Susan "Sue" Owen '94 February 19, 2017 5:03 PM updated: February 17, 2023 3:13 PM
When Aggie baseball's in swing, it's time for bubbles and “Ball 5”!
Here’s a guide to some of the most iconic Texas A&M baseball traditions (thanks in part to TexAgs threads like this).
Two A&M players started this tradition, and it bubbled up to the stands. Now, cascades of bubbles fill the ballpark when the Aggies score a run. Back in 2015, infielder Patrick McLendon '15 bought a small plastic bubble machine and set it running in the dugout as part of a running joke with pitcher Corbin Martin '18 (the Eagle recorded the full story here). Initially a celebration of home runs, it’s expanded to runs and other achievements. Fans all over the stands bring their own bubble machines. And the ballpark's "guest services" window even offers bubble refills.
“Ball 5… Ball 6… Ball 7…”
When an opposing pitcher throws four balls and walks an Aggie to first base, the fans start predicting what he’s going to throw next: “Ball 5… Ball 5… Ball 5…” with an arm-chop gesture extending five fingers. If the next pitch is indeed a ball, up the crowd goes to “Ball 6....” and onwards. There’s evidence to show this successfully gets into a pitcher’s head. It’s not clear what the highest count ever has been, but we know it has gotten as high as "Ball 12" (2017 video).
Since the early 1980s, when an Aggie pitcher strikes out a batter, a clip from the opening of the old TV show “The Rifleman” plays — usually with fans singsonging “It makes you feel so good!” Texas A&M Athletics has the full story here.
Betting on the engines
With a railroad running along the right-field wall, trains are a frequent feature of games in College Station. Fans hear the whistle of an approaching train and hold up fingers to bet on how many locomotives it will have. (There’s no prize other than the glory of being right.) Sometimes a train will whistle “Hullabaloo caneck caneck” at the fans. Whoop!
If the Aggies have runners on base threatening to score, you may hear this menacing theme. The students in Section 203 (and elsewhere) may accompany this with shark-chomp gestures. Overall, the music and effects played by the PA announcer add a lot to the Blue Bell Park experience. Find a list of the traditional favorites compiled by Sanden Stewart '07 here. And tip your cap to longtime Aggie baseball PA announcer Rick Hill '87, who built a terrific following over decades before he retired in January 2023.
Yelling opposing pitcher’s name
Fans will singsong the opposing pitcher’s first name at him to put on pressure, as well as after the PA plays the “Charge!” bugle call.
“Walk is cheaper”
If a big hitter for the Aggies comes up to the plate with runners in scoring position, the fans may suggest to the opposing pitcher that he’d be better off intentionally walking the batter than letting him bat in the runners.
The fans will encourage the first-base coach to “Get in the box!,” urge a coach talking to a player to “Touch his butt!,” and, when a coach goes to the mound to talk with his pitcher, argue both sides of the case by alternating calls of “Take him out!” and “Leave him in!”
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