2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Thomas Cason

A Glimpse Inside?  The Rhetoric of Player-Selected Walk-up Music

With the advent of the modern baseball stadium and the need for constant fan entertainment pop music replaced the traditional organist at the games.  By 1994, the players began to pick songs they wanted to play as they came up to bat during home games.  Regardless of how much effort a player puts into selecting songs, Koc and Curtseit (2009) show that playing music prior to high level athletic competition can establish an effective mindset, increase motivation, lower heart rate, and facilitate top performance.
The authors have created a database that includes every walk-up song used during the 2018 MLB season, as well as variables including player demographics and song genre. The authors will use this database to perform quantitative sentiment analysis looking for correlations in the dataset between the music and player performance metrics across all the variables. As Koc and Curtseit were unable to examine the effect of music in a professional context, the Spotify API will provide insight to take advantage of baseball’s unique logistics where players have autonomy over the music played.  This analysis allows discovery of the impact of music on top tier athletes through song characteristics including danceability, energy, and mood.