Let’s call Part One – First Starter: The American League
Is there a more perfect time to make a change in how you start a ballgame than now? It’s a question posited by fellow Fancy Boy Jake Breunig and frankly a damn good one.
Now Jake wrote a fabulous article about abolishing the National Anthem this past August. I will defer to him his over-arching replacement choice(s) and instead give each city their just due. However, let’s first take a look at our National Anthem. What we sing is not the entire song. Why? Well it’s what one could call a little shitty toward ‘freemen’ AKA ‘slaves who were freed yet still being treated like shit on both sides.’ As with every war involving America, only the poor and minorities are asked/told to pick up a rifle. During the War of 1812 (when Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became a song… and later the anthem), freemen were not only ‘enlisted’ to fight for the American side, but the British took a lot of them and “allowed them to fight against their oppressors” which is code for “hello good dark chap, take this rifle and hustle up to the front lines and sacrifice yourself for our cause.”
Using today’s parlance, I say ‘fuck that.’ If you want to keep the National Anthem, and avoid the third and fourth stanzas? Fine. Wrap yourself in it, fucking bathe in it, I don’t care. Play it at every official government inauguration, ship launch, political convention, Ivanka Trump celebration for another patent granted to her by the Chinese. But NEVER at ballgames.
The following for this article speaks only to the American League, aka ‘the Junior Circuit’ aka ‘Murrica Lig’ are merely suggestions for what songs can be sung before a large double-jowled human wearing a mask and a chest protector yells ‘PLAY BALL!’ Some – nay I say most – have merit.
American League East
New York Yankees – so many songs to choose from. Immediately coming to mind are Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ and Billy Joel’s ‘New York State of Mind.’ But the Yankees have grit (and money) and there is no grit on those songs. Therefore, they get “No Sleep till Brooklyn” even though the stadium is in Manhattan.
Boston Red Sox – ditto with volume of songs to choose from. We will studiously avoid the antiseptic shit from the band Boston, as well as the severely overplayed Aerosmith. Therefore, the choice is “They Came to Boston” from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones which is a nice little ditty about ‘yea you’re a tourist now get the fuck out of here.’
Tampa Bay Rays – what the hell is there to say about the Rays? Tampa Bay is a haven for Seniors and hell for everyone else. There is nothing good to say about Tampa Bay, so the Rays get a Country Rap song that encapsulates everything about that god-awful wretchedness – “Tampa Bay Bustdown”by Yung Gravy.
Toronto Blue Jays – what a clean town… except for their COVID-plagued team. When was the last time you heard anything awful happening in Toronto? You have the CN Tower, a nice crisp shoreline off Lake Ontario… and a baseball team that cannot keep up in their own division. Their baseball is boring and as such they need a song to at least keep people awake through the first inning. I give you “I’m an adult now” by Toronto’s own Pursuit of Happiness.
Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore has a lot of songs about Baltimore, notably the Counting Crowe’s ‘Raining in Baltimore’ but the Counting Crowes write songs about a ton of cities, so they’re out. The Orioles suck and they’ve sucked for decades. They get the appropriate song – the theme song from The Wire “Way Down in the Hole” and all five versions. Odd as it is, this depressing song is still better than the Orioles. This version is by DoMaje.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox – Someone suggested something from the band ‘Chicago.’ Umm… no. It’s so Chicago to keep digging into their past like there is no future. Okay, for the Bears they are probably right but I would like to see the Bears win another Super Bowl just to get these people to STFU about ‘da Bears.’ Morons. The White Sox, and I am a fan BTW, merit better. Buddy Guy’s “Meet Me in Chicago.”
Cleveland Indians – The FBC Crew has been messaging me suggestions. Most of them I will not-so-politely dismiss, and frankly I was all set to give Cleveland Randy Newman’s ‘Burn On’ because the ability for a metropolis to actually have their river catch fire is really something. But it’s not as quirky of a tune as Jake’s suggestion which will make fans scratch their heads as much as we all do when trying to figure out what the fuck Cleveland’s Rock-n-Roll Hall-of-Fame is thinking half the time: Harumi’s “Fire By The River.”
Kansas City Royals – every once in say 25-30 years, the Royals rear up like a phoenix and win a World Series. But overall, in spite of some pretty decent songs about Kansas City, including the heartbreakingly beautiful “Going Back to Kansas City” lyrics by Bob Dylan, music by Marcus Mumford (yes that’s Johnny Depp trying to keep up on guitar). However, it’s a collective FBC decision we must travel abroad and pick a song that puts people to sleep faster than Royals baseball: “Royals” by Lorde.
Minnesota Twins – The Twin Cities have had a ton of good music waft out of their city the past 40 years. Before that we’d have to pick a polka. Of all the choices to blast out into the Target Field crowd, there were some obvious ones that would make their Scandinavian heads spin, such as the Replacements’ “Gary’s Got a Boner” and Prince’s “Darling Nikki.” But we will stick with Prince and give you a song just as sexy as ‘Darling Nikki’ but people sing it without thinking about it for a second – “Little Red Corvette.”
Detroit Tigers – The Tigers suck and they sucked when they didn’t suck. Kirk Gibson? Red ass. Justin Verlander? Red ass. They do not merit any song from any Motown artist, Eminem, Bob Seger, or even KISS for that matter. They get this red-ass dreck from a redneck poser posing with other artists’ work – “All Summer Long” Kid Rock.
American League West
Texas Rangers – Texas Rangers were formed right after Texas got its independence from Mexico and they whiled away time ‘protecting’ the border by snipe-shooting Mexicans. Great namesake for a baseball team located in Dallas. I will not lower any Willie Nelson song to become an anthem for this team. However, I will pick an appropriate song from the great country songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers” as sung by Jerry Jeff Walker.
Houston Astros – well, well, well. Are there a lot of songs about Houston? Hell, yes there are. But there are a ton of songs about cheaters, too. Astro fans will sing right along even though deep down they realize they’ve been lied to. Eurythmics “Would I Lie to You.”
Seattle Mariners – So much to choose from. Jimi Hendrix is an obvious choice, but why pick the cliché? No. We are going grunge for this grindy team that can’t seem to win a damn thing – even when they had both Ken Griffey, Junior and Alex Rodriguez penciled in the same line-up. They get two songs. “Alive” by Pearl Jam for the first part of the season until it’s apparent they are out of it as a division contender (so right before the All-Star break), then the second half of the season they get Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days.”
Oakland Athletics – Or the A’s, AKA the bay area’s B-team. Their history has had an elephant as a logo, rampant mustaches, rampant steroid abuse, and a micromanaging owner in Charlie Finley. Yet they get a great song with a lot of deep lyrics and bad-ass vibe, plus thinking about a bunch of white people trying to sing it makes me laugh. Childish Gambino “Telegraph Avenue.”
California/LA/Anaheim Angels – They won a World Series title in 2002, and they have arguably the best player in the game today in Mike Trout. There are a lot of songs about Southern California, but Anaheim has about as much LA in it as Hoboken has NY. So they get a song from Orange County native Gwen Stefani that, like the Angels, has not aged well – “Hollaback Girl.”
So that’s it for the American League. Want to fight me on my choices? Prepare yourself for some chin music.