Friday, April 10, 2015
Play Ball! A look at all of the opening day National Anthems, and why KC's was the best!
I am a huge baseball fan, and opening day, in my opinion, should be a national holiday. Nothing says Spring like the beginning of the baseball season. And my KC Royals are fresh off their first appearance in the World Series since 1985. Hopes are high for another great year, and a possible return to the Series.
My kids and I have a tradition of going to the 810 Zone here in Lee's Summit each year to watch the first game of the season, which is now on a Sunday night. All of the other teams start on Monday. This year it was the Cardinals and the Cubs. We watched the pre-game festivities, including the National Anthem. It was sung by long time Wrigley Field PA announcer Wayne Messmer. He did a good job. So what did the other 14 home openers have lined up for their National Anthems? Thanks to MLB.com, it's possible to see the highlights of every game played all season long. And the opening day highlights included the pre-game festivities. So I watched each National Anthem.
Cardinals at Cubs, Wayne Messmer
Yankees at Blue Jays, West Point Band
Twins at Tigers, The Four Tops
Rockies at Brewers, Joseph Attanasio
Red Sox at Phillies, Matt McAndrew
Orioles at Rays, Cozi Zuehlsdorff
Mets at Nationals, Army Chorus Quintet
Angels at Mariners, Navy Petty Officer (ret) Generald Wilson
Pirates at Reds, Marlana VanHoose
Padres at Dodgers, Tinashe
Indians at Astros, Clay Walker
Rangers at A's, Taylor Jones
Giants at Diamondbacks, Taylor Hicks
White Sox at Royals, The Kansas City Symphony!!!
There is no doubt that our National Anthem was the best. Just like Game 6 of the World Series last season, the KC Symphony was classy and elegant, yet fun and spirited. I much prefer instrumental renditions to vocal interpretations too. It's a very difficult song to sing, and it does take a great deal of courage to sing it on such such a big stage. So no matter who sings it, I acknowledge their effort. But I like it best when a vocalist sings it straight, without any over the top theatrics or tricked up funny business. I sense that many singers feel compelled to make it "their own", so they add all sorts of personal changes. This song, more than any other, stands on it's own and should not be about any one person. That's just my opinion. (What about Jimi Hendrix's interpretation at Woodstock in 1969? Great question. That was a bold and controversial statement he made that day. I love Jimi, but I don't like it what he did to the Anthem).
So Kansas City had two community treasures in action last Monday...the Royals and the KC Symphony. What a great partnership!
To see the video, click the link below. It will take you to MLB.com, the page for Monday April 6. Click on Video (right next to Wrap, Box and Play-by-Play), then on the right of the screen, arrow down to the video clip of the KC Symphony. Enjoy!