IU coach Tracy Smith typically has a few more important things to think about during a game than what his players have chosen as their at-bat or pitching introduction music.
But in between decisions about pitching changes, double switches or pinch hitters, Smith admits a select few of those songs booming through the Sembower Field public address system still manage to grab his attention.
“The bad ones stick out,” Smith said.
Which one of his guys, then, has at-bat music that falls in Smith’s bad category?
“The Hoffman music, his walk-to-the-mound stuff, is pretty disgusting,” Smith said of freshman pitcher Jonny Hoffman’s choice of Eddy Grant’s 1982 hit “Electric Avenue.” “And Monar’s is a little goofy.”
Blake Monar, a sophomore pitcher who has battled injury this season, chose “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake as his pitching introduction music.
All of IU’s players — both pitchers and hitters — have made selections for their introduction music, snippets of songs played each time they either come to the plate for an at-bat or when a new pitcher heads to the mound.
Introduction music in baseball probably gained the most fame on the silver screen with the 1989 movie “Major League.” In that flick, Charlie Sheen’s character Ricky Vaughn enters as a relief pitcher to the crowd-pleasing anthem “Wild Thing.”
Thanks to Monar’s injury, the roaring vocals of Whitesnake’s David Coverdale have instead been used doubly as Monar’s at-bat introduction song when he has been used as pinch hitter — a move Monar isn’t exactly a fan of.
“They had my pitching walk-out song on when I was hitting and it just wasn’t working,” Monar said. “I have to go with something else. I just don’t know what it is. I’ve been searching a little bit.”
Monar has already crossed rock music from his list, said country music is “a little bit too redneck” for an at-bat song, and is focusing on some rap favorites — even though he said he’s not really a rap guy.
Monar said he does agree with the coach’s assessment of Hoffman’s choice.
“Jonny Hoffman’s is pretty bad,” Monar said. “He’s a Cali kid and likes the slow surfer music.”
Another freshman, third baseman Micah Johnson, isn’t hesitant to boast about his at-bat selection. The confident lead-off hitter gets the Hoosiers started offensively with the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” remix by Gucci Mane — a tune Johnson freely promotes as the best on the team.
“Mine’s the fan-favorite; it’s the best,” Johnson said with a grin. “The beat’s nice.”
Sophomore outfielder Alex Dickerson follows Johnson three spots later in the batting order but doesn’t quite agree that Johnson’s selection qualifies as top on the squad.
“His is terrible, because he spent a whole four months saying how great it was going to be,” Dickerson said. “I just expected that it was going to knock me down, you know?”
Overreaching expectations aside, Johnson thinks his chosen beats serve a higher purpose for his teammates.
“Since I’m the leadoff hitter, you can probably hear it through Foster Quad, and Briscoe can hear it faintly,” Johnson said. “I figured if some girls hear that song, they might come over to the game.”
A noble cause, perhaps — though Dickerson downplays the role of the introduction music.
“I’m not as big into the walk-up music as some people,” said Dickerson, who uses the start of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” for his track. “But, yeah, it kind of sets the tone a little bit. I just wanted to pick something not quite intimidating but that makes you feel strong going up.”
That attitude appears to be working, as the Hoosier clean-up hitter has hit 14 home runs this season to lead the Big Ten.
Dickerson acknowledges, however, that a song from last season worked well for senior closer Chris Squires. Squires’ song last year was “Who Run It” by Three Six Mafia, and his current tune is “Neva Eva” by Trillville.
“I liked Q’s last year, not so much this year,” Dickerson said. “He just feeds off emotion so much that it works for him.”
Smith, the fifth-year coach who played baseball in his younger days both in college and professionally, doesn’t have a song selected for his pre-game introduction.
That didn’t stop him from choosing a song he’d go with if required.
“It’s got to be something country,” Smith said. “Probably ‘Ain’t as Good as I Once Was’ by Toby Keith.”
Was Smith’s choice a good one in Monar’s mind?
“That fits him, I guess,” Monar said, laughing. “I don’t want to say anything to get me in trouble.”