For the players, it is one of the most important parts of the game. Some do it to hype themselves up. Others do it to calm their nerves and relax.
But for just about every player, walk-up songs give insight into who they are and what they listen to.
For the University of New Mexico baseball team, it’s no different. The Lobos, this season, have a wide variety of music choices from classic rock to old school hip-hop, to old Kanye and much more.
In fact, hitters are allowed up to four songs to choose. So some play a different song for each game in a series. Others stick to the same song.
Danny Collier, a senior who plays both outfield and DH, has a taste in music that might not be expected. He has three walk-up songs in total, which include: “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” by Bone Thugs n Harmony, “Homicide” by Kevin Gates and “Knockin Doorz Down” by Pimp C.
Collier says there’s no superstition behind what song he chooses on what day. Instead, he said he looks for music that “slaps” while also paying homage to his brother by walking up to the Pimp C song.
“I just love music,” Collier said. “I’ll hear a song, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, that slaps a little bit.’ And then ‘Knockin Doors Down’ — that’s what my brother walked out to in high school. So, you know, pay a little tribute to my boy.”
But not all UNM baseball players choose their walk-up songs just because they like it.
Jared Mang, a junior outfielder who’s currently out of the Lobos’ lineup with an injury to his fingers after being hit by a pitch, says he chooses his walk-up music to get him in the right mood.
“When the song has a certain feel to it, and you feel good when you’re walking up there,” Mang said. “Just something to get you in the right frame of mind to go hit.”
Like Collier, Mang’s music is very hip-hop influenced. On Friday games, he chose “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” by Kanye West. Mang made it clear, though, that he’s strictly an old Kanye admirer and that he doesn’t necessarily care for his new stuff.
Mang also chose “Never Better” by P.O.S to play on Saturday games and also some music from Blue Scholars.
Hayden Schilling, too, has his share of songs. Though hitters are allowed up to four songs, he opted for just two. Like Mang and Collier, he likes some older rap and hip-hop too, leading to his choice of “No Diggity” by Blackstreet.
But batters aren’t the only only players in baseball who get walk-up songs either. Pitchers do, too.
Mariano Rivera, who was a closer for the Yankees and one of the best of all-time, used to walk up to the mound from the bullpen to the song, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.
Christian Tripp, UNM’s closing pitcher, has one too. For Tripp, finding the best walk-up song is all about the energy it brings. To him, he needs music that will pump him up.
Tripp’s walk-up song is “Kickstart My Heart” by the Mötley Crüe. But Tripp, if he could, said he would play “Enter Sandman” by Metallica if it didn’t cause bad juju.
“One of the songs I’ve always wanted to do, but it’s kind of like a cardinal sin is ‘Enter Sandman,’” he said. “Mariano Rivera is like the best closer of all-time. So if you play that song, you’re bound to not pitch very well.”
With all these songs, and different tastes in artists and music, the Lobos have created an identity not only for themselves but for the team, too. Walk-up music has different effects on different players, but the added bonus of personalizing the game with individuality could make the game better in the end.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.