Sunday, April 06, 2008

When Your Local Baseball Team Needs Someone To Sing The National Anthem, They Often Turn To Country Music

Blogger Tom Roland actually did the math on it in the past week: Country music doesn't confine itself to the major leagues, either. Taylor Swift's version of the anthem inaugurated the 2007 season for the Reading Phillies.

Little Big Town, who practically toured ballparks doing the "Banner" for several years, led off the Nashville Sounds' season five years ago. And 15 years past, Vince Gill did the same thing, though he skipped a line of the song in the process, probably blinded by the rockets' red glare.

In Texas last week, Jack Ingram delivered the national anthem for the Houston Astros' home opener. This Monday (4/7), Neal McCoy will do the same when the Texas Rangers open their home schedule. Charley Pride -- who trained, as is his tradition, with the Rangers this year -- sang the opening-day anthem for the team two years ago. During this week a year ago, Clay Walker was voicing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Houston's Minute Maid Park.

Singing is not the only connection country stars have to baseball games, though. When the Arizona Diamondbacks won their first game 10 years ago this month, it was a moment of pride for Glen Campbell, a minority owner in the franchise. And 60 years ago, a pitcher with the Henderson Oilers in Texas got injured in his final game: That guy went on to be a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Jim Reeves.

PS: last year's World Series was over in four games, but in two of them, it was country stars -- Carrie Underwood and Trisha Yearwood -- who sang about "the home of the brave."

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