One of the great joys of watching the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field the past few years has been listening to the organist -- especially as opposing batters are coming up to bat. In a good use of home field advantage, the Braves organist, Matthew Kaminski, plays an organ tune for each opposing batter that has to do with their name, usually something playfully derogatory.
It's a nice inside secret thing to know when you go to the park, and fun to sit there with friends and try to guess why he's playing a particular song for each player. Kaminski also uses social media, mostly Twitter, to ask fans for suggestions for songs to play.
This weekend, however, the organ has been quiet as opposing batters have come up to bat. There was a great deal of consternation on Twitter from fans wondering why no organ songs were welcoming opposing batters. So I asked Matthew what had happened, and this was his response:
With our NL East Division rivals in town this weekend, we've decided to try something different and create a mood and tone that supports the serious importance of this particular series while the visiting team is at bat.
I guess I understand the reason to some degree, but I don't necessarily agree with it. Taunting opposing players is one of the few perks of home field advantage. I'm not suggesting that the musical harassment has ever gotten into an opposing player's head, but it might have; and more than that it's a part of the enjoyment of the game for the fans. We all know Atlanta fans can't be serious for nine innings, so some sort of levity needs to be injected throughout the game.
Did they cancel the tool race, or the cap shuffle? No, those sideshows are still there. But a personal taunting song for each opposing player... that's been replaced with generic "mound meeting" music.
In the grand scheme of things this is a small complaint, but it's one of the most enjoyable parts of a day at the Ted aside from the game on the field. Baseball is fun, and serious, but it's not so serious that it shouldn't be fun. Matthew's still there playing between some innings, including Take Me Out To The Ballgame, but that's not enough. Bring back the organist walkup music.