Walk up music: bubblegum pop, with a huge helping of cheese.
Sun-kissed skin so hot it would melt a popsicle.
Milkshakes that bring all the boys to the yard.
Walk-up music so off-the-charts cheesy that if you’re not a 14 year old high school girl, you might wonder what’s gotten into the Astros hitters.
Being cool is so 2009. The name of the game these days is bubblegum pop music, and the hokier, the better. And if the song is just cheesy enough, an Astros hitter might just pick it as his walk up music when it’s his turn to bat.
At least that’s what Hunter Pence is hoping. He recently changed his walk-up music to “California Gurls” by Katy Perry. Now, being a child of the 80s who dropped out of the pop music scene sometime around 1994, I had never heard the song, and the only reason I know who Katy Perry is is because she’s engaged to that funny guy from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
So I checked out “California Gurls” on iTunes and now I understand — after hearing that whole “melt a popsicle” chorus — what Pence was talking about when he described his recent taste in music as, “As cheese as we can get. And it doesn’t get any cheesier than that.”
Teeny-bopper pop music is making a comeback, at least in certain annals of Major League Baseball. Pence suspects the trend began when Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki chose Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A” as his walkup music not long ago. At first, it prompted some raised eyebrows and a little confusion around the league. After the initial reaction, however, it just made people laugh. And it presumably kept things loose among the Rockies’ players, which is what Pence is going for.
Pence isn’t the only one who’s jumped on the bandwagon. He dared Geoff Blum to follow suit, and Blum, not one to shy away from a challenge, readily accepted.
That’s why you’re most likely to hear La Roux’s “Bulletproof” when he bats.
“It’s got a pretty cheesy beat to it, and some goofy lyrics,” Blum said. “It seems to be kind of catchy, and we won some games with it and that kind of helps.”
Chris Johnson jumped into the fray as well, but for him, mixing in a steady diet of cheesy music didn’t require much of an adjustment. He likes that kind of stuff anyway. So when he hears Kellis’s “Milkshake” (‘My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And their like it’s better than yours,’) as he strides the plate, you can bet he’s focused.
“It’s got a good rhythm and it gets me ready to hit,” he said.
So the cheesier, the better?
“I guess,” he said. “Those are just the songs I like. I have all three of those songs on my iPod. Miley Cyrus is on my iPod. I guess if that makes me a cheese ball…that’s me.”
While plenty of Astros still prefer to hear the standard far of masculine metal-head head-****** tunes, plenty more aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves a little while trying to win a few ballgames.
“The bigger goof you can be, the cooler you are?” Blum asked. “If that’s the case, then we’re going to pretty rad.”
Here’s the somewhat complete list of the walkup music choices of your Astros:
Matt Lindstrom: “Dangerous Waters” by Non-Point
Brett Myers: “Miracle” by Non-Point
Roy Oswalt: “I Stand Alone” by Godsmack
Brian Moehler: “Big Gun” by AC DC
Bud Norris: “Hero” by N.A.S.
Felipe Paulino: “Rusty Cage” by Soundgarten
Wandy Rodriguez: “TNT” by AC DC
Chris Sampson: “Dukes of Hazzard” by Waylon Jennings
Hunter Pence: “California Gurls” by Katy Perry
Chris Johnson: “Milkshake” by Kellis
Geoff Blum: “Bulletproof” by La Roux
Lance Berkman: “Seventeen” by Tim McGraw
Michael Bourn: “Showtime” by Young Jeezy
Carlos Lee: “Noche De Entierro” by Daddy Yankee
Tommy Manzella: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent
Jason Michaels: “The Big Show” by WWF: The Music
Roy Oswalt: “Whistling Dixie” by Randy Houser