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The Daily Need

BASEBALL: An introduction to the 2010 playoffs (not by Ken Burns)

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.

For example…

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.

New York Daily News cover for Monday, Oct. 4, 2010 calls the Minnesota Twins an ‘E-Z Pass’ for the New York Yankees in the MLB playoffs

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:

Texas Rangers || “It’s Time” and “The Claw
Tampa Bay Rays || “It’s Our Season” and “Rays baby Rays

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.

Atlanta Braves || “Load Up The Bases” and “The Atlanta Braves Tomahawk Chop” (Politically correct version.)
San Francisco Giants || “Bye Bye Baby

Edge: Braves win in 4.

Minnesota Twins || “Don’t Call Them Twinkies” and “Twins Territory
New York Yankees || “Here Come The Yankees” and “Empire State of Mind

Edge: Twins win in 4 (despite their inferior songs).

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  • Guest

    In picking the Rangers to win, you have obviously neglected to consider the DJ powerhouse behind the Rays:

  • guest

    love how the author wove a story of americana ~ complete with jay-z ~ in with the current playoffs. cool.

  • MNGuest

    Not to burst your “Minnesota nice” bubble, but my husband and I live in St. Paul and go to Twins games when the Yankees are in town (he’s a 4th generation Yankees fan). There’s a bit more swearing going on than you remember. But I must admit that almost all of that is directed to the field (they *hate* A-Rod, but that’s nothing special) and not the fans. That may change for the worse if the Twins get swept this post-season series. One thing we all can celebrate: outdoor baseball in Minneapolis again!

  • Marc Isaac Potter

    … just a personal note: 20 years ago, The Giants making the playoffs would have meant a lot to my wife, RIP dear, you finally have season tickets … and all the playoff games ..

  • SMO Updates

    What a great victory for yankees 8 – 4 .Yeppie
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