Previewing the ALDS - Which team has the best fan-made anthem?
Oakland A's pitcher A.J. Griffin is a stellar singer-songwriter. During a radio interview following a July victory over the Angels, Griffin improv'd a touching tune about how much he loves the A's:
First of all, that's a pretty awesome improv performance. But this amazing song got us thinking -- fans write passionate songs about their favorite teams all the time. Do they show the same devotion and intensity as Griffin's?
Let's take a look at a sampling from both American League Divisional Series matchups, and see how well the fans sing their feelings:
ALDS -- Rays-Red Sox
Boston Red Sox -- "The Red Sox Song" -- John Lincoln Wright
Ah yes, a country ode to the Boston Red Sox. This team is normally more suited to Irish-punk anthems, and yet a classic, twangy slide guitar seems perfectly apt for the 2013 iteration of this team -- bearded lads that they are. The song isn't as emotionally naked as Griffin's, but when your team includes guys like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, that's probably to be expected.
"I always sit up in the bleachers, I get such a wonderful tan. I scream and yell like a madman, so the Sox know I'm their biggest fan."
"And now it's the end of the inning -- the Sox are ahead 12-10. I'm so glad when my home team is winning, and I've got pennant fever again."
Tampa Bay Rays -- "RAYS THEME SONG" -- q12345ball
As you can probably tell from the lyrics, the high-concept "RAYS THEME SONG" debuted during the 2008 season -- a breakout year for Tampa. Not coincidentally, they beat the Red Sox in the ALCS that year.
This one gets bonus points for being as different from the Red Sox song as humanly possible. Also, these two guys are kind of adorable in their love of the team. This song is really the only one of our selection that matches A.J. Griffin's heartfelt singing.
"Got a new name, now we here to change the game."
"Our home runs go into the Rays tank, players go crossin' the plate. For it's 1, 2, 3 runs have scored and the Rays have won the game!"
"Tampa Bay, stand up! This year we in the race. American League, we in your face."
"Some think we can't do it -- oh, is that what they're saying? We gonna lose? You'd better tell that to Raymond."
ALDS -- Tigers-Athletics
Detroit Tigers -- "Go Get 'Em Tigers" -- Artie Fields
While those other songs all borrow from some more popular genres of music, this one is a classic ballpark theme. Hailing from the days of official team songs, Go Get 'Em Tigers is a bit anachronistic now, but therein lies its charm.
Do official team songs count as "fan songs?" To us, yes. It's not like Jim Leyland wrote it -- presumably Mr. Fields was a fan first and contracted musician second.
"We're all behind our baseball team: go get 'em Tiger!"
"There'll be joy in Tiger town, we'll sing you songs when the Bengals bring the pennant home where it belongs."
Oakland A's -- "We Here" -- Emoney
I'll be perfectly honest here -- this one's my favorite. Why? Well, it's not enough just to sing about how great your team is -- you also have to throw some shade at your enemies. EMoney's trolling of the Angels is top notch.
The A's have a wonderful musical tradition, but this song (debuting April 1st of this year) perfectly encapsulates A's fandom: rowdy, impassioned, and ever-in-love with underdog status. Does it stand up to Griffin's song? That depends on your taste. I like to think of them as a call and response.
"You can't see us, like the pink eye that CoCo got. We leading off the game with a solo shot."
"While you wrote us off, we were writing history."