By Paul Mahaney
The last out is recorded as the crowd erupts with their approval, and then you hear those first few notes of that familiar piece of music that say’s your team just won.
In Yankee Stadium it is “Ol’ Blue Eyes” singing, “New York, New York” with the pinstripe faithful filing out into the Bronx celebrating another triumph. Meanwhile out in Northern California, the San Francisco Giants have just polished off another opponent, and the foghorn sounds victory as fans board cable cars for the ride halfway to the stars to the beginning strains of, “I left my heart in San Francisco”, as sung by Tony Bennett.
We leave the park to these tunes of victory, having become accustomed to them over the years, even looking forward to hearing them as they leave us smiling with the result being, another win. And that had me wondering, what are the songs that other teams play when they win, if at all?
Now the songs I just mentioned have become familiar to a lot of us who follow the Yankees and Giants, and no wonder as both are closely associated with those cities, and now their teams. In fact because of the recent attack in Boston, and the subsequent result being a performance by Neil Diamond singing, “Sweet Caroline” to rally the city, I reasoned that was the Red Sox song of victory after a game. Boy was I wrong, a popular song at games in Boston, oh yes, but not their victory tune.
Came to find out there are three songs that they play following victory at the home of the “Green Monster” in Fenway. However the one that gets the lion’s share of the attention is, “Tessie” which has been around since 1903!
Very interesting story behind the tune, it seems the Boston Americans (later to become the Red Sox) were down 1 game to 3 in the best of 9 World Series of 1903 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is a long story but suffice it to say, a group of loyal Boston fans, called the “Royal Rooters” took to singing the tune to the great annoyance of the Pirates, and thus inspired the Americans (red Sox) to victories in games 5, 6, 7, and 8 to win the series.
Such inspiration as a result of the song continued through 1918, the last year the Red Sox won the World Series, then in 2004 the song returned and, yep you guessed it, the Red Sox, after 86 years, won it all again. Coincidence you say? Well maybe, but today 2 more World Championships since, “Tessie” play’s on.
Out in Oakland, the A’s fans leave celebrating to Cool & the Gang and the tune, “Celebration”, and have been since the 1980’s. Up in Seattle the Mariners fans depart victories with “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix, while down in L.A. Dodger fans leave in the ninth (the few that are left after the exodus in the 7TH inning to beat traffic) with Randy Newman’s, “I Love L.A.” after a win.
Go a little further down Highway 5 to the other L.A. team in Anaheim, not far from L.A., but maybe closer to Mars, Angels fans hear nothing after wins. Like several other teams, there is a song in the 7th or 8th innings that the fans can rally behind, but no victory song.
Not so in Chicago where the Cubs (when they win) play, “Go Cubs Go” which is not to be confused with the cross town White Sox’s, “Let’s Go, Go-Go White Sox” played during rallies, but victories bring bing, bang and boom better known as fireworks from the exploding scoreboard, and that’s alright too.
In Cleveland the tune “Cleveland Rocks” as replaced, “Just One Victory”. The Tigers play “Don’t Stop Believin”, the Royals have “Kansas City Hey Hey” by the Beatles’, In Minnesota the Twins have a “Beautiful Day”, with Ray Charles ‘doing “Georgia on My Mind” for the Braves in Atlanta, “Feel the Heat, Rays” is played in Tampa Bay, “D-Backs Swing” with Arizona wins, and “A New Pirates Generation” played for victories in Pittsburgh, “All I Do Is Win” is standard for Reds victories, and the Phillies have “High Hopes” for when they come away victorious.
Other teams have turns to stir the crowds before and during the games, and everyone since 1908 can sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “America the Beautiful” has also become a staple of late.
As you can see, each team wants to have a musical number for fans at the ballpark to call their own, and why not? Music is after all, the universal language, and who doesn’t love a winner.