Hey, remember when people did posts ranking all 30 MLB teams? The instructions said one could use any conceivable metric. So I used the stupidest measure imaginable: Team Songs.
What is a Team Song? It varies. In 1903, Boston fans sang “Tessie” during the World Series, although that ended after the season. (It came back in 2004.) Everyone knows the Fenway fans sing “Sweet Caroline” now.
Sometimes teams commission new songs which are quickly abandoned in favor of old classics (see Twins entry, below).
So, I’m going by the songs fans generally most associate with each team. If it’s played or sung at the stadium during every game (or after every win), today, it counts. Even if better songs were used in the past (see Pirates entry, below). I relied primarily on this excellent rundown of all 30 teams by ESPN writer Andrew Pentis, but picked some others when I wanted.
Are you ready? It’s time for...
30. Atlanta Braves: “Tomahawk Chop Song”
KILL ME NOW
Crazily, they play Ray Charles singing “Georgia On My Mind” after games are over. THESE TWO SONGS ARE VERY DIFFERENT
29. Los Angeles Dodgers: “I Love LA”
Yes, the same damn thing they cue up when the Lakers take a late-game lead. I deeply hate this song. If you actually enjoy the image of celebrities dancing along in their expensive courtside seats, well, to each their own.
In the 1960s, Dodger Stadium played “It’s A Beautiful Day For A Ballgame,” which is old-fashioned corny and, mostly, harmless. (Cringe verse: “it’s a beautiful day for the ladies, so throw all your dishes away.”)
But that doesn’t tell anyone they’re fabulous for fabulously living in a place more fabuloustastic than everywhere else. So, Randy Newman. He actually has songwriting talent, although you wouldn’t guess it from here.
28. Miami Marlins: Various
The Marlins use a different intro song every season, penned by some pop star who either lives in or frequently parties in Miami. Zzzzzzz. Just go with the Will Smith one, already. U2 if you’re into European tax evaders.
27. Cincinnati Reds: None
The Reds keep trying different songs during the seventh-inning stretch, after wins and such, nothing seems to stick. Which is dumb, because they have this likeable old chestnut from the 1960s:
26. Anaheim Angels: “Rally Monkey Film Clip”
They change these up every year, and some are pretty clever. I’m still mad at the dang monkey for beating the Twins in 2002, though. And: NOT A SONG.
25. Texas Rangers: “Cotton-Eyed Joe”
They get points for using the 1967 version, not the heinous newer ones. Still, this video kinda weirds me out. Does every Texan dream of being a high-school quarterback and dating a cheerleader?
24. Houston Astros, “Deep In The Heart Of Texas”
Real original, ‘Stros. Why not at least go with this rendition?
23. Tampa Bay Rays: “Feel The Heat, Rays”
The team commissioned an area musician for this one. I appreciate that they went local, but the song is ... pretty awful.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates: “A New Pirates Generation”
A complete nothingburger. Charlie Wilmoth at Bucs Dugout wrote a hilarious post hating on every note. The team’s tried to get rid of it; fans are attached to the thing.
What makes it worse is that the Pirates once had a great song! The 1979 Pirates, the championship team featuring Willie Stargell and Mr. Blylevn, used Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.” Just pay for the rights, Pirates!
21. Colorado Rockies: “Take The Field”
They were apparently using this orchestral number as recently as 2014. It’s written by a Colorado native, that’s cool. After you see Cuddyer about ten seconds in, skip the rest.
20. San Diego Padres: “Marine Corps Anthem”
They play it during the fourth inning at Petco, and everyone removes their caps. I’m not crazy about how sports keep becoming more-and-more military tributes; however, San Diego has a huge military population, so this makes sense.
But they don’t sing it! I thought everybody knew at least the first line (“From the Halls of Montezuma...”) Well, maybe given the large Hispanic population in San Diego, that’s for the best.
(The lyrics to the Air Force song are positively depressing.)
19. Montreal Expos: “Chanson Theme des Expos”
I refuse to acknowledge that the Nationals exist. This is a nice old-timey organ number.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks: “D-backs Swing” by Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Provided by a Tempe, AZ bar band that had enough gumption to stick around. And also has a fantastic band name. I really like the bass line here.
17. Boston Red Sox: “Sweet Caroline”
So why is this a Boston song? Neil Diamond isn’t from Boston. Well, the song’s about Caroline Kennedy, who is sort of from Boston, but that ain’t the reason. Nope, the music director just played it during the seventh in 2002, and people liked singing along.
16. Baltimore Orioles: “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”
Same deal as at Fenway (no Baltimore connection whatsoever) but has been in use longer, since 1975.
15. Cleveland Indians: “Cleveland Rocks”
I’m no big fan, but hey, it is kinda their city’s song.
14. Milwaukee Brewers: “The Beer Barrel Polka”
They’ve been doing this since the Brewers started playing in old Milwaukee County Stadium. Here are some Milwaukee fans who are definitely enjoying their Miller.
13. New York Yankees: “New York, New York”
Yes, it’s Sinatra. Yes, it’s got the classic opening horns. Yet, if you’re not a Yankees fan, this song gets really annoying. It’s the Yankee fans’ version of “I Love LA” — arrogance and presumed personal superiority in song form. (New Yorkers aren’t usually like that, while Yankee fans usually are.) Much better song than “I Love LA,” though.
12. Philadelphia Phillies: “High Hopes”
Another Sinatra standard, but way cooler usage. 38-year Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas was famous for his love of the song, which he’d sing at team celebrations. After he died in 2009, the Phillies play a video of him singing it at every game.
11. New York Mets: “Meet The Mets”
Many Twins fans consider the Mets to be kind of a sister team; they both started in 1961, they’ve both always been loveable underdogs with a history of unassuming stars. So it makes sense that this Mets song feels very much like the Twins song. They have that kind of goofy, “family fun” sound you associate with old TV commercials. Here’s a 1970’s edition.
10. San Francisco Giants: “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”
This is how it’s done, Yankees! No less a great voice than Sinatra, by all accounts a much less angry guy, and the song is about loving your town, not considering every other city in the world a rube-ridden backwater.
9. Seattle Mariners: Local Classics
They use “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen in the seventh inning, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” after a home win. While Hendrix’s Seattle boyhood is well-established (he’d sit on a hill overlooking the ballpark in Tacoma and watch games for free), I don’t know about “Louie Louie.” Some Portlanders claim that as theirs. But, same basic neighborhood, so it gets a pass.
8. Kansas City Royals: “Kansas City”
What’s really cool about this as a postgame song is, not only do you get to hear a blues standard, but the Royals have used all kinds of different versions — including the Beatles. Here’s a great version:
7. Oakland A’s: Medley/”Theme For Oakland”/”Celebration”
After five playoff appearances and three championships in the 1970s, the A’s fell on tough times. They went 54-108 in 1979, and there was talk of moving the team. That changed with the emerging stardom of Rickey Henderson. Oakland make it back to the playoffs in 1981, and started playing Kool & The Gang’s classic after victories.
In 2015, the team started using “Theme For Oakland” by local cult favorite The Phenomenauts. They’re kinda like a space-centered Devo, and help raise money for science education. Cool, right? Not Kool, said older fans.
So apparently what they do now is begin with “Theme For Oakland” then switch to “Celebration” after a little bit. It seems like the best solution. While “Theme For Oakland” starts out pretty rockin’, it only has one stanza, so perfect material for a DJ mix.
6. Detroit Tigers: “Go Get ‘Em Tigers”
Fantastic example of how you update an old baseball theme song — with full orchestra and a kids’ choir!
5. St. Louis Cardinals: That Jingle From That Bud Ad With The Horses
Since most people on the Internet don’t remember these things, there used to be a form of commercial entertainment known as “television,” which was paid for by advertisements. In the late 70’s, Budweiser plastered the airwaves with a beer commercial featuring this tune. Because the Cardinals were owned for years by Anheiser-Busch, which makes Budweiser, the well-known jingle started being played at Busch Memorial Stadium. Here’s great footage of the late Cardinals organist Ernie Hays:
4. Chicago White Sox: “Let’s Go, Go-Go White Sox”
Simply a fantastic old baseball song, inspired by the 1959 team. The best thing about it? It’s performed by an act called Captain Stubby and The Buccaneers.
3. Toronto Blue Jays: “OK Blue Jays”
This was commissioned by the team in 1983, so the references are all dated, but it seems Toronto fans don’t pay attention to the lyrics anyways. (The singer, Keith Hampshire, sounds like Kermit The Frog’s stoned brother-in-law. It’s kinda sweet.) Everyone just sings the chorus, which is a lot of fun. This is a superb clip video, really well-done:
Incidentally Hampshire sung the original 70’s version of “The First Cut Is The Deepest.” I didn’t know there was a 70’s version.
2. Chicago Cubs: “Go Cubs Go”
Steve Goodman is kinda my hero, and he dashed off this quickie for WGN when he needed money. (He always needed money; he had leukemia his entire adult life.)
It’s by no means up to Goodman’s usual standards. And the Cubs have thought about changing it for years. But, now that they’ve played it after a World Series win (and it’s even been on “Dancing With The Stars”!), the Cubs are stuck with the song for, presumably, eternity.
Like I’ve always said: although he died in 1984, and his ashes were scattered on Wrigley’s pitching mound, Steve Goodman lives.
Not hard to see coming, right? But there’s only 50% home team favoritism in play here.
Local blog personality Adalberto Maija has already explained how the Twins were sponsored by Hamm’s beer from the 1961 get-go; “We’re Gonna Win Twins” is just new lyrics set to an old ad jingle Hamm’s was retiring. (The composer was named Ray Charles! Alas, not THAT Ray Charles, different guy.)
The thing is, the Twins really tried hard to replace it in 2010, for the opening of Target Field. They hired local White Semi-Bluesy Guy G.B. Leighton to write a song, which he did, and Fox Sports North made a professional-looking video for it.
Only problem? The song was spectacularly awful. It’s a hodgepodge of power chords and player names. You can’t even find that FSN video anymore (although, if you’re dying to know, here’s a live version of the song).
So, “Win Twins” ain’t going anywhere. What’s more, unlike most homemade songs on this list, everybody knows all the words, not just the refrain. (There is no refrain, and there’s really only one verse. Yeah, there’s two, but the second verse doesn’t count.)
It’s been done A LOT of different ways:
- The version used originally
- One which sounds like a cross between early Prince and the “Star Wars” disco theme
- Dixieland jazz
- Essence Of 1980s, complete with a pseudo-David Sanborn sax
- A Twins blogger, TJazzy, did his own cover with fun video-game clips. (It looks like he kept the blog going for seven years — that’s a pretty long lifespan for an independent blog!)
The wildest, though, is this 1990 polka rendition from the Pierce County Fair in Ellsworth, Wisconsin:
Clearly, “Win Twins” is the best Team Song. YouTube has decreed it to be so, and thus I agree.
What’s the best way to play "Win Twins"?
This poll is closed
Current one used at ballpark
Hormel Hot Dog song
I work at SB Nation and tell all writers to never do anything over 20 words