Baseball: Behind the NU music

Matt Forman

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“Now batting for Northwestern, number seven, catcher Chad Noble…I’m a scatman. Ski bi di bi di do bap do…”

Some players call it their “plate song.” Others call it their “walk-up music” or “ditty music.” It’s the song each hitter chooses to be played over the loud speaker at Rocky Miller Park before their plate appearances. The songs vary in importance to some players, from superstition to no meaning at all.

Before their first Big Ten home series, the Wildcats searched their music libraries to find the perfect 10-second clip.

Coach Paul Stevens said he was never good enough to play at Northwestern. Therefore, he never had to worry about choosing a song. But senior second baseman Jake Owens said he picked a rock song because he knows Stevens likes rock music, and his song gets Stevens excited in the third-base coach’s box.

Pitchers also get to choose their entrance music from the bullpen, but closers often have the most memorable songs. Major league journeyman Mitch Williams started the trend around 1990 with “Wild Thing.” Before this season started, Chicago Cubs closer Kerry Wood told The Chicago Tribune he did not want a theatrical entrance to the stadium.

Several major league closers enter to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Cats’ closer Matt Havey, who enters to “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash, said pitching against Big Ten competition gets him fired up, but the song helps get him even more excited.

Here’s a look at the entrance music reactions of the Cats’ starting eight, two designated hitters and closer.

Jake Owens, Senior Second Baseman “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park

“My freshman year I had a Linkin Park song and I wanted to go back to that, start and finish the same way. I went to country in the middle, and then I wanted to go back to rock for my senior year. Linkin Park is one of my favorite bands and I just wanted to pick a song that I really like.”

Aaron Newman, Senior Centerfielder “Dey Know” by Shawty Lo

“I wanted something that gets me in the zone. When I hear that song, I know it’s go time.”

Jake Goebbert, Sophomore First Baseman“The Bottle and Me” by Jake Owens

“My only part in deciding was that I wanted it to be country. The team chose it for me. I don’t really like to hear it when I go up to the plate and I don’t want it to have any meaning to me. It’s really not a big deal to me.”

Mike Kalina, Senior Left Fielder“Holiday” by Green Day

“It’s performed by the greatest band of all time, and I’m not biased at all about that. It’s my favorite band and when it was a single it always gave me a chill, gave me a rush and gave me the goose bumps. You want to get psyched and get ready to go more than anything, and that’s what it does for me. I’m a big fan of music in general and when music can affect me in that way, that’s kind of the reaction I want.”

Chris Lashmet, Freshman Third Baseman “Free and Easy” by Dierks Bentley

“I picked it because I’m a country fan and it’s basically all we listen to at the house. The title pertains to my swing; I try to go up there free and easy. I don’t want to think about too much, just relax and do what I know I can do.”

Nate Roberts, Freshman Right Fielder “Devil’s Dance” by Metallica

“My nickname the team has given me is ‘snake,’ because I get a little upset sometimes. Rob Campbell and I were going through his computer for songs and the song came on saying ‘I am the snake.’ So our immediate reaction was ‘That’s the one it’s got to be.’ It just kind of happened like that.”

Tony Vercelli, Junior Designated Hitter “Brain Stew” by Green Day

“I hear the lyrics say ‘On my own here we go’ and it tells me to focus. It’s my time to focus; everyone’s got to do their job on a baseball field. When you’re at the plate you’re on your own. No matter what the situation you’ve got to zone in and get it done.”

Max Mann, Senior Designated Hitter “Low Rider” by War

“It’s kind of a fun song. Being from Los Angeles, I went to a Dodgers game a couple years ago. It was Nomar Garciaparra’s plate song. I remember hearing it over their huge speaker system and I brought it with me to Northwestern.”

Chad Noble, Sophomore Catcher “Scatman” by Scatman John

“I honestly have no idea what the song means or anything like that. The reason I picked it is that in high school I was watching a movie called Nothing to Lose with Martin Lawrence. This out of control song came on and I just loved it. I’ve had it ever since high school and I’ll keep it for sure. It’s the best song I could find and everyone else likes it.”

Tommy Finn, Junior Shortstop “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

“The song is from The Departed. I remember watching it and the song getting me jacked up a little bit. It’s a nice little Irish song with an Irish background. It gets me really pumped me and puts me in a good mood. It’s my first year using it, but I think I’m going to definitely try to use it next year.”

Matt Havey, Senior Closer“God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash

“I never had heard it until our third or fourth trip this year. We were sitting on the airplane going to Florida, and Jake Owens and Gabe Ribas were sitting with me on the back of the plane. They recommended it to me, so I ran it past my little brother, and he said he approved. As my brother puts it, ‘It’s a quiet way of saying you’re going to lose.’ I like it and it’s kind of grown on me.”

matthewforman2007@u.northwestern.edu

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