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The Dropkick Murphys, one of the world's finest Celtic Punk bands, performed "Tessie" during the Red Sox victory parade today, aided by [personal profile] saxikath's future husband, Jonathan Papelbon. The original "Tessie" was a song from a Broadway musical(1) that, for some insane reason, became the Boston Americans'(2) fight song as they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1903 World's Championship Series(3).

The song hung around until after the 1918 World Series(4), then faded from view as the Red Sox turned into one of the worst franchises in baseball for a few decades. It was revived in 2004 by the Dropkick Murphys, leading almost immediately to the Red Sox winning their first World Series in 86 years, and they won again this year, and now I'm actually tempted to go see them when they are in town next month.

That is a heartwarming story, unless you are a fan of the Colorado Rockies(5), but my question is this: How many other songs that have nothing to do with sports - "Tessie" is an ode to a parakeet(6) - have become athletic anthems?

The two most famous ones are from British soccer - the hymn "Abide With Me" has been played, and loudly sung by the crowd, before every FA Cup match since the 1920s, and "You'll Never Walk Alone", another Broadway hit(7), has become synonymous with Liverpool since the 1960s.

A lot of basketball teams have specific songs that they use during pre-game introductions, but none of them have become iconic. The Pistons used "Final Countdown" by Europe during the Bad Boys era, and now play it at the beginning of the fourth quarter, so I guess that's had a 20-year run. The Bulls had "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project, but while I know the tune because of hearing so many Michael Jordan intros, I just had to look up the actual name of the song.

There was a big debate in New York last year when new Mets closer Billy Wagner came into games to the tune of "Enter Sandman" by Metallica. Yankees fans were horrified that Wagner would steal Mariano Rivera's trademark music, even when it was pointed out to them that Wagner had been using the song with the Astros before Rivera started using it.

Trevor Hoffman of the Padres uses "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC, which is also what the Red Wings(8) use for a power play. Maybe that's why they both fail in the playoffs.

Footnotes:
1:
"The Silver Slipper". No reason you should have heard of it - it only ran for seven months.
2: They didn't become the Red Sox until 1908. They were never officially the Boston Pilgrims, despite numerous legends to that effect.
3: That was the first "modern" World Series. The New York Giants refused to play against Boston in 1904, but did play (and beat) Philadelphia(9) in 1905, and the Series has been played every year since, other than the lockout year of 1994. The name of the championship series became the "World's Series" in 1912 and the "World Series" in 1931.
4: Babe Ruth and Carl Mays both won two games for the Red Sox as they beat the Cubs 4 games to 2. Two years later, both were playing for the Yankees. Ruth hit 54 homers, breaking the previous record of 19, and Mays killed one batter with a pitch, breaking the previous record of 0.
5: Fans of the Cardinals are probably over the 2004 World Series loss, given the fact that they beat the Tigers last year.
6: Really. A parakeet.
7: Slightly better known musical than "The Silver Slipper" - "Carousel".
8: A professional hockey team that played in a now-extinct league known as the NHL.
9: The Giants and Athletics played again in the 1989 World Series(10), now representing San Francisco and Oakland. That's the only time that has happened. The Braves and Athletics played in the 1914 Series, when the Braves were in Boston, but haven't met as Atlanta and Oakland yet. The Twins and Giants could also do it.
10: The 1904 and 1989 series were, obviously, 85 years apart. That's still the record, although it is a matter of time before it gets broken. This year alone, it could have been broken by Red Sox-Phillies (1915) or Red Sox-Cubs (1918). Other matchups that aren't particularly improbable for 2008 would be Tigers-Cubs (1907), Red Sox-Dodgers (1916) or Indians-Dodgers (1920). The record for two teams that have stayed in the same city is Tigers-Cardinals at 72 years.

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