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    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine.
     

    Bob Ramsey, the organist at Louisville Slugger Field, likes to think he completes the baseball experience. “There’s the crack of the bat, and the roar of the crowd,” he says. “But there’s also the bark of vendors and the baseball organ. I like to think of it all as the way baseball sounds.”

    He should know.

    A pony-tailed studio musician and rock keyboardist who today plays with several “event bands,” Ramsey got his baseball start with the old Louisville Redbirds and continues with the Triple-A Bats, now in their 20th season at Slugger Field. These days, Ramsey is stationed in the press box, with an organ keyboard in front of him, flanked by screens and cables. In the olden days, when the Redbirds played at the Fairgrounds, Ramsey set up an organ in the stands, and little kids clambered around him, even popping up heads under his arms to watch him play. “They’d shoot little looks over to their moms and dads, like, ‘Is this all right?’” he says.

    Once, Ramsey even had an interaction with a player (he thinks it was Barry Lyons) — while the game was going on. This was back when clubs were introducing personalized “walk-up” music for each hitter coming to the plate. “I picked out a tune with a beat to it and played that the first time he came up,” Ramsey says. “He made an out. And then the next time he came up he struck out. But instead of going back to the dugout, he climbed into the stands and started coming up the steps to me, and I was way up there. Everybody was watching this. When he finally got up to me, he’s shaking his head. ‘No hits in that song, man. No hits in that song.’”
     

    This originally appeared in the 2019 Best of Louisville issue of Louisville Magazine. Read more.

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    Cover photo: Slugger Field // Facebook

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