A Musical Home Run
GSU graduate student keeps baseball music alive
As New York Mets third baseman David Wright stepped up to the plate to face the Atlanta Braves’ Derek Lowe, a curious tune echoed through Turner Field.
Braves organist Matthew Kaminski was playing “You’ve Got it (The Right Stuff)” by New Kids on the Block.
As fans figured out the song’s connection to Wright’s name, they chuckled or sang along. Some even sent kudos to the organist using the social media tool Twitter.
In an age when most major league baseball teams have decided to do without a live organist and use pre-recorded music, Kaminski, a graduate student in the School of Music’s jazz studies program, is keeping the tradition of the baseball organ alive.
Kaminski is one of 15 “live” organists left in Major League Baseball and the only one who is known to use Twitter. More than 2,000 people follow Kaminski under the name @bravesorganist.
“To me, it is fun when I can make people happy watching the game here or at home,” said Kaminski, who also earned his bachelor’s degree in music at GSU.
Kaminski’s clever song selections, which gently poke fun at an opposing player’s name, situation or style, have impressed the Braves organization and fans.
Before each home game, Kaminski tweets a list of songs he is thinking about for the Braves’ opposing team line up that night. Fans write in with their reactions and suggestions.
Throughout the game, Kaminski tries to keep up with fan requests – sometimes learning songs on the fly – and responds as much as possible.
“It’s a given you have to be able to play but you also have to be adaptable,” said Gordon Vernick, GSU associate professor and the School of Music’s director of jazz studies. “That’s what I teach the kids, and Matthew mastered it. He’s doing very well, and we’re really proud of him.”