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Indians notebook: Personalities of Todd McDonald, Tyler Phillips shine through in walk-up songs

Photo courtesy of Spokane Indians
Photo courtesy of Spokane Indians

In a sport where showing emotion is not common, walk-up songs can provide fans a brief look at player’s personalities.

On the Spokane Indians, first baseman Todd McDonald or starting pitcher Tyler Phillips each boast walk-up songs that do exactly that. 

McDonald, who is from Brisbane, Australia, chose two metal songs for his walk-up to the plate, “Traveller (The Fool)” by In Hearts Wake and “The Calling” by Northlane. McDonald says he began listening to his favorite metal genres, Metalcore and Deathcore, when he was about 14 years old and was instantly hooked.

“It was way different,” McDonald said. “Mainstream music … is such an image based industry … but metal music … it’s just real music. Real vocals, real instruments, it’s a band. There’s no keyboards or computerized music. It’s all about real music and it really appealed to me.”

Not only does his walkup songs portray his love for metal music, but they pay homage to his home country. In Hearts Wake and Northlane are both from Sydney, Australia.

While it’s one of his passions, McDonald’s love for metal music isn’t shared among his teammates in Spokane.

“I’m on my own,” McDonald said with a smile. “I never get to play my Ipod in the clubhouse or anything. I never get to do anything because no one likes it.”

Unlike McDonald, Phillips isn’t as serious with his walk-up music. While it hasn’t been played for him yet — on-field promotions before the game make it difficult to play starting pitchers’ walk-up songs, Phillips requested “At Last” by Etta James, a love song released in 1960, for his walk-out music.

“It’s the kind of song that’s going to put a smile on your face,” Phillips said.

While some may argue the song is more appropriate at a weeding ceremony, Phillips’ reasoning behind picking “At Last” has a few layers to it. Mainly, Phillips says he likes to stay relaxed on the mound, and the string instruments at the beginning of the song are soothing for Phillips.

One of the other reasons is more creative.

“My idea was that I’d be going out to the mound, and right when I get there she would say ‘At Last,’ ” Philips said.

And the last reason is one he might not want his teammates to find out about.

“It’s a song my girlfriend likes a lot too, and we sing together, like in the car,” Phillips said. “I’m letting my secrets out.”

Phillips’ No. 2 choice is Superfreak by Rick James, which was chosen for the same reason he chose “At Last.”

“I was hoping it’d be going ‘she’s a superfreak, superfreak the whole time I’d be out there, and I would just be laughing on the mound,” Phillips said. “Because I like to be loose and relaxed out there, and that’s what those two songs do for me.”

Game Notes

Last night: Newcomers Anderson Tejeda and Leody Taveras bolsted Spokane's offense in a 6-4 win over Salem-Keizer. 

Tonight: The Indians take on the Volcanoes in game two of the team's five-game series. Sal Mendez is the probable pitcher for Spokane. 

 




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