For the past several seasons during the 7th inning stretch at Angel Stadium, the song “Build Me Up Buttercup” has blared over the loudspeakers. If you’ve ever been in a car your grandparents were driving, you’ve heard the 1968 hit by The Foundations; it’s in that same vein of music with bullfrogs named Jeremiah and do-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy do lyrics that are inoffensive yet annoyingly catchy. The only thing potentially controversial about the song is the album cover (seen above), which will haunt your dreams.
I get what the Angels were going for by choosing this song: get a fun antithesis to Fenway Park’s “Sweet Caroline” (a snoozer tune if there ever was one) that all the fans can belt out and bounce beach balls to. The problem with the song is that it’s just soooo pathetic. Read the lyrics: “Why do you build me up Buttercup, baby / Just to let me down and mess me around.” Later: “I’ll be home / I’ll be beside the phone waiting for you.” The song doesn’t exactly inspire victory for the home team. If anything, the perception is that the Angels are the team that couldn’t get a prom date and the Yankees of the world give them wedgies and Indian burns.
Hell, a few months ago there was a petition, signed by 240 people, to banish “Buttercup” from the stadium. What does the petition say about “Buttercup?” First, it says baseball fans have too much time on their hands and have weird priorities.* Second: a not insignificant contingent of fans really hates this song.
* I signed it.
I don’t know what became of the petition, but I doubt that Maniacal Angels Supporters v. “Buttercup” ever becomes a thing at the Supreme Court, mostly because I don’t think that’s how the judicial system works. I don’t know, I never really paid attention in social studies. But since I’m complaining, it’s only fair of me to offer some 7th inning stretch solutions for the Big A.
Drowning Pool – Bodies (Let the Bodies Hit the Floor)
Admittedly this isn’t the most family friendly song. You wouldn’t want children asking whose bodies the songs are talking about and why, indeed, they need to hit the floor. But what the song lacks in appropriateness it certainly makes up for in intimidation factor. No team is stealing the Angels’ prom date after hearing this song. If you’re Joe Nathan, do you really want to find out what “Let the bodies hit the floor means”? One little blown save is worth not discovering.
Still though, the baseball world isn’t ready for such poetry as “One, something’s got to give / Two, something’s got to give / Three, something’s got to give / Now!” Eat your heart out John Lennon.
Also, the lead singer sort of looks like Joe Blanton. I bet Blanton had hair like that in high school.
Final Score: 1/10 Buttercups
Phantom Planet – California
Remember The O.C.? Oh of course you do, don’t lie. I’m the biggest TV snob ever and even I watched, like, 10 episodes of it. The song can be like the Yankees using Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” Because when you think Frank Sinatra, you think Phantom Planet.
The song doesn’t have much to do with baseball, but it can unite the fans at the games in reminding them all the trials growing up in Orange County. Getting punched by a guy at a bonfire on a private beach? Been there. Having to decide between Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson? Who hasn’t had that problem? Preventing Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows from mass destruction? What a crazy day that was!
Where this idea crumbles is that I could totally see Jered Weaver saying “Welcome to the OC bitch” after striking out someone like Josh Reddick, then there would be a big bro-down on the mound, and eventually Angel Stadium would be overrun with the musical stylings of Pennywise and energy drinks would sell out before the first inning and everyone would start dressing like this:
Say no to bros.
Final Score: 3/10 Buttercups, but also an awesome tan.
By the way, for a fun time read the YouTube comments on the “California” music video. People are annoyed because one commenter mentioned Marissa died (!!) without a spoiler alert for a show that ENDED OVER FIVE YEARS AGO. Oh Internet, never change.
Rammstein – Du hast
Final Score: 3.5/10 Butterblumen
Lady Gaga – Poker Face
Jerry Dipoto’s theme song. The master of misdirection the past two offseasons, few baseball reporters were onto the scent the Angels were involved in talks to acquire Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton. “Can’t read my, can’t read my / No he can’t read my poker face.” Yeah, that’s Dipoto’s jam. It’s also amusing to think about Dipoto, while doing his morning routine (shaving, brushing teeth, etc) before heading to the office, dancing and singing this song to himself in the mirror. Sort of like Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb, just without the skin filleting.
Yeah the lyrics are pretty PG-13, but kids won’t understand the double entendres anyway. This song benefits from being current-ish and ridiculously popular when it was released. I don’t even like pop music but when this song hit radio waves, oh man, the one speaker that worked in my ’96 Corolla was bumping (RIP ’96 Corolla). Everyone will know this song and sing it, even if they don’t want to. And all the while, Dipoto’s message of fear is spreading. Other GMs won’t know what to think when negotiating with Dipoto. An Alberto Callaspo-Bobby Cassevah for Evan Longoria-David Price trade sound appealing? Yeah, Dipoto will make that happen.
Final Score: 7/10 Buttercups and 5 Grammy awards
Anything by Fun.
Final Score: A pair of suspenders and three bowties.
Multiple Singers – “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
When “Buttercup” was instituted, an extra verse of this classic was omitted. Every baseball game I’ve been to will run through “Take Me Out” twice, but “Buttercup’s” inclusion means the old timey song gets shortchanged and relegated to only one run through. The song is corny, representative of another generation, and Cracker Jacks aren’t even good, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Nobody is going to get riled up by hearing this song at a baseball game because it’s expected and in a way reassuring. Baseball fans go to baseball games because they like baseball, or the crowd, or the $7 hot dogs. They don’t go for a pop concert…actually nevermind. Fans like pop music and “Buttercup.” It’s here to harvest our souls. Get used to it.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrewkarcher.