NOTE: "The Wild Card" is a new weekly column on the Snakepit written by me, Clefo. The genesis for it came from the following paraphrased E-Mail exchange with Jim:
ME: I don't really feel like doing Pit Your Wits anymore, if there was something I wanted to do, it'd be a sort of weekly column where I write about whatever.
The name "The Wild Card" comes inadvertently from soco and the following twitter conversion:
@CLEFOAINTACRIME isn't Friday your day for Snakepit wildcard articles, or are you now Mondays?— soco (@socosoco) March 15, 2014
@socosoco I was trying to think of a possible title for that thing forever now, but now I'm going to call it "The Wild Card" so thanks!— Charlie Gebow (@CLEFOAINTACRIME) March 16, 2014
And so here we are. This will be about Diamondbacks or sports related topics that have a Diamondbacks angle or whatever. On we go.
You're at a game at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks are up 3-1 in the Top of the 9th with two outs. Here's the pitch, and a swing and a grounder to Martin Prado at third. He picks it up cleanly, and fires it to Paul Goldschmidt for the final out. You're happy that they won! And over the PA system you start to hear a bass line, you start to think "Wait, is this that one MxPx song?" But no!
Yep, that is D'Backs Swing by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Before the Peacemakers, Roger Clyne was the frontman for uber-90s band The Refreshments, whose most well known song is Banditos, which is a fun and lyrically clever song that you should take a listen to.
D'Backs Swing is not terribly clever, lyrically. It probably was never meant to be, since it was specifically chosen and commissioned to be a Diamondbacks theme song, and it just rhymes the word "back" with itself more than a few times. It's more or less non-offensive and hearing it is a signal of good things for the home team, so I don't really put too much thought into it.
But, man, over the years that I've been here, I've noticed that some of y'all HATE it. Like, a lot. You probably hate it more than that person in High School who was a total jerk, but you got the last laugh because you went to college and got a good job afterwards and he's working as a janitor in the student union of said college so ha ha you got the last laugh, assface.
It got me thinking about songs for and about pro sports teams. The key word there is "pro". College sports are a different animal. Everyone probably knows the fight song of the University they went to, mostly because if they ever went to a Football game, they probably heard it 5,000 times, as it always seems to be played no matter the situation.
PA ANNOUNCER: Johnson runs for a 2 yard gain, it's now 3rd and 5.
BAND DIRECTOR: LET'S LIGHT THIS CANDLE!
But college sports are just clean and for amateurs and untouched by the sort of money and corporate backing that pro sports are and the NCAA really really really wants you to believe that cause, uh, they might be in some trouble soon.
I looked through the caverns of the internets at songs for and about pro sports teams. It was a fascinating rabbit hole, and if there's anything that you know of that should be highlighted, do so in the comments! Here we go.
HEY LOOK WE'RE FROM BOSTON LOOK LOOK LOOK!
I imagine at some point early in the career of Dropkick Murphys, they played at a dive bar somewhere. After the show, they were packing up their equipment, when a guy came up to them and said "Hey, that was pretty good. So you guys from Hartford or something?" And they spent their whole career since then reminding people which Northeastern American city they were from, dammit. Not only are there two songs about the last two Boston based teams to win a championship in their sport, there is also their most well known song Shippin' Up to Boston. There was also a recommended video for a song called The State of Massachusetts as well on one of these videos. I didn't dive deeper into their catalog, but I imagine there infinite songs about Boston and its surrounding environs within.
They're more Boston than the band Boston.
As to the songs themselves: Tessie seems to tell the story of a bunch of dudes trying to break into a Red Sox game many many years ago. Time to Go seems to push all the buttons that D'Backs Swing does, in that it's a song that was probably written in less than a half hour and just incorporates terminology about the sport which it's about, then come back to the specific team.
The songs themselves are perfect for the Spring Breaking Dudebro who has had more than a few handles of bourbon. Not really my thing, but it's cool if you like it.
Nobody Will Accuse Miami Of Having Good Taste
Anybody who has ever read a Carl Hiaasen novel knows that Miami is a weird, violent, and often hurricane ridden place. This is reflected in these songs. Or it might not be, I dunno. We'll take them in order.
The T-Pain song is actually a "cover" of sorts of an old Houston Oilers fight song. Add in a more contemporary beat and setting the AutoTune knob on the soundboard to 5 o' clock, which is a staple of the T-Pain oeuvre, and you've got something very, uh, shiny and out there. Is it necessarily good? Well, uh, that's for you to decide.
The second song is fitting for the new-look Marlins, gaudy, flashy, and probably not a whole lot of substance. The first verse starts off with the lyric "Everything is great in the sunshine state, we've got the Marlins." That reeks of a crackpot dictatorship's ministry of information saying that "EVERYTHING IS FINE, WE ARE CRUSHING THE IMPERIALIST PIG-DOGS IN THEIR TRACKS AND EVERYBODY IN OUR COUNTRY HAS A FROZEN YOGURT MACHINE DUE TO FEARLESS LEADER!" when in fact everything is terrible and impoverished.
Now that I think about it, that fits the Jeffery Loria Marlins to a T.
I'm not going to make any comment on... that thing in the third slot. It's only here because I do not want to suffer alone is the Sisyphian hell of listening to it.
The fourth song is just ironic, because that came in the one year the Big 3 of the Miami Heat did NOT win a championship.
The Palette Cleanser
After that trip down south, you might think that there is no hope for anything anymore, but you would be wrong! Enter Brass Bonanza. Now, unlike the other songs here, this was not specifically written about or for any team, but it was made the official theme song of the Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes) of the NHL. It was written by Belgian composer Jacques Ysaye (under the pseudonym of Jack Say), it was introduced in the 1970s by the Whalers purely for the purpose of annoying opposing teams. When the hometown of Dropkick Murphys lost their NHL team, it was still played at Minor League Hockey games and various UConn sporting events.
You may initially listen to it and think it sounds like the theme to a 70s game show, and pretty soon you were going to be introduced to a panel of Lee Majors, Gabe Kaplan, and Terry Bradshaw and they have to try to guess what some random person is famous for. However... it's just so damn catchy and fun. I haven't stopped listening to it while writing this article. This is probably unhealthy for me, but I can't stop. Help.
So in conclusion, there are worse things out there than D'Backs Swing, but there are definitely better. It depends on your taste, really. That's how music and other forms of art work.
And share your thoughts in the comments, and like I said above, if there is a team song that is out there that is worth sharing for either quality or post-modern snark reasons, I'd love to see it. I do not want to live my life not knowing that The Eagles once recorded a song for The Spirits of St. Louis.