Levin, Baseball and Walk-Up Music | Webster University

Levin, Baseball and Walk-Up Music

ST. LOUIS (September 4, 2019) – Allison Levin has been an adjunct faculty member at Webster University for three years. She teaches mostly sports-related courses including Sports Communication, Sports Media Strategies, the Impact of Social Media on Sports, and Sports Analytics. She teaches First Year Seminars and courses in the School of Communications and the School of Business.
Allison Levin
Levin is passionate about baseball and is a St. Louis Cardinals season ticket holder. At games, she often found herself singing short snippets of songs. She realized she knew neither the title nor the complete lyrics of most of those songs. Yet, music played in the stadium, especially player walk-up or entrance music, stuck in her head. This gave her an idea for a research project.

Around the same time, an assignment in one of the courses she was teaching required students to provide their own walk-up music and to explain why they chose it. From that, she learned that music carries meaning for people and inferred that the players selected their own music for specific reasons.

Levin started compiling a database of walk-up and entrance music. She further developed a code to try to understand how player identity is reflected in the music they chose. The completed database included walk-up music choices from all 1,853 MLB players from the 2017 and 2018 seasons. She analyzed the data by variables such as player age, national origin, position played, genre of music, artist, and song title.

As examples, her research showed that hip-hop music topped all five of the player age groups she established. The singer Drake and the band Imagine Dragons were the most popular artists.

In October, she will present her findings on a panel about sports as a reflection of identity at the Fan Studies Network North American Conference and at the Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference. Three School of Communications students will also be presenting at this conference.

Over the summer, "A Glimpse Inside? The Rhetoric of Player-Selected Walk-Up Music," one of her presentations at SABR 49, the national convention of Society for American Baseball Research, caught the attention of David Laurila. He is a columnist for a baseball website run by Fangraphs, Inc. Laurila described her research as "one of the convention's more entertaining" poster presentations while citing some of her conclusions in his column.

Levin attends local and national SABR events and is serving a three-year term as a member of the national board of directors. SABR and other events inform her research as well as her teaching by providing access to cutting edge research that keeps her current on industry trends. She also meets people she later brings into her classrooms remotely using video conferencing technology.

Levin is the faculty advisor for the Sports Media and Analytics Club. The club hosts movie nights, watch parties, and other events. On September 21, the club will host the 2019 Webster University Sports Research Conference.

In the School of Communications, Levin is a popular instructor in the Sports Communication and Speech Communication Studies programs.

About Society for American Baseball Research
The Society for American Baseball Research had its beginnings in Cooperstown, New York. It was the brainchild of L. Robert Davids, who on August 10, 1971, gathered 15 other baseball researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame to form the organization. From this modest start, SABR membership has broadened steadily. A decade later, it had reached 1,500; today, it totals more than 6,000 worldwide. Who belongs to SABR? Many major and minor league baseball officials, broadcasters and writers, as well as numerous former players. Primarily, the membership consists of "just plain fans" — anyone interested in baseball can join. While the original purpose of SABR was to band together baseball historians, statisticians and researchers, it is not necessary to engage in research to become a member.

About the School of Communications
The School of Communications (www.webster.edu/communications) at Webster University prepares students to excel as skilled professionals in the global field of communications. We provide theory and practice in media courses framed within a liberal arts-based curriculum, augmented by personalized mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Sixteen distinct majors are available at the undergraduate level as well as five master's degrees in diverse fields of communications. We offer BA and MA programs on the Webster campuses in Geneva, Vienna, Leiden, Thailand, Ghana, Uzbekistan, as well as in Saint Louis and online.

About Webster University
With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University (www.webster.edu) comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.