May 27, 2010
By Allen Wagner
Chase Anselment's got Gorilla Zoe.
Bradley Boyer enjoys a little Tone Loc.
And David Bentrott rocks out to ... Elton John?
Prior to stepping up to the plate, every player on the UW baseball team gets to enjoy his own short walk-up music, something to help the Huskies get ready to face another Pac-10 pitcher.
And you might be surprised to hear a pretty impressive variety blaring out of the Husky Ballpark speakers, with just about every genre represented.
"It has to be edited, of course," said Anselment, a freshman. "But other than that, it can be whatever you want. We've got a guy with techno music. We've got rock. We've got everything."
Even a little bit of Elton, courtesy of Bentrott.
"Benny," as he's known on the team and elsewhere, had Korn to welcome him to the plate for the past two years and wanted something a little different.
While playing for the Newport Gulls in Rhode Island during the summer, some enthusiastic Irish fans whom Bentrott and some teammates had formed a relationship with started a harmless chant.
"They did the chant, `B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets,' as I would come out to the field, and I would wave at them," Bentrott said.
He liked some of Elton John's music before, and thought using "Bennie and the Jets" as his entrance song would be fun.
So far, he's gotten a positive response.
"Once I played it, there's been two shortstops from UCLA and Oregon who were like, `I'm glad you have that song. Listening to that song makes my day,'" Bentrott said. "It pretty much says a lot about how I've come out to play this year, just have fun and enjoy it. I even have people come to me after games to tell me they love my song. You know, girls saying, `I love your song, Benny.'"
It clearly hasn't done him any wrong.
In fact, he hopes to use it again next year.
While most players choose their own songs, others are less fortunate, as teammates take over to ensure the most appropriate song plays for the right player.
Boyer, a senior, got his music -- the 1988 classic "Wild Thing," by Tone Loc -- chosen for him, mainly due to his somewhat lackadaisical attitude toward song selection.
"I was given that my sophomore year by some of the guys," Boyer said. "I said, `I don't care, just do whatever,' and it actually stuck, and I've had it every year."
With a tune like "Wild Thing," -- which sampled Van Halen's "Jamie's Crying" -- it's hard not to get pumped up with the electric-guitar riffs that kick-start the song.
Boyer's walk-up music isn't exactly an identification marker for who he is at the plate -- though "Wild Thing" is no nickname for Boyer, he did say he likes to be a little crazy. It's more about what gets him ready for each at-bat.
"What you look for is a song that can motivate you," Boyer said. "It's not really about what everybody else thinks. It's kind of a song that just gets you in your mindset that you need to have before you get up to the plate."
Senior infielder Doug Cherry -- who compiled the team's music onto a CD this year -- really wanted to use "Hip Hop" by Dead Prez after three-straight years of country music.
But he got beat to the punch by his teammate and roommate Aaron Russell.
"I was actually thinking about doing that song," Cherry said. "We live together, so this is a big issue we still talk about. He actually talked me out of doing `Hip Hop.' He said it wasn't a family-friendly song, and sure enough, two days later, I see his name, and it says `Hip Hop' on it. He talked me out of it, and next thing you know, that's the song he's listening to when he goes up to bat."
Even though it's still a topic of discussion between the two, Cherry was able to get away from country and pick "Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne -- a healthy mix of a techno beat and Lil Wayne's rapping.
He has no regrets.
"Every time I heard it on the radio or in my friends' car, it's a catchy song, and I always just rocked out to it," Cherry said.
Ultimately, the art of selecting an acceptable walk-up song can be tough, especially when thinking about what your song says about you.
Some players, like Boyer and Bentrott, think it shouldn't matter what other people think.
"Choosing a song, you got to make sure you like it, no matter what other people say," Bentrott said. "I got so much crap for using [Elton John] from guys on the team, but it's a song I like going up to the plate. I was just looking to have fun with it, and all of a sudden, I liked it."
Others, like Cherry, have one eye on the fans.
After all, walk-up music is one of the first ways a spectator can easily identify a player coming to the plate.
"That's on the back of your mind when you're picking a song," Cherry said. "A fair amount of people who come to the game know nothing about you as a person, and in a way, the walk-up song that you pick is their only chance to get into you as a person. It definitely shows a little something about you."
But for guys like Bentrott, that's probably not something he's too worried about.