Joel to sing national anthem before Game 3
NEW YORK -- The Mets' presence in the World Series has brought plenty of star power to Citi Field during their October run, and on Friday, they'll welcome one of their most famous fans to their ballpark to ring in their first home game of the 2015 World Series.
Billy Joel, a Long Island native and loyal Mets fan, has been tabbed to perform the national anthem before Game 3 between the Mets and Royals (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX; 8 p.m. game time).
It's an appropriate pairing, given Joel's deep New York ties and his history with a Mets team that has included him in its pregame festivities in past postseasons.
Joel sang the anthem before Game 2 of the World Series at Shea Stadium in 1986, and he also performed before Game 1 of the 2000 World Series between the Yankees and Mets at Yankee Stadium.
Ideally, singers who are invited to sing the anthem before postseason games are natives of the city where the game is being played. For example, James Taylor, who was born in Boston, has performed numerous times at Red Sox World Series games.
In that respect, Joel was the logical choice for Game 3 of this year's Fall Classic. Joel was born in the Bronx, raised in Levittown and continues to make his home in New York. He tours the country but has a standing date at Madison Square Garden, where he has been performing monthly for the last two years.
Joel also famously "closed down" Shea Stadium in 2008, playing two concerts in July to commemorate the Mets' final season in that ballpark.
The Mets have played "Piano Man" this season in the eighth inning of every home game, and have said they will continue the tradition through the World Series.
Joel's first Mets anthem performance occurred in 1986, when he had just released his album "The Bridge." A 36-year-old Joel stood at the mic just in front of the pitcher's mound while cameras cut away to personnel from both the Mets and Red Sox, including a very young Roger Clemens, Mets manager Davey Johnson and future Hall of Famer Jim Rice.
Fourteen years later, Joel's performance at Yankee Stadium concluded with a bald eagle flying in from center field.
Joel's career has spanned five decades, during which he has won six Grammy Awards and sold more than 150 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists in history.
He has been inducted into many halls of fame: The Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation's highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts.
Joining Joel on the field for Friday's pregame ceremony will be former Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Piazza played for the Mets from 1998-2005 and was part of their 2000 World Series team.