Believe it or not, music plays a large role in the lives of ballplayers.
For the fourteenth consecutive year, WFUV talks to the members of the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees in the New York Single-A Penn League about the trials and tribulations of being minor league ballplayers. The long bus rides, the low pay, 76 games in 80 days. This is a look into Life in the Minors: How the Other Half Lives.
This week, Brendan Bowers and Drew Casey discuss the role music plays in these minor leaguers' everyday routine.
The Staten Island Yankees with Brendan Bowers:
Playing baseball in the New York Penn League can be a very time consuming job, especially considering that all of the players are going after the same goal, to one day play in the majors. The Staten Island Yankees play 76 games in 80 days, meaning that most weeks they are at the ballpark 7 days a week. While a lot of people think that these players just show up and play, there is much more to it. Most of these players spend at least 12 hours at the stadium a day. Because of all the time spent at the stadium, as well as the long bus rides, music allows the players to relax during a hectic schedule.
Vicente Conde, who calls Puerto Rico home, loves to listen to Spanish rock when he is sitting at his locker or while on the bus. Vicente was on the National Champion Vanderbilt Commodores this past NCAA season, and arrived a few weeks after the start of the season. Because of this he does not have an official walk up song, but if he were to choose one, he would choose "Money Maker" by Ludicrus. Vicente has been struggling lately, batting only .154 in his last 10 games played, and .213 on the year.
Another first year player, Devyn Bolasky, who was taken in the 31st round out of UC Riverside, also chose a hip hop song for his walk up song. He chose to use "Trophies" by Drake as the song he hears before he steps up to the plate. He also claims to like every genre of music, but at the moment he says he prefers to listen to hip hop. Devyn has played in over half of Staten Island's games so far this year batting .261 with 5 doubles and 1 triple.
Chris Breen, Staten Island left fielder who has been a staple in the lineup appearing in 38 games so far this season (second most on the team) has a variety of hip hop songs he likes to hear for his walk up songs. Not surprisingly, his favorite music genre is also hip hop. Chris Breen leads the team in triples with 4, and is second on the team in home runs with 3. Breen is also hitting a modest .255 on the season.
With a month left in the season, and Staten Island in the heat of the playoff run, the players will need to do anything they can to stay loose and to perform at the best of their ability. Music plays a key role in this because depending on the player it could either be used to calm them down after or before a game, or pump them up before an at bat. The presence of music in the clubhouse and on the field will play a pivotal role in the next month, and being the New York Penn League, anything can happen.
The Brooklyn Cyclones with Drew Casey:
The Brooklyn Cyclones have been on fire recently, winning seven of their last nine games. The team is currently 25-23 and one game behind the wild card leading Connecticut Tigers. With under a month left in the season, it’s pedal to the metal on Coney Island. One thing that has and will aid the Mini Mets down the stretch, believe it or not, is music. Music plays a larger role in these minor leaguers’ lives than many would expect.
First year pro and outfielder Michael Katz values music to a large degree. He believes that choosing a walk up song can make or break a season. Thus, a good one is needed. The Virginia native chose “Wiggle,” even though he insisted that he liked throwbacks from the 90s. The College of William and Mary product chuckled saying that the song lightens the mood of his teammates when he steps up to the plate.
For Tucker Tharp music is an important part of the locker room environment. It is a bit different in the minors though, because of the more dominant international presence. Nonetheless, the Cyclones outfielder still enjoys music as part of his work. Personally, his walk up song is “Let’s Groove Tonight.” He decided on it because of its funk sound, which became a routine for him in college.
Infielder Will Fulmer prefers specific music for different baseball related activities. When working out, he listens to music that pumps him up, including dubstep and rap. But when he takes swings, the University of Montevallo product prefers listening to relaxing music that makes him feel as if he is at the beach. Fulmer’s walk up song, “Double Bubble Trouble,” does just that and puts him in the right mindset every time he digs in at the plate on Coney Island.
Catcher Tyler Moore definitely believes that music is key for him and his teammates. However, the LSU product recognizes that it is different for each guy. Moore knows that some use music to get pumped, while others use it to calm down. In the end, it simply depends on the player.
The Cyclones have a good chance in the coming week to jump into first place in the wild card race. They host Connecticut for a three game series beginning tonight and then embark on a 6 game road trip to Mahoning Valley and Batavia. They’ll be a lot of music listened to on the nearly 1000 mile road trip.