Traditionally the Royals Try Too Hard for Tradition
Tradition is an extremely tricky thing.
When you hit on something and it works, it can be an awesome thing. But when youâ€™re so desperate to have a â€œtraditionâ€ that you try to force it, well, thatâ€™s when bad things can happen.
The Royals are in that latter camp trying too hard to mess with tradition. And itâ€™s a bad look.
A little history. The Royals tried to make tradition a few years ago by videotaping Garth Brooks and putting him on CrownVision and encouraging a sing-along to his hit â€œFriends in Low Places.â€
Fast forward to last year. Fans – particularly on Twitter and skewing younger – didnâ€™t like the song. They didnâ€™t feel it represented Kansas City. They resented that it made Kansas City a â€œhick town.â€
A â€œBoo Garthâ€ movement took hold. While some fans were happily putting their arms around their friends and singing a country song, others were booing. The boos – online and at the stadium – got a bit louder. They were loud enough that the Royals actually took notice.
This year, before the season, there was a huge announcement. No more Garth in the sixth inning.
There were cheers from Royals Twitter. No More Garth. Kinda.
Instead of deciding to scrap the idea of a sixth inning song in general, the Royals decided to make it so fans couldnâ€™t complain, logically.
It was March. They had ideas for the sixth inning song. What better way to decide than with, â€œA BRACKET.â€
So each game, two songs go against each other. Fans at the stadium vote. The winning song is played with lyrics on CrownVision. Meanwhile, the Royals hope something catches on and they can have their own sixth inning song.
One of those choices is â€œKansas Cityâ€ by The Beatles. If youâ€™ve been to the stadium for a home win, you probably recognize that â€œKansas Cityâ€ is the song played after said home win. Fans seem to love it, especially Royals Twitter – as hashtags of #HEYHEYHEYHEY spring up after Royals wins.
(Side note: If you know where Hey Hey Hey Hey comes from, skip ahead. For those of you who donâ€™t, the song the Royals play is actually a medley. The first part being the Beatles singing the classic song â€œKansas City,â€ with the band then transitioning into the Little Richard song â€œHey Hey Hey Hey.â€ Basically, the Beatles were doing a cover of what Little Richard would do, as this medley was first recorded by Little Richard for the B side of â€œGood Golly Miss Molly.â€ Regardless, after singing a verse of â€œKansas City,â€ Paul McCartney starts shouting â€œHey hey hey hey.â€ Now youâ€™ve possibly learned something today. I know I did. Anyway, back to the point at hand.)
So, the #HEYHEYHEYHEY movement is an example of a tradition being done correctly. Playing â€œKansas Cityâ€ done by the greatest band of all time makes sense in, you know, Kansas City. Itâ€™s like the Yankees playing â€œNew York, New Yorkâ€ after a win. Fans gravitated toward it. The energy of the song is great, it instills good feelings.
Naturally, it had to be scrapped. At the home opener Friday, after Greg Holland struck out Adam Dunn for the final out on the first win of the season, of course the Royals celebrate with â€œI Feel Goodâ€ by James Brown. Itâ€™s a fine song. But why in the world do you mess with something that works?
To recap, the Royals tried to create a tradition with Garth Brooks – who, by the way, is in the bracket. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks Garth will find a way to win, that way, the Royals have a trump card on fans who donâ€™t like it. â€œThe fans who were here voted.â€
The Garth tradition didnâ€™t really take, which is really surprising considering how organically it was done. Or something.
(Side note 2: To defend the Royals temporarily, if you had to have a sixth inning song, that songs makes sense for KC. Like it or not, KC is kinda a hick town. Just a couple of months ago, three of the top five rated stations in town – including No. 1 – were country stations. Garth sold out 37 shows to open the Sprint Center in 43 seconds – or something similar. Garth was in spring training one year with the Royals. It made sense in a number of ways.)
And in trying to create tradition – which you canâ€™t really do – they remove the popular victory song from the victory slot to put in the bracket. I was told they put it back after Saturdayâ€™s win. Hopefully they realized what they did.
Essentially, this whole thing has been like Ned Yostâ€™s bullpen management with guys on base in a close game: Anything the could go wrong has gone wrong.
What should the Royals have done? Iâ€™m glad you asked. After they said Garth was gone as the â€œofficialâ€ sixth inning song, then they should have stopped trying for an official sixth inning song. This isnâ€™t Boston. Sweet Caroline works for Boston. And thatâ€™s fine. But just because Boston has something doesnâ€™t mean KC needs to have the same thing – except for World Series rings. In this case, the front office is valuing the wrong part of Boston.
Keep choosing a pair of fun sing-along type songs and letting fans vote for them. That gets fans at the game involved. Itâ€™s fun. But using this whole thing to determine what your next tradition is going to be is stupid.
Tradition has to be organic. It happens or it doesnâ€™t. Thereâ€™s no mathematical equation for it.
Hopefully, irony hasnâ€™t happened and the Royals havenâ€™t destroyed one of the true traditions they have in order to create a new tradition.
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