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Wyatt in tune with Phillies' music preferences

Wyatt in tune with Phillies' music preferences

Wyatt in tune with Phillies' music preferences
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Some Phillies are particular about the music played before they step into the batter's box or onto the mound.

Roy Halladay is not one of them.

Before his first start for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park last season, the team's manager of video coaching services Kevin Camiscioli asked Halladay what song he wanted for his first-inning warmup music. Halladay said he couldn't care less because he didn't hear the music anyway. But the Phillies needed to play something, so Camiscioli told the team's music director Mark Wyatt to play some Led Zeppelin -- any Led Zeppelin.

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Wyatt, 55, chose to combine "Moby Dick" and "Good Times Bad Times."

Wyatt, who lives in Newark, Del., is in charge of the music and sound effects before, during and after every Phillies game. He will be a busy man Opening Day.

He will arrive at the ballpark around 10 a.m. ET for the 1:05 p.m. start.

"In my job, pretty much everything has to be ready ahead of time," Wyatt said. "There's no real time during the game to change anything. You have to be ready for anything that's going to happen. You can't do it on the fly. I'm already at the ballpark loading up my music, so I'll have all the new stuff ready to go."

But on Opening Day, he will arrive early to see if there are any changes for the pregame ceremonies, which are extensive.

Wyatt has a computer set up to play music. The software allows Wyatt to make different screens for different elements of the game. He has "walk in" music for before the game. He has "pump" music for rallies during the game. There is "walk out" music for after the game, plus other things like the at-bat and warm-up songs.

He plays MFSB's "The Sound of Philadelphia" when the Phillies start their pregame presentation.

"That's the beginning of our night," he said of the song.

Then there is the song fans hear when the Phillies' lineup is introduced. Wyatt's friend, Pat Ibbotson, mixed five songs into one to create a unique intro: Kevin Michael's "Philadelphia," Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now (Rocky Theme)," Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom," and Edwin Starr's "Contact."

Some players keep the same tune for years. Chase Utley is an example of that. He has had Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" for a long time. But players like Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard change their at-bat music frequently, seemingly every few weeks.

Some players have casual interest in their music. Others are specific. They will ask Wyatt to cue up a song to a certain mark.

Sometimes Wyatt does it himself. Shane Victorino has used Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" for years. Wyatt starts the song a few seconds in.

"There have been times I've picked out a section of the song I think is good, and the next day I'll get a call and somebody will say, 'No, he wants the song from the very beginning,'" Wyatt said. "I'm like, 'OK, whatever. That's fine.' I guess it's normal that people have their favorites."

If the Phillies win, they play Harry Kalas' rendition of "High Hopes." If they lose, Wyatt plays something mellow, like a slower version of Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out." Wyatt chose that song because of the lyrics, "Get into a car and drive to the other side."

"It just sounds like you're on your way out -- Steppin' Out," Wyatt said. "That's what you're doing. I don't want to play anything celebratory because we didn't win. So I just play some mellower music. I have a few of those songs. You don't want to get too quiet like "Drive" by the Cars. That sounds like a funeral. I don't want to do that."

Wyatt is not a full-time Phillies employee, but he has been in charge of the music at the ballpark since 1998. He also handles the music for the Eagles, 76ers, Flyers and other local professional and college teams.

He also is a graphic designer, specializing in web design.

Wyatt comes from a musical family. He used to work in nightclubs during the disco days. That is where he got used to playing music for crowds.

Wyatt met Phillies director of broadcasting and video services Mark DiNardo in 1997. Wyatt started doing music for the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Minor League hockey team. He moved into Veterans Stadium with the Phillies a year later.

"I never really set out to do all the teams," Wyatt said. "It just fell into my lap over the years."

And the past few years, he got to play some pretty good music at Citizens Bank Park, including Queen's "We Are the Champions" the night the Phillies won the 2008 World Series.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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