In sports today, showmanship is just as important as sportsmanship. If you go to a professional basketball or football game, you can see showmanship and customization by players who are trying to impress the crowd with a signature move, celebration or pre/postgame ritual. These acts of showmanship are one of the many draws of fans and it is a way for a player to gain a reputation amongst the fans. Yet when you look at the sport of baseball, the act of showmanship takes a backseat to the purity of the game and the history it embellishes.
One of the interesting arts of showmanship in baseball, however, is choosing the correct walk-up song for hitters approaching the batter’s box. Whoever thought of the idea to have hitters choose a song to be played as they approached the plate to hit is a pure genius. It adds customization to baseball and a personal flavor of each player. It allows fans to associate players with certain tunes and it allows fans to see what kind of music the player likely enjoys.
This will be my first entry in a year-long series that previews all of the players that will play in the majors for the Minnesota Twins in 2013 and some possible walk-up songs that could fit their persona. I understand that some players have established walk-up songs that make them who they are, but I am going to take the approach of suggesting some alternatives that may suit the players even better. I hope you enjoy the series as it will allow me to take a break from the analysis portion of the season and address some lighter topics for additional enjoyment.
It seems logical that if I am going to start a season-long series that my first entry should be about the face of the franchise, Joe Mauer. Mauer has traditionally gone with T.I.’s “What You Know”—which is a great song in my opinion—but could be better suited by a few other alternatives. Mauer once had a local rapper try and create a personal walk-up song for him, but the end product didn’t live up to the Mauer standard and it soon was replaced by his trusty “What You Know” tune.
Option number one I have thought of would be John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. Mauer is born and raised in Minnesota and it is obvious that he prefers a life of seclusion on his family farm compared to the bright lights of the city and major markets. While this isn’t always possible in professional sports, it is clear that Mauer enjoys the time that he spends in the “country”. He is a soft-spoken leader when he conducts interviews and never seems to get too emotional during or after games. With all of this considered, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” would hit a cord with the fans of Minnesota and would fit Mauer and his personality.
Option number two would be Rednex “Cotton-Eye Joe”. The reason for this being included as a viable option should not require too much thought: the song has Joe in it and that is his first name. This option isn’t exactly the most creative one, but I feel the “catchy” nature of the song would get people fired up whenever Mauer steps to the plate.
Finally, a list wouldn’t be complete without a song that may poke fun at Mauer’s injury problems over the past few seasons. The song I chose was Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” which—if you don’t remember—relies on the catchy refrain of, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna’ keep me down.” The irony in the song is that Mauer has—over his career—not got back up after he has been knocked down. If anything, people have criticized him for his inability to get back up following an injury. However, Mauer was healthy all of last season and is poised to have a productive and healthy season this year as well.
Those are the three options that come to my mind when thinking of new options for Mauer’s walkup song, what are your ideas?