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99 problems but a hit ain’t one
It’s no secret that most Georgetown students are multitalented, but a graduate student competing for the closer role on the Hoya baseball team while managing a fledgling rap career sounds like a joke. He agrees.
“It was just a joke, a complete joke,” Mike Seander said. “Really, I’ll admit it first, it’s pretty ridiculous.”
Seander, better known to his newfound fans as Mike Stud, never intended to become a rapper. He was a pitcher, and a pretty good one—as a freshman at Duke, he picked up nine saves with a 1.61 ERA. And standing 6-foot-3-inches at 215 lbs, he definitely looks like he should be throwing heat, not spitting it.
“I’m not trying to be something that I’m not,” he said. “I play baseball. I went to Duke and Georgetown. It’s just kind of something, for whatever reason, I’m good at.”
No, Seander’s account is not your typical up-from-the-streets rap story. But while he may not have been shot nine times, he does have a long scar on his arm thanks to Tommy John Surgery. It’s actually the reason he’s at Georgetown. Seander blew out his elbow and missed a season, giving him an extra year of eligibility. It cost him a few mph off his fastball, but Georgetown was still eager to let him try to replicate his dominant freshman year.
What the Hoyas didn’t know, however, is that Seander didn’t just pick up strikeouts at Duke. Thanks to a few musically-inclined teammates, he learned how to put together tracks and produced a few songs. Of course, it was nothing serious. The songs were just something fun to play at parties. Seander wasn’t trying to get noticed.
“I didn’t put anything up, [but] we would send them all out to buddies,” he said. “We’d play them at parties and people were like, ‘This is hilarious.’”
But apparently the network of college baseball players is a pretty effective way to virally distribute music. Only about a week before coming to Georgetown, Seander got a call.
It was a Providence-area R&B singer named Gerven asking to feature him on a song he was working on. All of a sudden, Seander found himself laying down a verse in a recording studio with a singer who he had never met before.
Then, as quickly as it happened, it was back to reality for Seander. It was time for him to begin studying in the sports industry management graduate program and return to baseball, his first passion. And he definitely wasn’t going to be bragging to his new teammates about his brief detour.
“I never said a word to anyone,” Seander said. “I’m the new guy here, what am I going to tell everyone, I’m a rapper?”
He didn’t need to. The other Hoyas, like Gerven, found out about their new pitcher’s rap skills on their own.
Just like at Duke, the music was a hit with Seander’s teammates. Only now, they weren’t his only fans. The track he was featured on started to attract some attention, and someone from Universal Music reached out to him and built him a website. A local DJ found his songs online, and now his stuff is being played at bars like Rhino. Budding rap promoter (and Georgetown Sports Information Director) Mex Carey set him up with a feature in the Washington Post. And now, just months after first fooling around with a microphone, Seander, who produces and records about a song a week, has people emailing him clamoring for more.
Seander is not letting the attention go to his head though. He says he wants to take his music as far as it can go, but he doesn’t hesitate when asked to choose between a rap career and a shot at playing professional ball. It’s baseball all the way.
That’s music to the ears of head coach Pete Wilk, who expects his new potential closer to help improve an already veteran Georgetown squad. Seander’s rhymes though? Not so much.
“He hates rap. He’s a big slow country guy,” Seander said. “But he’s a great guy. He’s been nothing but supportive. As soon as it started to happen, me and Mex sat down with him. He was like, ‘Hey, as long you stay focused on baseball, have fun.’”
That’s exactly what he plans to do. Seander’s going to keep putting out tracks as fast as he can, and is even preparing for his first live performance. But pitching comes first.
Who knows? Come spring, he could be the first closer to come out of the bullpen to his own song.