot rockets were zooming all over!  Here’s the clip if you want to see Amy embarrass Madison for yourself (actually, I thought he handled it quite well).  My mom has decided that Madison Bumgarner is her favorite on the team, but she was extremely disappointed when I mentioned the snot rockets to her.

Regarding Bumgarner, I was at the game Tuesday (details to follow) where he got his first major league home run.  His prankster teammates decided when he came into the dugout afterwards they would not even acknowledge his presence.  Then a few seconds later I noticed Pablo jump up out of his seat and all the others followed congratulating him on his feat.  They are so silly.  Congrats on your homerun, Madison!  Everyone’s always saying how well you hit in batting practice.  Maybe this is the start of a trend!

As I mentioned, Ginny and I attended the game on Tuesday.  We had heard that they were giving out Brian Wilson gnomes to the first 500 fans.  We also heard that if you dressed up like a gnome, you could go through the Gnome Express Line and go to the front of the line.  We had to get in on this craziness!  Both of us put together our best gnome costumes (Ginny looked exactly like the gnome, down to the ball and glove) and set off for the game early.  When we got there, we were about 10th in line! There were a lot less people dressed up than I had expected, but we had a blast.  People were even asking us to take pictures with them.  We were able to each get a gnome.  YAY!  He’s sitting on my desk watching me right now.  Then we decided to go try and get on TV.  On Tuesdays, Comcast SportsNet broadcasts from right outside the park.  We were able to get right behind the broadcasters and have our moment of gnome fame!  We even did the wave at one point behind them!  After that we went into the park and had a great time at the game.  The win was the cap to a fantastic day.  I’m so happy I’ve found someone who is as crazy as I am when it comes to my boys!  Thanks, Ginny!

At said game, at one point Clay Hensley appeared on the jumbo screen.  He performed a monologue from “A Few Good Men”.  Oh my goodness!  That boy must have some acting background because he was FABULOUS!  His intonations and facial expressions were great.  At one point, he even bugged his eyes out.  It went on for a couple of minutes, and everyone was glued to the screen.  At the end, he came out of character and giggled at himself.  WOW!  If you get to go to a game, be sure to watch this stellar performance.  Who woulda thunk the boy could pitch AND act??

The Kiss Cam was hysterical that night.  At one point, up pops Lou Seal who proceeded to kiss the woman next to him and then shove her away!  It was so funny!  We also had a guy run onto the field that night from the outfield.  What a fool – is that worth getting arrested??  Then during this game, the team got more than 13 strikeouts.  I’ve mentioned before that once they get to 13, everyone on one of the levels gets free sausages.  And guess who won the free sausages AGAIN???  THE CLUB LEVEL!!!!  The level where no one needs any free sausages and probably doesn’t appreciate them!!  I want some free sausages!

If you’ve been to a game at AT&T, you can’t help but notice the seagulls that start to congregate around the field usually during the 8th inning.  They fly around waiting for the inevitable smorgasbord about to come their way.  It’s got me wondering – if you are playing and a seagull releases its “load” onto you, is that considered interference, or is it a matter of “the game must go on”?  I tried researching this but couldn’t find an answer.  Wonder if this has ever happened at AT&T.  Dave, do you know??  If anyone knows the answer, please enlighten me.

Is anyone doing the “Beat the Streak” contest?  My highest streak is now at 10, and I’m one game behind my brother Nick’s streak of 11.  Come on, play with me!

I’m heading off for a mini road trip tomorrow with my brothers.  We’re going to Anaheim to watch the Giants vs. Angels game on Monday.  And guess who’s pitching?  I’ll give you a hint – he’s PERFECT for the job!  We will all be able to check off another ballpark from our list.  I’m hoping maybe I can get some more autographs as well.  Look for me.  I’ll probably be sitting in the nosebleed seats as tickets there are very spendy.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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