Phillies’ second baseman Bryson Stott is A-O, A-OK this postseason (2024)

PHILADELPHIA - Baseball walk-up songs come and go.

Some Major League Baseball players have multiple tunes that precede their appearances at home plate or change them on occasion. For most the song is just background noise - not as memorable as many closer’s entrance music.

There’s been one walkup song in Phillies’ history where every one knew who was coming to the plate - Chase Utley walking to the dish with Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” blaring through the stadium loud-speakers.

Now there’s another gritty Phillies’ second baseman’s music which has captured the attention of a fan base that couldn’t possibly be more into a postseason. The Phillies begin play in the National League Championship Series Monday at 8:07 p.m. against the Arizona Diamondbacks at what should be a raucous Citizens Bank Park.

Bryson Stott strides to the plate to Tai Verdes’ A-O-K, a catchy little tune that fans sing along to and often keep going after the music cuts off.

Living in this big blue world

With my head up in outer space

I know I’ll be A-O, A-O-K

I know I’ll be A-O, A-O-K

When I see trouble come my way I be makin’ lemonade

I know I’ll be A-O, A-O-K

I know I’ll be A-O, A-O-K

Stott said he picked the song in 2020 when the minor league season was canceled and the former first-round pick was getting his work in at the alternate site in Lehigh Valley. Much like the Phillies’ clubhouse anthem, “Dancing On My Own,” there’s no hidden meaning behind why Stott picked it.

“I just liked it,” said Stott.

Stott admitted he appreciates that his walk-up song has caught on with Phillies’ fans and that they serenade him as he’s walking to the plate.

“I always thought it was cool when fans would sing the walk-up songs of players when I was going to games as a kid,” recalled Stott. “It’s awesome. I can’t explain it, yeah you can’t explain it. It’s amazing. I love it here. It gets me going to get into my at-bat.”

And those at-bats this season have often been longer than the full version of the song as Stott has become one of the Phillies’ most persistent hitters.

Stott has developed a penchant for fouling off pitches and extending at-bats. In the Game 4 clinching game of the National League Division series, Stott went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts but he saw a game-high 25 pitches - including eight against Braves ace Spencer Strider with the right-hander’s pitch count rising in the sixth inning.

Two batters later, Nick Castellanos homered for the second time in the game and Strider was handing the ball to Atlanta manager Brian Snitker as he was done for the day.

“Any time you face Strider it’s a grind,” said Stott. “He has really good stuff and has pitches to put people away. The more pitches we see you almost don’t care about the outcome as long as you see pitches and get him out of there. You want to put the game away, but we did what we needed to do and we got to him.”

With the ability to stay alive, Stott often does get a pitch he can handle and at least shoot the other way. He is hitting a very respectable .243 on 0-2 counts and if he can work the count full - which often means the pitcher is throwing 10 or more pitches - he bats .344.

And by seeing so many pitches when he comes up a second or third time, he knows the pitcher’s repertoire.

“I don’t think I have a big swing to start with, but I cut It down even more,” said Stott. “Any time you make someone throw pitches, if it’s an 8-9 pitch at-bat and it ends in a strikeout or fly out it can still be productive.”

As a rookie last year, Stott had a rough postseason, going just 6-for-44 including 0-for-14 in the World Series and both he and manager Rob Thomson said he was showing signs of fatigue.

This year, Stott hit a game-breaking grand slam in Game 2 of the National League wild card series against the Marlins. He is 5-for-21 with three runs scored and seven RBI after knocking in just three runs in last year’s playoffs.

“I feel a lot better,” said Stott. “My focus going into the offseason is making sure I could play 200 games, so I’m just preparing for that, taking better care of myself in general, working out a little more, doing treatment a little more.

“I was never someone who was in the training room. I always thought I don’t need it, I feel fine and kind of realizing and watching and talking to other people, you can go to the training room if you’re not hurt. It’s to keep you out there and be 100 percent when you are.”

Phillies manager Rob Thomson noted Stott might not have turned on the fastball he hit for a grand slam from Marlins’ reliever Andrew Nardi a year ago.

“He was a little bit tired last October,” said Thomson. “I don’t think he’s tired right now. I think the year before that, he’d gone to the Arizona Fall League and then he went to early Spring Training and then all of Spring Training and then all the season. So he’d played a lot of baseball. I think he’s pretty fresh right now.”

In addition to his improved offense both in the postseason and regular season - where he hit .280 this year as opposed to .234 a year ago - Stott has played gold-glove caliber second base, committing just five errors all year.

Stott just transitioned to second base from shortstop this offseason after the Phillies signed free agent Trea Turner and he’s made the move seamlessly

“I went to (infield coach) Bobby Dickerson’s house in the offseason and worked on some stuff there,” said Stott. “I was always told growing up that we’re infielders and you still have to catch the ground ball when it comes to you. It’s just a little different.

“I had three coaches call me when they signed Trea and told me I was moving to second base, and I went right to work.”

The result has been an even bigger role in the Phillies’ second straight trip to the National League Championship Series and a fan base ready to break into song when he comes to the plate.

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Bill Evans can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com.

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Phillies’ second baseman Bryson Stott is A-O, A-OK this postseason (2024)

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