Joan Jett ready to rock with beloved O's

May 22nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Jake Rill’s Orioles Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ST. LOUIS -- One of the only things Joan Jett may love more than rock and roll? Orioles baseball.

As some may already know, Jett is an O’s superfan. So much so that the 65-year-old even keeps tabs on the team when performing concerts with her band, the Blackhearts.

“I usually take my phone on stage and I’ll put it on Gameday so I can pay attention to the score or whatever,” Jett said in a recent phone call with “I have it on all the time and watch it live until I have to go on stage.”

Jett (who was born in Wynnewood, Pa.) and her family lived in Rockville, Md., for a period of her childhood. It’s a homecoming whenever the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer returns to the area, as she will this summer.

On June 29 and 30, Jett and The Blackhearts will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, joining Alanis Morissette and Morgan Wade on The Triple Moon Tour.

The night before the first show? Jett will be at Camden Yards, of course.

Joan Jett attended O's game as a child with her father, one that featured a no-hitter by Jim Palmer.

The Orioles are holding 98 Rock Night on June 28 (vs. the Rangers), and Jett will be the radio station’s special guest. She’ll throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game and then have a stint as the “guest splasher” in the Bird Bath splash zone in Section 86 -- an honor previously bestowed upon former O’s players Adam Jones and Ben McDonald, Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Orioles owner David Rubenstein.

“The splasher -- that’s pretty cool,” Jett said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I just hope the Orioles hit for me, or I might have to make up some new splashing rules.”

Jett’s love for the O’s stems from her local ties. It also helped that the first baseball game she attended as a child with her father featured a no-hitter by Jim Palmer, who achieved the feat for the only time in his career in an 8-0 win over the A’s on Aug. 13, 1969, at Memorial Stadium.

In the nearly 55 years since, Jett has made plenty of visits to Baltimore and its ballparks. She has performed the national anthem more than a handful of times, including at Camden Yards on Sept. 5, 1995 -- the night Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,130th consecutive game to tie Lou Gehrig’s record -- and last Oct. 7 before Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Rangers.

Joan Jett believes a World Series trophy could soon come to Baltimore for the first time since 1983.

Naturally, Jett embraces when the fans yell their trademark “O!” which can be tricky to navigate for some anthem singers.

“It doesn’t make it tougher for me. That’s like part of the way I sing it,” Jett said. “It works with my rock and roll ‘Oh!’ scream.”

While Jett is a national anthem veteran, she said she’s thrown a first pitch only once before. So she plans on getting in some practice before taking the field next month.

It’ll be another opportunity for Jett to hang around Orioles players, some of whom she met during a visit in St. Petersburg, Fla., last June and all of whom she’s watching from afar on a nightly basis.

There are plenty of reasons for Baltimore’s strong 29-16 start. But one area that Jett has been most impressed with is the glovework shown by the starting infield of first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, second baseman Jorge Mateo, shortstop Gunnar Henderson and third baseman Jordan Westburg.

“Everyone comments on how everybody can hit, but the infield defense is insane,” Jett said. “Westburg making some plays, Mountcastle making some plays. It’s so exciting to watch. And you know, Gunnar Henderson, always making them. Mateo, making them wherever he is. It’s just really so much fun to watch.

“And the pitching is starting to come around. That’s what you need to be able to win. I think we’ve got it all. It’s very exciting. I’m so happy for the city, just in general, because I know the fans who are hardcore fans, like me, have been waiting for a while, and it’s been great to see this build and slowly coming.”

Does Jett believe a World Series trophy could soon come to Baltimore for the first time since 1983?

“Definitely. Without a question,” Jett said. “As long as their pitching stays strong, as long as you’ve got pitching, I think our guys can do it.”