Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top 10 baseball songs for a HarbourCats home game

The subject of my favourite baseball song
On Tuesday, the Victoria HarbourCats sent out a tweet asking fans to share some of their favourite ballpark tunes. Never afraid to volunteer my opinion, I decided to compile a list of my Top 10 baseball songs.

My list doesn't include some of the ballpark staples like Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen), YMCA (Village People) or Cheap Seats (Alabama), mainly because I think there are more interesting tunes out there. Of course, compiling any Top 10 music list is a highly subjective activity and is likely to result in never-ending arguments. With that in mind, here is my list of the Top 10 baseball songs to listen to at a HarbourCats home game:

All Future and No Past, The Baseball Project
The Baseball Project is a rock supergroup that includes the former guitarist of REM, Peter Buck. Formed in 2007, the group has been churning out quality baseball tunes at an impressive clip. Their song All Future and No Past is about the springtime optimism that fans can have for their beloved team in spite of overwhelming odds ("The Tribe could end up drenched in champagne..."). After all, everyone is in first place on opening day.  
When the HarbourCats return to Royal Athletic Park after a road trip, this is the perfect song to play when they take to the field for the top of the first.
Talkin’ Baseball, Terry Cashman
Nothing says baseball like "Willie, Mickey and the Duke". The song may not have aged as well as some of the other oldies on this list, but it gets bonus points for including a reference to one of the most underrated players of the 1970's, Rusty Staub
Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, Les Brown Orchestra with Betty Bonney
This swingin' tune pays tribute to the Yankee Clipper's incredible 56-game hitting streak in 1941. It's a fitting homage to a record that will likely never be broken.
Although just about everyone who has ever seen a professional baseball game probably knows the chorus to the 1908 composition by Jack Norworth, few are familiar with the two surprising verses. For all the details, check out my 2010 blog post on the subject. While I wouldn't recommend playing the full song during the seventh-inning stretch, it's perfect for when fans are trickling into RAP.
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
I was hesitant to include the anthem of the Slightly Less Evil Empire on my list, but one can't deny the universal appeal of this Neil Diamond ditty. "So good, so good, so good..."
Big League, Tom Cochrane
Tom Cochrane may have been thinking about hockey when he wrote this song, but it easily does double-duty as a baseball tune ("All the right moves when he turned eighteen, Scholarship and school on a big U.S. team..."). It's a Canadian classic. 
Harvey Haddix, The Baseball Project
In 1959, Harvey Haddix pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history -- and lost. Although he retired the first 36 batters in order, he wound up on the losing end of a 1-0 score. In spite of his 12 perfect innings, Haddix doesn't get credit for pitching a perfect game, and this Baseball Project tune aims to set the record straight. The heartbreak in this song is palpable.
Centerfield, John Fogerty
Unless The Boys Are Back in Town is playing, this is the song you want to hear when the HarbourCats take to the field. Add a hot dog and a cold beverage and all is good in the world. 
Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?, Natalie Cole
Old number 42 is perhaps the most significant person in baseball history, and Natalie Cole's incredible 1994 version of this tune is a fitting tribute. As far as baseball music goes, it just doesn't get any better than this.

  • Before joining the HarbourCats, freshman Anthony Hermelyn looks like he will play a significant role for the Oklahoma Sooners in the college season that kicks off on February 15th. According to a preseason scouting report in Baseball America, he is projected to start at first base and could even be the team's closer. The scouting report states that "Hermelyn has a quick bat and a high baseball IQ... the Sooners have high hopes for him." It also mentions that he throws in the 92-94 MPH range.
  • HarbourCats GM Holly Jones was the special guest at the local Society for American Baseball Research's SABR Day meeting in Victoria on January 26th. A recap of the event can be found on the organization's Pacific Northwest Chapter website.
  • Pointstreak, the organization that manages the West Coast League's statistics, has recently setup their WCL web site for the 2013 season. It looks good to see the Victoria HarbourCats included in the official North Division standings, especially since we're already listed ahead of our soon-to-be rivals, the Wenatchee AppleSox.

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