How 'OK, Blue Jays' became signature song

January 14th, 2021

TORONTO -- If you catch a game at an American League East ballpark, chances are you’ll need to sit through some song and dance.

At Yankee Stadium, it’s the grounds crew dancing to “YMCA.” At Fenway Park, it’s the tradition of singing “Sweet Caroline.” And at Rogers Centre, “OK, Blue Jays” is all the rage.

First released in 1983, “OK, Blue Jays” was written by Jack Lenz and Tony Kosinec. Singer Keith Hampshire was brought in for the vocals, and he might be a familiar name to Blue Jays fans who were around for the club’s inaugural season in '77. Hampshire had a handful of songs that charted well in the early and mid-'70s, with his cover of Cat Stevens’ “The First Cut is the Deepest” reaching No. 1 in Canada in '73.

The Blue Jays’ signature song is a staple during the seventh-inning stretch, and while you’ll only hear one minute of it at the ballpark, the full song runs nearly two and a half minutes. The shortened version you hear between the top and bottom of the seventh starts by covering, well, the basics.

The seed of the idea initially came from Paul Beeston, the former president and CEO of the Blue Jays who had been with the organization since Day 1. Entering the 1980s, the Blue Jays were still fairly new to the league as the second Canadian club. This wasn't exactly going to be a song that called their shot for the next World Series title, but they wanted something for the fans.

"The funniest thing about it," Lenz recalled, "was that [Beeston] said, 'Look, we're an expansion team. We've only been around for a few years. We don't want to promise too much, but we want the song to be fun and be something people can sing along.'”

The song has stuck around, with the original version still being used. There’s a dance that goes along with it now, too, and most stadium employees, season ticket holders and media members -- whether they’ll admit it or not -- know it after seeing it 81 times each season.

Here are the full lyrics to the song, including the verses not typically heard at the ballpark, which are a good piece of Blue Jays trivia:

‘OK, Blue Jays’

You've got a diamond.
You've got nine men.
You've got a hat, and a bat, and that's not all.
You got the bleachers, got 'em from spring 'til fall.
You got a dog, and a drink, and an umpire's call.
What do you want?
Let's play ball.

Is that a fly ball, or is it a seagull?
Coming in, from the lake, just to catch the game.
It's the last inning, our guys are winning.
Dave's put down a smoker, a strike and you got no doubt. (You're out.)
What do you want?
Let's play ball.

Related

OK (OK) Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let’s) Play (Play) Ball!

It's a beautiful evening, fans.
At the ballpark, when the game starts.
Warm summer breezes, sun's going down.
It's all dark at the ballpark.
That's OK, it's a night game.

OK (OK) Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let’s) Play (Play) Ball!
OK (OK) Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let’s) Play (Play) Ball!

Bring on the White Sox.
Bring on the BoSox.
Bring on the Angels, the Rangers, and the Yankees too.
We'll beat the Indians.
We'll beat the Tigers.
We'll beat the A's so bad it'll make Billy Blue.
What do you want?
Let's play ball.

OK (OK) Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let’s) Play (Play) Ball!
OK (OK) Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let’s) Play (Play) Ball!