Gio Gonzalez (USA Today Sports)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez defines the word original. Remember when the lefty gave each of his starting pitcher's a pair of custom headphones?
A couple of days before his April 25th start against the Reds, Gonzalez assigned a new and unusual task to Stylus Chris, a freelance disc jockey who occasionally works with the Nats. Gonzalez heard the song "Champagne for the Pain" by Red Cafe, featuring Young Jeezy and became enamored with the beat. He wanted it as his walkup song but needed Stylus Chris to cover some of the vulgar lyrics.
"When Gio wanted this song, I wanted to do something special for him," said Stylus Chris in a phone interview. "He's such a fan favorite and a good guy."
Proposed with a challenge, Stylus Chris found a unique answer: covering the song with clips of Nationals announcers singing Gio's praises throughout the last year.
"I think our broadcasters are some of the best in baseball, so I wanted to incorporate them in the song and really make it personal to Gio," Stylus said.
After days of finding the best calls from the announcers and five hours of editing all the material together, Stylus Chris produced the final product -- with help from his fellow music compadres DJ Trayze and DJ Geometrix.
"A couple days before his last home start against the Cubs, I sent it to his assistant. Gio was stoked," said Stylus Chris, who has had a role with the Nationals for the past five seasons.
Gonzalez isn't the only Nationals player with a custom song. The next time you are at the park and Tyler Clippard runs out to "Ready or Not" by The Fugees, notice the actual music and not the lyrics. Stylus Chris spiced up the instrumental by adding military drums to add some speed and pace to the song. It wasn't easy to execute either, because remember relievers have their songs played sometimes for up to three minutes.
Walkup songs can become dull and monotonous during throughout an 81 game season. To superstitious baseball players, they can make all the difference.
Take Adam LaRoche for example, whose April struggles were highly visible. In an effort to switch things up, LaRoche had his son Drake pick some different walkup music. Not only is LaRoche's slump a thing of the past, he's now one of the hottest hitters in the National League.
Or how about Jayson Werth. Remember when he first arrived to D.C. in 2011, he elected not to have any walkup music. Following that forgettable season, Werth chose songs by the Dave Matthews Band, Led Zeppelin and the theme song from the HBO hit show Game of Thrones. Werth has revealed a side of his personality towards Nationals fans while also reviving himself at the plate.
Stylus Chris, who also helps find and edit songs for the team to use in games, well as DJing for the in-stadium Miller Lite Parties, hopes other Nationals players will reject original music. A former high school baseball player himself, Stylus says he has a dream gig.
"I always call it my own little field of dreams."
(At this point in time, the Nationals are not releasing Gio Gonzalez's song to the public).