A good song can define a generation, it can inspire a revolution, and it can even get you a girlfriend. Needless to say, this doesn’t describe any of the songs listed here. These are the songs that never should have been written and produced, and yet, somehow were. Despite that, these musical oddities helped shape the sport of baseball and have strengthened us as a nation.
The ground rules: The songs needed to be baseball-related, have a connection to one city or player, be an original creation (no covers), and have an unbelievable cornball factor. With Opening Day a mere day away, I give you the Ten Cheesiest Baseball Anthems:
10. Orioles Magic
"Orioles Magic" opens with some mournful horns before kicking it up into Neil Diamond B-Side territory. The song attempts to sonically capture Baltimore’s high-point, that 1970s Earl Weaver period when the O’s were part of baseball’s ruling elite. Unfortunately, the best way to do that is not to repeat "Magic! Magic! Magic!" every few lines.
One of the more recent examples, this cheesy gem was released in an attempt to drum up some Pittsburgh pride when PNC Park was opened in 2001. The song features the riff used in the opening to every Fox Sports Pittsburgh television broadcast and some hearty cheers of “Let’s Go Bucs!” Unfortunately, the Pirates didn’t give the group a whole lot to work with. They sing, “Pops, Wagner, Traynor, Maz, and heroes yet to be named,” but ten years later, there are no new names to be added to the list.
The song is only two minutes and fifty-five seconds long, but somehow manages to fit in 13 mentions of Carl Yastrzemski. That’s quite a feat, especially when considering how long each mention of Yastremski takes. It’s a jazzy little number that sounds in innocuous at first, but will then remain lodged in your head all day long.
It’s surprising that this is the lone funk number as I would have expected the 70s to give birth to plenty of forgettable anthems. It’s also unfortunate that the Phillies didn’t bring back the song during their 2008 postseason run. Wouldn’t you want to hear Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels introduced to this ditty? Now that the Phillies have the most feared rotation since the Braves in the mid-90s, I hope Ruben Amaro will do the right thing.
There were plenty of Minnesota songs fighting for a spot on this list, but this is the only one that is both cheesy and listenable. To hear The Homer Hanky and We’re Gonna Win, Twins more than once is to know what pain truly is. Plus, the 1991 Twins theme is so far the only song that mentions Dan Gladden in the history of music. (Note: this may not be true.) What more can you ask for?
You may think that this breaks the “No Covers” rule, but since the singer, Sari, volunteered to re-record the lyrics to her own song, I say that it stays. The song opens with some clips of Dave Niehaus shouting “Do we believe?” before kicking into standard 90s inspirational ballad mode. Later, Sari seductively shouts, “Way to go Big Unit,” and “Hey thanks, Edgar. We love you,” which is more disturbing than imaging Jay Buhner naked. It’s a Seattle classic.
"We Got the Blue Jays" by the aptly named Home Run offers the unique fan experience like no one other song. This masterpiece is the baseball equivalent of a Sartre play with the lyrics speaking to a fan’s existential baseball experience. The singer, with perfect Mellancamp gruffness, intones, "I buy a hot dog ‘cause I love to eat," and "I want a box seat, but they’re hard to get" Yes, I too, feel your hunger and your pain. Fortunately, he then moves into listing the variety of teams that the Blue Jays could play and woes are quickly forgotten.
For all the Mets fans depressed with the current tumultuous state of the team, they can always look back to 1986. Just be sure they don’t see this piece of dreck that makes the Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” look like Toccata in D Minor. While I fully support a song based on a pun, someone should have checked if any of ‘86 Mets had rhythm or dignity. A variety of players make appearances, but no one comes across worse than Darryl Strawberry who sounds like he is still in the process of learning English. With a stuttering delivery that is always a few beats behind the music, Strawberry fires out lines like, “Thank you, George [Foster], you’re a classy guy with a black bat,” and “Power, speed, is what we got/We’re the beast of the East/When you’re hot…you’re hot!”
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Scott Stapp made a baseball theme song? Well, worry no longer because he did it last season. Stapp, apparently given a baseball glossary, fills the song with a bevy of baseball terms like, “strikeouts, base hits, double plays,” and “one strike, two strikes, swing away.” I’m glad that someone is teaching the youth of America about baseball, I’m just not sure if this is the right forum for it.
Also, Marlins don’t soar. They swim. Just a tip.
The crowning achievement of baseball songs and the only one to come with its own music video. This gem from the 1986 Dodgers is a time capsule from a simpler time—one where Major Leaguers wore brightly colored satin jackets over their baseball pants; where players would help each other preen in front of a mirror before going out for the night; and where a man could point to his fellow teammates and say, “We’re a bunch of guys who like to score,” without being creepy. Watching Orel Hershisher dance is what YouTube was made for.
And with that, the list is finished. Maybe one day team themes will come back in vogue and we can revisit the official Team Anthem Hall of Fame. Any you think should have been on the list? Leave them in the comments.
One final and important note: I couldn’t have put this list together without a lot of help from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, including the men and women who run Hall of Very Good, Seamheads, 1995 Mariners, The Eddie Kranepool Society, El Maquino, Paap Fly, C70 At The Bat, Splashing Pumpkins, Tribe Scribe, Rum Bunter, WhyGavs, COSFBA, Ben’s Baseball Bias, Garlic Fries and Baseball, Stan Musial’s Stance, Rhino Rant, The Platoon Advantage, Sox 1 Fan, Baseball Engineer, Cubs Billy Goat, Subway Squawkers, Tomahawk Take, Watching the Game, and Ballpark E-Guides. Without them, these songs would be lost to the sands of time.
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