The Major League Baseball playoffs start this week. But, I’m not a stats man. I don’t care about talent. I don’t even really care about the intangibles — hustle, doping, all-American good looks. The game of baseball only comes down to one thing: team anthems, which give the ball park the pageantry of a Foghat concert with the potential of instilling shock and awe in the hearts of opposing fans.
On May 14 at the new Yankee Stadium, the Minnesota Twins held a slim 4-3 lead over the New York Yankees. The action: bottom of 7th, 1 out, bases loaded, Yanks slugger Alex Rodriguez at the plate with a 0-1 count. The pitch: grandslam, no damn doubt about it.
I was there. A solitary Twins fan wearing an old Minnesota cap in a sea of “Goodfellas” extras. And as Rodriguez rounded the bases, the “asshole” chant went up in my section — shouts and calls, directed at me, from a good third of the right field bleachers. My dad later said in a phone call, “Really, that’s just an example of the subtle difference between New Yorkers and Minnesotans.” And my old man was right. I’ve been to hundreds of Twins games without hearing so much as a “gosh darn, you know.” But ever since moving to New York from St. Paul a few years ago, I’ve been sworn at every time I’ve gone to the Bronx (even when I’m not going to a Yankees game).
The Yankees went on to win 8-4. But, my roundabout point is, the game was over from the start.
The Yankees-Twins matchup opened with a rendition of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” (Also, Jay-Z and Beyonce were actually at the game — I saw them on the jumbotron.) Now, here’s why I say it was over from the get go: Do you know what the corresponding song is for the Twins? A song called, “Twins Territory.” Sure, Jay-Z is a millionaire and Twins Territory’s G.B. Leighton is some working class bar rock musician. And, everybody loves the underdog. But, Leighton plays bad bar rock and Jay-Z, even though his song isn’t specifically about the Yankees, is just THE MAN. After all, he’s with Beyonce.
But, that was then and playoff ball is here. Next, a head to head matchup of the eight post-season teams and their songs, with predictions for the first round:
Edge: Rangers win in 5.
Cincinnati Reds || “Reds Fan” and “Reds Hot” (Remember when it was popular for champion sports teams in the 1980s and early 90s to make videos? That was a better time.)
Philadelphia Phillies || “Go Phillies Go” and “Phillies Fever”
Edge: Phillies win in 5.
Edge: Braves win in 4.
Edge: Twins win in 4 (despite their inferior songs).