The role of music at sporting events is often overlooked, yet it is crucial to the overall game experience and the entire vibe of a contest. With the Texas Rangers magical postseason ride capturing the imaginations of just about everyone across the state and beyond (even those Astros fans who begrudgingly cheer for their AL brethren right now due to a hatred of the Cardinals), it brings to the forefront the importance of momentum and specifically the soundtrack to that momentum.
Perhaps no other sport is as attached to atmospheric music in the ballpark as baseball. Dating back to the days of organs and thousands of fanatical folks bellowing out tunes like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in a drunken chorus of revelry, it has been as much a part of the MLB gameday experience as hotdogs and ice cream in tiny batting helmets. Nowadays with technology and player personalities pushed to the forefront of a 24/7 sports cycle, music is more intertwined than ever. Players carefully choose their walk-up music (the song that is played when they come up to bat or jog in from the bullpen). They select songs that they feel best represent their personality or style of play. Just as bands come out onstage to certain songs (ie. Randy Rogers Band to Jet or Pantera), batters stride to the plate under the auditory guide of a favorite song. At times, they even get jokes pulled on them and must walk out to things like Wham or Miley Cyrus…all part of that other fabled baseball tradition…the artful prank. There are even blogs and websites solely dedicated to the walkout song. Exhibit A.
Chuck Morgan is the Rangers stadium voice and the idea man behind all of their fan experience operations. He’s the man who invented the dot race and has altered it to be a race of Texas legends. He reflects the mood of the team and fans when playing music during the game. He programs a clever mix of traditional (rally horns) with the contemporary. Being that we are in Texas, Morgan peppers the 7th inning stretch with the “Cotton Eyed Joe”. Basically, he avoids cliche ridden Gary Glitter style anthems in favor of songs that represent Texas.
Some years back, Morgan began playing Pat Green’s “I Like Texas” after each victory. While not Green’s finest recording, it embodies the enthusiasm that is felt after each win. Morgan’s also been know to sprinkle in Texas hits from guys like Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, Steve Helms, Jack Ingram, Charlie Robison, Casey Donahew, Josh Abbott and more. Sidenote, as many of you know several Rangers are big Texas Music fans thanks to Josh Frasier and can be found attending concerts around the DFW area. Ballpark visitors from around the globe are treated to a miniature Texas Music primer during each 9 inning stint. They are exposed to the kind of stuff we like around here and Morgan’s instincts as a tastemaker are well-deserved.
The next time you’re at the Ballpark or watching a game on tv, pay attention to the tunes coming out of the PA system…you just may hear one of your favorite artists or songs. I’ll be in attendance for Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night and I fully expect to be hearing Pat Green singing “I Like Texas” after the final out.
I sometimes think about what I’d walk out to if I was in their position and my current choice would be Waylon Jennings-”Waymore’s Blues” remix version that Shooter put on the Waylon Forever album. What would yours be?