Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rant #463: The Star Spangled Banner, Mets' Style

As you probably know if you read this blog with any regularity, I am a die-hard Yankees fan. I have been a fan of the team in the Bronx for as long as I can remember. They are the most successful team in American sports history, and are known the world over for their superior play and incredible legacy.

Then we have the Mets. The team from Queens, my home borough, has had their share of success over the years--primarily when they won the World Series in 1969 and 1986--but let's face it, even Mets' fans would have to agree that they have generally looked up to the Yankees as that team's poor cousin.

Mystery and intrigue always surrounds the Mets, as this year's Bernie Madoff crisis has proven to be a real pain in the butt to this team, whose actual name is the Metropolitans.

But maybe, just for one day, Mets' fans can forget all of this nonsense, as yesterday, the team held its annual tryouts--not for ballplayers, but for singers of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Once a year, just before the season, the Mets hold tryouts, where average folk can see if they can warble this difficult tune. If they are chosen, they sing the anthem before a future home game.

At these auditions, you get what you think you get. You get people who sing in the shower, you get those who can't carry a tune if it was handed to them on a silver platter, and you get others who really are quite good.

At these auditions, the wannabe singers have to sing a song other than "The Star Spangled Banner." Later, if they pass muster, they will sing that song.

Yesterday, about 250 "singers" auditioned, and five will be selected as finalists. Those five will be judged another day as they perform the anthem in front of a group of judges.

Sure, this sounds like a version of "American Idol," but I guess it is kind of nice that local people--not necessarily professional singers--get a chance to sing in front of maybe 40,000 people at CitiField, and countless others watching at home.

I wish them luck. I can't carry a tune at all, so I wasn't there.

And remember, as pop band REO Speedwagon said years ago, "You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish."

My philosophy exactly.

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