Ahh, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the pop of the mitt.. Nope, wrong article. I’m talking about the other sounds of the game. The songs we (or maybe just I) associate with the game. Baseball has always been tied to music. What other sport takes a break to sing a song?
That in-stadium relationship has only grown closer the last 20-25 years, from the emergence of walk-up music to the now traditional playing of songs like “It Takes Two” after double plays, I am willing to bet (just never on my own team, of course) there are now songs you hear that immediately take you back to the ballgame in your mind.
Here are a few that have always stuck with me:
Let’s go back to 1997, in a stockroom in a Target in California, call it 4am. I am on my overnight shift that started mere minutes after the Cleveland Indians eliminated my Yankees in the ALDS. I am handling my grief well, working my shift, until TuPac’s “California Love” comes on. Derek Jeter walked up to the plate to that in ‘97, so it hit a bit of a sore spot for me at that moment. By the time Tupac was asking “Sacramento.. Sacramento, where you at?” I had a fixture in hand, doing my best Brett Gardner on the recycling bin impersonation, beating boxes of paper towels and other assorted innocent merchandise until it was out of my system.
Now on to happier memories…
October, 2009. “Empire State of Mind” is being played everywhere, at all times, in NYC. Normally that type of musical barrage makes me sick of a song, but when you put it with the Yankees’ postseason run that year, it makes for a montage that Rocky would be proud of. Brings a smile to my face every time I hear it to this day.
Opening Day, Yankee Stadium 2010. Ah yes, celebrating the 2009 Championship. Welcoming Matsui, now an Angel, to join in the festivities. Nick Johnson comes up with one out in the first inning. Johnson’s daughter had a surprise for all of us. When her Dad asked her what song she wanted to hear when he went to the plate, she chose… “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. Laughter and shock grip the Stadium as he steps to the plate. A collective “Whaa?” can be heard. And then Johnson goes deep, and the crowd erupts, we’re clearly going to win another World Series and Miley Cyrus is the key! Brings a smile to my face every.. wait, no, I don’t ever hear that song.
We’d love to hear your musical memories from the ballpark, feel free to share in comments or tweet us @leadoff_batter.