Walk-Up Wednesday: Max Fried Edition
Hi again, everyone. Thanks for checking out Walk-Up Wednesday, where we find out why TinCaps players have the song selections they do at Parkview Field. Since we last caught up with Corey Adamson, he’s actually switched his at-bat song from Natasha Beddingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine” to “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” by Soulja Boy. (Hope that doesn’t stop you from coming out to see a game!) Hitters can be capricious like that when the batting average starts to dip a bit. Pitchers? They’ve certainly got their own quirks, but not so much in terms of their song choices. So this week, for the first time, we bring you what’s really “Walk-Out” Wednesday with Fort Wayne starter Max Fried. The first left-handed pitcher selected in the 2012 MLB Draft shares how unlike many of his teammates, Max actually does value the lyrics of songs. And as per the usual here, our conversation also drifts away from walk-up music and into west coast rap and fashion.
We present — without comment — Max’s walk-up song…
First, in case you’re not familiar, let’s go behind-ish the music of Macklemore (the one rapping) & Ryan Lewis (the one producing):
* Macklemore’s real name is Ben Haggerty, while Ryan Lewis’ real name is Elkcamless. Just kidding. It’s Ryan Lewis.
* You were probably introduced to these guys with “Thrift Shop” over the winter, but Macklemore actually began his career way back in 2000. He and Lewis started collaborating together in 2008.
* “Can’t Hold Us” is currently No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s been there for three weeks running now.
* One thing you have to know about Macklmore is that he’s from Seattle, and proud of it. So when he found out that the Oklahoma City Thunder (who deserted Seattle) were using “Can’t Hold Us” as their introduction song for playoff games, Macklmore was ticked off about it.
* Another cool sports-related note on Macklmore: he wrote a song, “My Oh My,” in memory of the late Marineers play-by-play broadcaster Dave Niehaus, who passed away in 2010. Coming from a play-by-play broadcaster, that’s pretty cool.
John Nolan: So Max, as a pitcher, is a walk-out song as significant as it is for a hitter?
Max Fried: It obviously doesn’t mean as much because you only hear it one time. And to be honest, I don’t even pay much attention to it. I hear it at the beginning, and then I just focus in on throwing my warm-up pitches. It’s in the background, but it’s more of just something for fun.
JN: So why’d you pick “Can’t Hold Us” as your song on the mound?
MF: It’s upbeat. I like Macklemore a lot. I went to a couple concerts of his over the off-season — probably one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. I’ve listened to Mackelmore for a couple years now, since he was more “underground.” Macklemore’s a really intelligent guy and puts a lot of effort into his songs. I’m a guy who likes to hear well-thought out lyrics. His imagery is so great. You can really picture what he’s talking about and relate with it. I interpret “Can’t Hold Us” as it’s all about what you’ve got and putting it on the line. For me, it’s saying I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can that day to be as effective as possible. Hearing the words at the beginning of the game helps me snap myself into a rhythm and remind myself you have to have confidence out there and to remember they can’t hold us as a team.
JN: During the course of the game, do you think about any particular lyrics when in need of motivation?
MF: Not too much. When I get on the mound, it’s mostly just staying focused and trying to pound the strike zone. I’m not really thinking about lyrics or music at that point. But before the game I have a playlist that helps me relax and focus at the same time.
JN: Since we’re talking about Macklemore here, I’m required to ask, do you like “Thrift Shop”?
MX: I do. I remember first hearing that one last year when Walker (Weickel) and I were roommates in the Arizona League. We’d listen to it and just laugh because we thought the lyrics were hilarious. We’d be in the car driving around and putting it on repeat — pretty much just laughing. There’s not really a song of his I don’t like.
JN: Since you mention how you knew about Macklmore well before he became popular, your batterymate Dane Phillips has told me that you’re one of the guys on the team who always seems ahead-of-the-curve when it comes to music and style. Would you say that’s true?
MF: Eh, I don’t know. I enjoy music a lot. I like hip hop and R&B, especially 90’s rap: Gang Starr, Big L, Biggie, Tupac. I like J. Cole, Drake, guys who have nice, smooth, easy-going songs. But I’d say Walker’s more into fashion. He definitely likes his nice clothes. I’m just trying to take a page out of his book to look nice every day.
JN: What’s one thing you’ve picked up from Walker on how to dress?
MF: More dress shirts and polos. He’s probably the best-dressed guy in the locker room. He’s always coming in with a button-down and slacks and cowboy boots or Sperry’s. He looks professional and top-notch every day.
JN: Going back to “Cant Hold Us,” do you think you’ll hold onto it as your walk-out song all season?
MF: Not sure. We’ll see how things go. Right now it seems to be doing well for me, so I’m gonna keep it.
Thanks to Max for the time. We’ll let you know if he gives us any scoops on the next up-and-coming artists out there going forward. Until then, let us know what TinCaps player’s walk-up (or out) music you want to learn more about next. Let us know on Twitter @John_G_Nolan or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.