Is it time for playoff-bound Orioles to finally leave ‘Country Boy’ behind? | STAFF COMMENTARY

A letter to the editor from Mike Heaps of Forest Hill means that John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” deserves a alternative at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the place the music has lengthy been performed in the course of the seventh-inning stretch — the transient interlude when the guests have completed their at-bats within the seventh inning and the house crew Orioles are about to take their swings. It is historically a second when followers are inspired to face and “stretch” (therefore the identify) as many have possible been sitting for 2 hours or so, and, let’s face it, can begin to really feel a bit drowsy, particularly at an evening recreation with requisite scorching canines and beer consumed. You need the Orioles to win? We want ticket holders in loud, energized, foot-stomping, hand-clapping kind.

The letter author thinks the Birds deserve one thing new and extra reflective of Baltimore, which isn’t precisely a rustic city — and he’s bought some extent. Still, the historical past right here is instructive.

The music was first performed within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, when it was a Billboard hit, as a alternative to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” which had been written in 1908. It was catchy, it was fashionable, and it ear-wormed its manner into the hearts of these each within the stands and on the sphere. Some gamers — together with Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Doug DeCinces — had been quickly pretending to carry out the tune at Memorial Stadium, air guitars and all. The custom caught and, as recounted by former Sun baseball author Dan Connolly in his guide, “100 Things Orioles Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die,” supervisor Earl Weaver insisted they maintain doing it lest they intrude with the crew’s successful mojo.

The music has performed on and off ever since, proper up till at this time, once we’re seeing one other burst of successful mojo. Some would possibly ask: And why would we need to mess with that? It’s a good query, however contemplating the tough occasions the O’s have had within the latest previous, it’s possible the music didn’t deserve the superstition utilized to it. Today’s excellent gamers can thank each other for his or her present place vying for the crew’s first AL East title since 2014. (Go O’s!)

While we’re not but offered on the thought of changing the music, we’re open to different choices. So what may play in the course of the seventh-inning stretch as an alternative? Attempts to swap songs have been made earlier than. Die-hard followers might recall the unique “Orioles Magic (Feel It Happen)” music, which nonetheless pops up sometimes, and a quick flirtation with “Old Time Rock and Roll.” As Major League Baseball’s web site has reported, the Orioles dropped “Country Boy” in the course of the Eli Jacobs possession period (1988-1993), nevertheless it got here again underneath Peter Angelos.

Ideally, a alternative tune would have already got a broad following and be comparatively straightforward to sing. And it’s vital, as they used to say on “American Bandstand,” that you may dance to it. A Baltimore connection could be good, in fact. Maybe one thing from Baltimore natives like Toni Braxton or Frank Zappa or Tori Amos? What about “Good Morning, Baltimore” from “Hairspray?” Well, perhaps that’s not everybody’s style. Bruce Springsteen mentions he had a “wife and kid in Baltimore, Jack” in “Hungry Heart,” however maybe the narrator’s resolution to depart his household behind isn’t precisely the inspiration we’re searching for. Joan Jett reportedly loves the O’s; perhaps she may write a music for us to the tune of “I Love Rock-n-Roll” — one thing like “I Love Balt-i-more, put another win in the column, baby!”

The apparent answer, as famous by Mr. Heaps, is to ask followers to come back up their very own playlists and see who crushes one onto Eutaw Street. After an affordable interval of soul looking and analysis of the nominees, an assembled crew of group leaders and Orioles gamers may maintain a “Battle of the Bands” evening on the Yard with stay performances to overview the finalists. Fans can then vote prefer it was the MLB All-Star Game and select a seventh-inning stretch music for a crew that’s (fingers crossed) dedicated to signing a long-term lease — which goes to occur any day now, proper, John Angelos?

We don’t have anything in opposition to the late John Denver, or his catchy tune, however do these lyrics — life on the farm is kinda laid again … I bought me an ol’ fiddle … I bought desserts on the griddle — say O’s, Baltimore and Maryland to you?

A playoff-bound, soon-to-be-division-winning crew (we hope) deserves to launch its personal traditions. Why not now?

Baltimore Sun editorial writers provide opinions and evaluation on information and points related to readers. They function individually from the newsroom.