Play Em Off, Aubie Cat!
I love going to games at Plainsman Park. Absolutely love it. Sometimes however, the atmosphere can be lacking, especially when it comes to crowd environment. Now, I'm not talking about heckling. Heckling is a completely different animal. I'm talking fan environment and attitude. Having the crowd get up and sing or get up and cheer in time OTHER than the seventh inning stretch. Take Florida State for example, the "Animals" in the stands have a tradition of singing "Oh Canada" during the 5th inning:
During the 5th inning, the fans will sing the Canadian national anthem, "Oh Canada." This tradition is claimed to have started in the 80s, when FSU was playing the Canadian National Team. During the 5th inning, the Canadian fans began singing the anthem to gloat their lead. Florida State came back to win the game, and the fans have decided the anthem was responsible for their good fortune.
Seeing FSU play a couple of times I can tell you its both funny and a bit inspiring:
Crowd interaction, singing songs out of the norm, is something special, and something Auburn can easily do. Granted it won't have the levity and seriousness of, say, Liverpool FC singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" but it really shouldn't because hearing Liverpool and a song that originated in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical turn in to something inspiring is really a sight in and of itself:
the song's most successful performance was recorded in 1963 by the Liverpudlian Merseybeat group Gerry & The Pacemakers (peaking at number one in the singles chart for four consecutive weeks). It quickly became the anthem of Liverpool Football Club and is invariably sung by its supporters moments before the start of each home game. The words "You'll Never Walk Alone" also feature in the club crest and on the Shankly Gate entrance to the stadium.
See for yourself:
Now just think about that at an Auburn game in the middle of the 6th inning. The game is at a turning point and the Tiger players could get inspired by hearing a joyful chorus being belted out of the stands. But should it be "You'll Never Walk Alone"? Probably not. That's more of a soccer thing (a pretty awesome soccer thing) and it's rooted in tragedy. No Auburn needs something that's easy to sing along to, has a slower pace, may be a bit kitschy, but I think I have two awesome nominations. Both songs are easy to sing along with great choruses.
First up is Tom Jones and "The Green Green Grass of Home":
A bit country, a bit pop. A solid song all around. Sure, the song already has a bit of history as soldiers returning from Vietnam used to sing it on the way back home and there are tons of different versions of the song but its definitely a karaoke favorite and one that could be fun to sing in the stands.
Now the other nomination is a personal favorite of mine.
Good Lord the Song just gives me chills (especially that performance). To hear that coming belted from 3,000 strong in Plainsman Park it would be awe inspiring.
But you really can't just assign a song and make it happen. It has to catch on. It's equal parts fan involvement and equal parts repetition. If it catches on then boom, you have a tradition. If it doesn't? Well you just move on. Sometimes stadium traditions and interactions are born in the most unlikely places, like say a batter's walk up music. Brian Fletcher's walk up music is this:
Now that opening line, from T-Pain, is where the interaction comes in. If you are at a game watch the Diamond Dolls. As soon as T-Pain scream "everybody hands go up..." and the song pauses. You see all the Diamond Dolls (and a couple handfuls of fans in on song) with their hands raised. It's fun and a little goofy. Still, I have to say I love it.
Now there is one thing is REALLY wish Auburn would do. It involves the keyboard cat. Who is the keyboard cat? Well I will let the team over at Know Your Meme explain:
God Bless You Keyboard Cat. Showing us the lighter side of FAIL. So imagine this: Auburn is at home and some unfortunate soul from the opposing team strikes out to end the inning. That, I think, is the best scenario. For a batter, strikeouts hurt the most. Striking out to end the inning? Even worse. Then to make matters worse, as the player is trotting back to the dugout, a little sullen, maybe a little depressed, who should greet him over the Video Screen?