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Choosing a walk-out song can be tough

I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, but it’s so difficult to decide.

It all began on July 7, when I had the good fortune of covering what turned into a 19-inning marathon Hillsboro Hops game. That five hours-plus doozy of a contest made for one long afternoon, especially since neither the Hops nor the Vancouver Canadians managed to score from the third inning on — until Ryan Gebhardt’s sacrifice fly mercifully sent the Hops off with the victory.

At some time during this interminable contest, I noticed that each time a Hop came up to bat, the same song played for him over the public address system.

The same song. Every time.

In my defense, I had not noticed this phenomenon because I had not covered much baseball before this year. But watching the same players go to bat seven or eight times in one game can do a lot to clue in a gal. Almost immediately after noticing this pattern and learning that players get to pick their own “walk-out songs,” as they are called, I wanted one of my very own.

Forget the money, how is this not one of the best perks of being a professional baseball player?

Besides, we all could use our own walk-out songs. Perhaps my coworkers could play mine when I arrive at the office each day to get me motivated for another round of transcribing, writing and editing. My hunch is that even average Janes and Joes could use a little pump-up music when battling a case of the Mondays, not just those among us who are strong-armed and fleet-footed enough to play college or professional ball.

“A lot of thought goes into walk-outs, believe it or not,” infielder Randy MCurry told me a couple of weeks ago. “It’s kind of whatever fits your personality.”

I can see why all the thought, though, because in the weeks since that 19-inning game, I have ruminated mightily on my walk-out song.

“They stress about it too much and that’s just not my thing,” Gebhardt told me when I asked him about his, the sports-appropriate and splendiferous “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

Easy for him to say. As far as I can tell, people stress about it because picking a walk-out song is hard, unless you’re fortunate to stumble across it while watching a movie preview, as Gebhardt did.

“Put on Pandora and you’ll find one,” advised McCurry, who lifted Mykko Montana’s “Do It” from a college teammate for his Hops number.

I took McCurry’s suggestion, but to no avail. After all, how do you choose a song that you want to speak for you to the entire world? What message did I want to convey? Could I listen to at least a snippet of it indefinitely and not tire of it? Does it have that je ne sais quoi to make it perfect? Is this or that option really “me?” It’s quite the existential chore.

“It’s first, all right, what do you like and what’s going to represent you,” said Hillsboro slugger Zach Esquerra, who is an easy ID every time the first twangs of Keith Anderson’s “Picking Wildflowers” come over the loudspeakers, even if my eyes are not on the field. “And then it’s something that pumps you up, and then it’s like, OK, is the crowd going to like the song as well?”

When you find it, it works. Reliever J.R. Bradley’s intro is blues musician Otis Taylor’s “Ten Million Slaves,” whose toe-tapping banjo is a nod to his West Virginia roots and gets him ready to go after opposing batters. McCurry picked his because he likes the beat.

And mine?

I wanted something cool, something old and surprising that would impress others with my sophistication. Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation” was the early frontrunner. It’s upbeat, clean, and throwback. And besides, nothing beats the King.

But that wasn’t it. I ran through everything from Heart’s “These Dreams” to songs with my name in them — Boston’s “Amanda” and The Proclaimers’ “I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).” But I nixed all of those, too. They just didn’t speak to me as being the one.

I made lists. I watched the videos of some my favorite songs on YouTube. Wherever I heard music — the radio, the gym, on television — I tried to keep an ear out for the song that would scream “I’m it!” and make me wonder why I had not thought of it sooner.

In the end, I don’t know if it’s the one, but I’m going with “When You Were Young” by the Killers. I don’t know what it says about me — or even entirely what it really means — but I do know that whenever I hear the first notes of that electric guitar intro, I sit up and take notice, and before long I can’t help but start to tap my toes and rock along.

That’s good enough for me.

At least for now.

Amanda Miles is the Tribune’s sports editor. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




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