Sunshine and baseball are a cathartic combination for me. So when the Tabor College team’s home-opener fell on a 70-degree sunshine-filled Saturday, there was no place I’d rather be.
I arrived in time for the first pitch, camping chair and sunflower seeds tucked under my arm and camera draped over one shoulder. I set my chair behind home plate, slightly on the first-base side. It’s the perfect place for photo ops on plays at the plate.
I’m not sure what it is about baseball that makes my heart happy. Maybe it’s the sound of a baseball off a bat. Or maybe I’m inspired by the athletes’ dedication to their sport—how hours of preparation translate to performance on the field.
I never fail to be amazed by how pitchers find the strike zone or how batters hit a fastball hurled their way at 90 mph or how an infielder can glove a line drive with lightning-quick reflexes.
I find life lessons in baseball, too. A batter must focus on the current pitch coming at him, and not worry about past failures or what will happen if he strikes out again. It’s a “win each pitch” mentality. Those words are written inside the Tabor clubhouse. And it’s my motto in life, too.
Each spring, I also look forward to listening to the players’ new walk-up songs. Whether I’m at Tabor or Kauffman Stadium, I pay attention to the songs players choose to broadcast over the sound system as they walk to the plate. I like to think the songs provide a small window into who they are, or at the very least, shed light on their taste in music.
So this week, that has me thinking. What would my walk-up song be? Every time I turn on the radio, I critique the songs I hear for their walk-up potential and have started my own list.
First, there’s “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.
“I had a dream so big and loud, I jumped so high I touched the clouds. Wo-o-o-o-o-oh, wo-o-o-o-o-oh. I stretched my hands out to the sky, we danced with monsters through the night. Wo-o-o-o-o-oh, wo-o-o-o-o-oh.
“I’m never gonna look back. Woah, never gonna give it up. No, please don’t wake me now.
“This is gonna be the best day of my life.”
I like the positivity, but on second thought, maybe it’s too optimistic in case of a strikeout.
Then, there’s Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me.” It reflects the confidence I’d want to feel at the plate.
“They try to shut us down, and it ain’t gon’ slide. Only thing I fear is God and he on my side. That’s the confidence of God, ’cause he got me. That’s why I really feel like,
“You can’t stop me. That’s all you got? Come on with it. That’s all you got? You can’t stop me.”
Then again, something about it doesn’t quite seem like walk-up material.
Perhaps “Hall of Fame” by The Script would be fitting.
“Yeah, you could be the greatest, you can be the best. You can be the King Kong banging on your chest.
“You could beat the world. You could beat the war. You could talk to God, go banging on his door.
“You can throw your hands up, you can beat the clock. You can move a mountain, you can break rocks. You can be a master, don’t wait for luck. Dedicate yourself and you gon’ find yourself,
“Standing in the hall of fame, and the world’s gonna know your name, ’cause you burn with the brightest flame, and the world’s gonna know your name, and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame.”
Not upbeat enough?
I think Toby Mac’s “Til the Day I Die” is a nice choice.
“I’ll keep swingin’ for the fences. It’s like this heart is defenseless, against the passion that’s pumpin’ through my veins. Blood, sweat, tears, it’s a callin’. It might flicker, but they can’t kill the flame.
“I can’t stop, I can’t quit. It’s in my heart, it’s on my lips. I can’t stop, no I can’t quit. It’s in my heart, yeah I’m all in.”
That’s all I’ve got so far—my deadline fast approaches—and I’m not 100 percent satisfied with any of these options. I wanted to add a country song to the list, but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t come up with one that fit.
So I guess the verdict’s still out when it comes to my walk-up song. Thankfully, I won’t be taking at-bats anytime soon. If you need me, you can find me in my chair with my sunflower seeds and camera, content to be behind the fence, not on the field.
Janae Rempel is sports editor for the Free Press. You can reach her at Janae@hillsborofreepress.com.