PITTSBURGH — Austin Hedges has been a big league catcher for nine years now after debuting with the San Diego Padres as a 22-year-old in 2015.
Throughout his entire career, Hedges has been known as a defensive wizard behind the plate. The backstop has 76 career defensive runs saved to his name and a .991 fielding percentage.
While the baseball world may know Hedges for his defensive abilities, Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans may know him for his unique walk-up song choices.
Hedges, who was on the injured list for the Pirates’ first homestand of the season earlier this month, finally made his home debut on Thursday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
As Hedges stepped off the on-deck circle and made his way towards home plate, “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen blared over the sound system at PNC Park. In his second trip to the plate, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston was blaring over the speakers.
Both songs are iconic, but you’ll be hard pressed to find many big leaguers with those types of song as their choices for when it’s their turn to bat. The reasoning from Hedges makes sense, though.
“You know, well you only get a few seconds now compared to the past, so, I was thinking about something old school that maybe when the music cuts off, the people can sing along to a little bit,” he said.
Whether people were singing along or not cannot be said for sure, but it certainly looked like the Pirates’ faithful was enjoying the change-of-pace music when he came up to bat.
While both sounds are well-know and well-liked, don’t expect to hear too much more of Houston’s iconic hit when Hedges comes up to bat anymore.
“I’ve decided that Whitney Houston just wasn’t doing it for me so, we’re gonna stick with Fat Bottomed Girls the whole way through,” Hedges said.
The message, however, was not yet received by the Pirates’ sound room as the song was played in his first at-bat on Friday night at PNC Park. That will be changing soon, it seems.
Hedges is a lover of all different kinds of music and has all different walk-up songs throughout his career.
How long will “Fat Bottomed Girls” stick? Well, I’m not sure even Hedges knows the answer to that.
“I change it every year. I like to change it a lot, just make something fresh, you know. It’s something that’s personal that means something to you every time you step into the box. You definitely want it to hit home the right way. So, as long as it’s got good vibes and I vibe with it then I’ll ride it out, but I got no problems changing it. I’ll go to any genre really,” he said.
It’s always interesting to see players’ music tastes in a brief period before the begin their at-bat. Hedges’ choices coincide with how he is as a baseball player — high-energy and reliable.