Mike Seander throws out rhymes almost as quickly as he throws a baseball.
Clocking in his fastball at a blazing 90 miles per hour, Seander, a first-year graduate student in the Sports Industry Management program, is a relief pitcher for the Hoyas‘ varsity baseball squad. In his free time though, Seander is also an emerging hip-hop artist, recording tracks under the stage name Mike Stud.
For a fledgling rap career, Mike Stud’s is blossoming at an astounding rate, especially considering that he started rapping just last year while finishing his undergraduate studies at Duke University.
“We did it as a hobby,” Seander said. “One of my buddies had a Mac and had the programs to do music on, so we started, and it was really just a joke, almost.”
The joke suddenly became the genesis of a career when Seander received a surprising phone call from Gerven, a Boston-based singer, asking him to make a guest appearance on his track “Club Fantasy.” Seander, who was planning to leave his Rhode Island home for Georgetown five days later, agreed.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Seander said. “I did it, and I thought I was done with the whole thing, and then when I got to Georgetown, probably a week later, it was all over the Internet.”
With a small arsenal of recording equipment, Seander began laying down new tracks and introducing them to local disc jockey at Third Edition and Rhino Pumphouse. The hip-hop blogs started commenting on him and soon Mike Stud was being advertised as one of the newest names in the business.
“So Official’ is just one of his songs that I can’t stop listening to,” said one post on The Kollection, a college music blog.
“He appears to be a jack of all trades,” another blogger wrote on The Bingo Balls.
Jack of all trades sounds like a pretty apt term for Seander, who does his best to live up to his stage name. Listed at 6-foot-2-inches and 215 pounds, Seander is a formidable block of muscle. His on-field performance showcases his impressive tools as ballplayer. In his freshman season at Duke, he was awarded Louisville Slugger and Rivals.com freshman All-American honors, along with a spot on the All-Ping! freshman team. But an arm injury sidelined him for two years as he underwent Tommy John surgery, an operation that replaces a tendon in the elbow.
“The injury was awful,” Seander said. “I was really expecting to be back after a year, and last year I struggled, stuff was mediocre. I went from being the closer to somebody who contributed a very little amount.”
While much of Seander’s online coverage cites his injury as the reason he started rapping, Seander says that this is not necessarily the case.
“The two other guys I was doing it with were starters [on the Duke baseball team]. It was something I would have done either way, I think, but I guess it makes a better story,” he said.
According to Seander, his side-life as Mike Stud has received only positive feedback from his Georgetown teammates and coaches. Baseball Head Coach Pete Wilk made it clear that hip-hop couldn’t come before school or baseball but has otherwise been entirely supportive.
“I think what he’s doing is pretty unique,” Wilk said. “As long as he does not lose his focus on what we’re trying to do here, I’m fine with it, I applaud it. He’s made a very positive influence on the team so far.”
That’s not to say that Wilk plans on converting to Mike Stud fandom any time soon.
“It’s not Clapton, Buffet, Springsteen or country, so I’m not into it – never will be, no matter who’s doing it,” he said.
When asked if his newborn daughter would be raised a Mike Stud fan, Wilk just laughed.
“Hell no. She will be a Mike Seander fan, though.”
Teammates have also rallied around Seander, who did not tell his new ball club about Mike Stud until several players found out on their own. Since then, teammates have responded by championing his music with their friends.
“Once you get to know the kid, it’s pretty hard not to like what he’s trying to do,” said Dan Capeleff, another fifth-year baseball player in the Real Estate graduate program. “He’s outlandishly good at punch lines, and its kind of fun to be along for the ride.”
Catcher Nick Geary (COL ’12) agreed, adding that Seander works to include the whole team in his efforts.
“It’s a lot of fun, going out hearing his songs and jamming to it. He’s good, you know, it’s fun listening to it, watching it take place, and all the websites that go up. He really makes everyone feel like they’re a part of it,” Geary said.
As baseball requirements continue to quiet down for the winter, Seander has busied himself more and more with his Mike Stud persona. Working with Sports Information Director Mike Carey as a guide, Seander has eagerly launched into the offseason, investing $350 into a reflection filter and a pop screen. Both of these tools even out his vocals and help give his home-recorded tracks a more booth-recorded sound.
So far his efforts have been effective, attracting the attention of a North Carolina DJ who introduced his audience to Mike Stud with a drop-in phone call from Seander himself.
“He wanted to premiere [Mike Stud] on the radio, his radio station and also at a big club opening that he is doing,” Seander said.
Seander is also shooting his first Mike Stud music video this weekend for his popular track “College Humor.”
“We’ve got a stud director coming in from L.A. He’s a great guy, and he has some really good stuff,” Seander said. “It’s not going to be a YouTube, not really well done production. It’s going to be something that, if it catches on enough, it could be on TV.”
The video may even bring in a prominent guest, though Seander says that he cannot name the guest in question yet.
“It’s going to be a last minute decision. We are trying to get a huge, huge appearance from someone, a sports star in the area whom I have unreal connections to, but his contract has a few issues with it, so we are still ironing it out,” Seander said.
Capeleff, for one, is thrilled to see the Mike Stud video premiere.
“That’s going to be flat out epic,” he said.