Playing our song

April 03, 2006

Article, Page 2C

New York Yankees

"God Bless America"

They went the patriotic route during the seventh inning after Sept. 11 and have no intention of stopping. That bumped "Cotton Eyed Joe" from the seventh to eighth inning. However, the Yanks are best known for cranking up Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" after every home game. They sometimes play Liza Minnelli's version, but there's no comparison. It's like sending Barbra Streisand up to pinch hit for Babe Ruth.

Baltimore Orioles

"Thank God I'm a Country Boy"

Dee Belanger, wife of glory-days shortstop Mark Belanger, knew John Denver. In 1975, she sweet-talked the Orioles into playing "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" during a game. Fans loved it. The O's kept playing it.

The plug was pulled around 1986, but owner Peter Angelos brought "Country Boy" back from the dead in 1993. It's supposedly here to stay. As they say, "Life ain't nothin' but a funny, funny riddle."

Washington Nationals

"Sweet Caroline"

Alas, Neil Diamond's 1969 hit has become a little tramp of a sports song. It's now used by the Boston Red Sox, football's New York Jets, hockey's New York Rangers - and the newly transplanted Washington Nationals, who groove with "Caroline" during the seventh inning.

Milwaukee Brewers

"The Beer Barrel Polka"

Fans know it. Fans like it.

Texas Rangers

"Cotton Eyed Joe"

The Rangers have played that ol' foot stomper "Cotton Eyed Joe" during seventh-inning stretches since 1983. Other teams use that song, but Texas claims to have gotten there first. "We may be the pioneers," says club spokesman Jeff Evans.

Toronto Blue Jays "Take me Out to the Ball Game" and "OK Blue Jays"

The former is a nod to Americans and the second was written and sung by Canadian Keith Hampshire. He also penned the hit "The First Cut Is the Deepest," most recently sung by Sheryl Crow, but "OK Blue Jays" (recorded with The Bat Boys) earned him his only gold record.

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