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CBD Journal with Drake Browne (May 25th)

Judging by the fact that this is a baseball website, I feel that it is safe to assume that you all have been to your fair share of baseball games. I would also assume that at those games, no matter what was happening on the field, your experience as a spectator was either ruined or significantly enriched by the music that was played during the game. There is no sport that has more downtime than baseball, so even if I am exaggerating a little, it is safe to say that ballpark music is a key element of creating a fun stadium atmosphere.

So, knowing that I would be unable to play this year, I offered up my services to be the official “In-game DJ” for all of our home contests. This was something that I was really excited about, so I organized all of the walk-up songs and made sure I had all of the best tunes to play between innings.

In an attempt to liven things up for the fans, some of the players and I got together to brainstorm and come up with some good sound bites to play during the games. We spent hours on YouTube searching for the best movie clips and the most fitting songs for certain occasions, covering every possible scenario from wild pitches to diving catches.

At the start of the year, our team took a gentleman’s bet (gambling is prohibited by the NCAA) on how long it would take for me to cross the line and get yelled at by our head coach to cut it out. This is a game that I often played even before my injury, but now I had the loudspeakers of Latham Stadium and a library full of sound clips on my side. The over-under was set as the sixth inning of opening night, and the majority of the team chose under.

Even after playing Brian Wilson’s “GOT HEEEM” every time we struck out a batter and “Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood” when the other coach would argue calls, I got out of opening night without any complaints from Coach Smith. I continued to play clips from movies such as Step Brothers, The Hangover, Billy Madison and Forrest Gump, but the only words that I got from coach were compliments. I would even peek down to the dugout and see him laughing at times, which was the opposite of what I expected.

As each game went on, I would continue to receive great tips and ideas of funny things to play during the games. I received emails from parents and fans that were full of great ideas, and my library steadily got bigger and bigger.

Along with the number of sound clips that I had on my computer, my courage and willingness to take risks also built up throughout the year. I played songs like “Here Comes Goodbye by Rascal Flatts” when opposing pitchers were going to get pulled, and “I’ll Walk by Bucky Covington” when our hitters drew a base on balls.

My antics in the press box were a lot of fun for both me and the fans, but I would be lying if I said that they always worked to our favor. Sometimes, what I thought to be a funny jab at an opposing player or team turned out to be the exact opposite.

After getting beat pretty handily by the College of Charleston on Friday night, I knew our team would need some extra motivation to even up the series on Saturday. I also knew that we would be facing the Cougar’s ace Christian Powell, who we had historically hit very well over the past two years. The last thing that I knew was that Christian’s nickname in high school was “Boo,” and this was confirmed by an anonymous source.

So, trying to be a jokester, I decided to play “My Boo by Usher” as Christian took the mound at the start of the game. Had I known that this is his favorite song and that it would fuel him to pitch out of his mind, I would have gone another route.

After going 8 scoreless, allowing only a couple of hits and bumping 97 on the radar gun, Christian was the last one laughing. I apologized to the team and said that it would never happen again.

After this minor set back, I was able to keep the confidence rolling all the way into our final series of the year, this past weekend against the Davidson Wildcats. A late inning rally gave me the courage to play circus music for about 20 seconds each time, three plays in a row in which Davidson made errors.

This was the final straw for Coach Smith, who immediately yelled something at the press box. The volume of my circus theme song was so loud that I could not hear what he said, so he sent a player up with the message “Coach said to cut it out.”

And there it was. While I came nowhere close to the initial over-under, I got to the point where coach told me to cut it out. Since it was the final series of the year and I knew I might have been a little too trigger happy, I listened to his commands.

I got my karma on the very next play, when one of our players laid down a perfect bunt, and the Davidson pitcher hustled in to make the play. As he got to the ball and tried to come set, his feet slipped out from under him so badly that it looked like something out of a cartoon. He fell on his back, and I wasn’t allowed to play the circus music…

If you came out to Latham this year, I hope you enjoyed the music and that it added to your experience. If not, you either have a terrible taste in music or a bad sense of humor (or you were cheering for the visiting team.)

#32 in the media guide, #1 in your hearts,
Drake Browne

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