Missouri looks to 'jump on' Oklahoma in weekend road trip

Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 4:39 p.m. CDT; updated 4:37 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 13, 2012
The Missouri baseball team dances in the dugout at Taylor Stadium before the start of a game last week against Baylor.

In Missouri's home baseball games, the team lines up inside the dugout and dances in unison to the Sugarhill Gang's "Apache (Jump On It)" as its hitters prepare to bat in the bottom of the first inning.

The tradition was started by sophomore Mike McGraw, a junior college transfer from Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana. 

McGraw came up with the idea as a way to liven up the dugout during games. 

"Being on the bench for a couple weeks of the first part of the season, we started coming up with stuff, trying to get everybody into it," he said. 

The Tigers started out with small things, such as tipping their hats to the opposing pitcher after a Tiger hit or screaming 'Woop!' in unison after a scoreless inning on defense. 

When McGraw's friend who currently plays at Ole Miss sent him a video of the Rebels dancing to David Guetta's "Love is Gone," McGraw thought it would be fun to do a similar dance with the Tigers. 

"I told coach Dan (Pietroburgo), 'Let's play it in the first inning,' because we always say, 'Let's jump on 'em right here,'" McGraw said. "He ended up playing it and I tried to get everybody into it, and then everybody caught fire."

The song even brought the team luck on the road. The song played at Texas A&M during a five-run Missouri rally.

The team hasn't done the dance at every home game. After losing the first two games of its series against Baylor, the Tigers ignored the song last Sunday while it played over the public address system. After another loss, the team refused to dance at its midweek game Wednesday.

"It started out every game, and then we started not playing very well, so we kind of felt like we had to earn the right to do it," McGraw said. "It’ll come back around soon."

The Tigers hope they'll be back in a dancing mood next week after their weekend series at Oklahoma. After being swept at home by conference-leading Baylor, the Tigers are 18-14 overall and 3-6 in conference play. Oklahoma is 19-14 overall and 4-8 in the Big 12. 

"Oklahoma's going to be a tough team, playing on the road again," Missouri third baseman Conner Mach said. "We're just going to have to go out there and battle like we did at A&M."

Missouri and Oklahoma will play a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Friday, with the last game of the series at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday

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