Diner Question: Should the Orioles replace 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy?' - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dubroff’s Diner

Diner Question: Should the Orioles replace ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy?’

John Denver
Photo credit: AP Photo/Baltimore Sun, Doug Kapustin

It’s been quiet around Dubroff’s Diner lately, so let’s bring some music into the discussion.

For many years, the Orioles have played John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during seventh-inning stretch.

As I traveled around the majors, I’ve noticed other songs that seemed livelier played during the seventh-inning stretch. Last month, while watching the Orioles play in Colorado’s Coors Field, the Rockies played “Hey! Baby” (I wanna know if you would be my girl), and it seemed to get a nice reaction.

The New York Mets play “Lazy Mary” by Lou Monte, and that’s upbeat, too.

Toronto has its own baseball ode, “OK Blue Jays” that’s been around forever, but a similar song would never work in Baltimore.

The Orioles have had success with Denver. He sang the song on the dugout during the first game of the 1983 World Series at Memorial Stadium. He also mouthed the words on the dugout in September 1997 shortly before he performed a concert at the then-Baltimore Arena.

Denver was killed in a plane crash a few weeks later.

I’d like to see “Country Boy” replaced with something livelier and more contemporary, and I want to know what you think.

This Week’s Diner Question: Should the Orioles replace “Thank God I’m a Country Boy?”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

83 Comments

83 Comments

  1. Creatively09

    June 17, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Good morning. Mmm, I do love me some pancakes at the diner.

    No. The answer is No. You don’t mess with TGIACB, if you want people to be more into the game you need to improve the product on the field.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Creatively, Oriole Park is great, but the scoreboard is outmoded, the sound system needs improvement and the concessions aren’t good.

      To me, ‘Country Boy’ is symbolic of just putting the same old in-game music on game after game.

      The music needs an upgrade, but most people want to keep John Denver, and that’s fine with me.

      • Creatively09

        June 17, 2019 at 8:40 am

        I won’t argue with your points regarding the scoreboard, the sound system or the concessions, but none of that has anything to do with what music is playing at the game. The Red Sox put millions into Fenway Park upgrades, and the Cubs have put millions into upgrades at Wrigley Field. They both continue to play Sweet Caroline and Go Cubs Go, respectively, so no reason why the O’s can renovate Camden Yards AND keep Country Boy, which IMHO is an homage to the blue collar fans who have been part of the fabric of the team for over 60 years.

    • Osfan4life11

      June 17, 2019 at 9:52 am

      You shut your mouth and tape your hands up. We have very few things that keep the O’s the way we love em. No. We should never ditch the song. It’s part of the team, part of every true fan. Rich go jump off a bridge if you dislike it so much.

      • Rich Dubroff

        June 17, 2019 at 9:56 am

        Justin, I doubt I’ll be jumping off a bridge because I can’t swim, but I appreciate your passionate defense of ‘Country Boy.’

      • Theothestoopkid410

        June 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm

        No, it’s literally country music. In Baltimore CITY. If you listen to country music you aren’t an Os fan, anybody representing Baltimore would agree. We need music that represents Baltimore, not Alabama or Iowa or some goddamn flyover state. Bmore
        City does not rock w that pussy ass redneck bullshit.

  2. [email protected] yard

    June 17, 2019 at 7:29 am

    No no no!

  3. In The Triangle

    June 17, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Dude, noooooo.

    That’s as nicely as I can out it. Gotta go now. Gonna say something I’ll regret.

    Later

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 8:34 am

      Most people here and on Twitter agree with you, so we’ll keep it.

  4. Camden Brooks

    June 17, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I think analytics will show it needs to stay.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 17, 2019 at 8:15 am

      Good answer Brooks. 🙂

      • Robinson Robinson Boog

        June 23, 2019 at 2:34 am

        Tell em Big Boog

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 8:35 am

      My analytics here and on Twitter think it should stay.

      • Theothestoopkid410

        June 17, 2019 at 5:22 pm

        Your analytics mad wrong b, Bmore CITY doesn’t rock w country anything.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 17, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Does a bear poop in the ocean?

    So I’d like to order up a Denver Omelette please.

  6. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    June 17, 2019 at 8:25 am

    I would be fine with a smart change, but I can’t think of what that would look (sound) like. If by “modern” you mean something hip hop-based, then I’m out.

    Unfortunately the state of music doesn’t lend itself to stumbling upon a new rock-based song that can serve as an anthem.

    They could try to mine bands like U2 or Foo Fighters, and others like them, but then you’re probably not picking something new, just something newer than TGIACB. That feels like making a change for the sake of just making a change.

    I was struck thinking about songs and their association with teams after hearing the Blues have that terrible “Gloria” song as their anthem. These things happen organically, and while I’d be ready for a change, I think that should happen organically too or else it just feels forced.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 8:37 am

      Zoey, I agree. I just think they need to play more music that I’m not necessarily familiar with.

      • Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

        June 17, 2019 at 11:22 am

        When I go to the stadium, I hear a pretty good mix of tunes including modern pop, between innings.

        I even hear some more obscure things like the day they played most of The Replacements “I’ll Be You” which was a nice change. I hear some Crack the Sky every now and then too.

        But you’re at WAAAY more games then I am, so I’ll defer to your insight regarding the overall music choices.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Zoey, you’re far more knowledgeable about music than I am, so I’ll defer to you.

  7. CalsPals

    June 17, 2019 at 8:35 am

    NOOOOOOOOO……

  8. Roenickstein

    June 17, 2019 at 8:42 am

    As my 11 year old son and I walked through the Baseball Hall of Fame stadium exhibit, out of nowhere a familiar tune started playing on the speaker. My son said in an excited voice: “Country Boy!” It’s in the Hall of Fame. It is one of many Orioles traditions and changing it would do a lot more harm than good. Nobody goes to the stadium to hear their favorite song so there is no upside to changing it. On the other hand it is part of the total experience when it comes to being an O’s fan and should be treated as such.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Brad, I think you make an important point. Thanks for sharing it, and I’m glad you and your son got to go to Cooperstown.

    • Hallbe62

      June 17, 2019 at 11:41 pm

      Great LF platoon moniker

  9. theson24

    June 17, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Rich, if you keep writing pieces like this, myself, and other O’s fans, might invite you to move back to Brooklyn. Heck, we may even pay for the move. (All in jest, of course.) Keep the song “Country Boy”. It’s a O’s tradition.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 8:56 am

      This may be the best response of all, the son24!

      • theson24

        June 17, 2019 at 9:12 am

        I am glad that you took it the way it was intended. I have been an O’s fan for a long time. When I go to ball games away from Baltimore, I miss TGIACB and yelling “O” during the National Anthem Even when the team isn’t good, it is those kinds of things that still bring the die hard fans to the games.

  10. NormOs

    June 17, 2019 at 9:05 am

    It seems to me, on priorities, the last thing to replace is “Country Boy”. Maybe the O’s should actually think about replacing most of the so-called “regulars”, and, of course, the entire bullpen and two starters. I’d throw in Davis, but as far as the O’s are concerned, that’s a moot point (ridiculous). It’s fine to say “We’ll be competitive in 3 or 4 years” but the fans, I believe, want to see the best players the O’s have and not some other teams throwaways.

    In what universe would you call what is on the field for the O’s, “A REBUILD”? There are still people in this area that would like to see baseball, not what the O’s are doing, whatever that is.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 9:18 am

      Norm, I think the players who will be on the field for the Orioles when the team gets better are in the low minors or just drafted. For the most part, this year’s team are the guys that will help them get to the guys.

  11. Djowen

    June 17, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Next you’ll want us to stop yelling “O” during the National Anthem!

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 9:25 am

      Maybe I should use that as a question next week, Owen!

  12. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    June 17, 2019 at 9:33 am

    The Orioles a couple of times over the years played other songs during the 7th inning stretch. Those songs weren’t well received and they stayed with Country Boy.

  13. Bancells Moustache

    June 17, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Dubroff bringing the hottest of takes this morning. There are many things that need updating with the stadium experience. “Country Boy” is not one of them. Maybe ditch the dreary organ version of ‘Take Me out to the Ballgame” that preceeds Mr. Denver. I’ve been banging this drum for awhile, the atmosphere just isnt fun enough to keep drawing in the evening crowd. But dump ‘Thank God I’m a country boy’? Sacrilege.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 9:57 am

      Bancells, how about adding a real organ and mixing that in with recorded music during the game? I think that would help, too.

      • willmiranda

        June 17, 2019 at 10:40 am

        Somewhere from above, Gladys Gooding is smiling on you, Rich!

        • Rich Dubroff

          June 17, 2019 at 10:45 am

          She was before my time, will. I liked Nancy Faust in Chicago, and the organists at Wrigley and SunTrust park are quite talented.

  14. whiterose

    June 17, 2019 at 9:51 am

    You are definitely right about the scoreboard and sound system. I really do not care about the song.
    I am guessing any stadium improvements will not happen with only 2 years left on the lease and no guarantee of extention as long as the MASN dispute continues. Relocation under new owner is on the table.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Whiterose, the Orioles are not going anywhere. Major League Baseball would not allow one of its top stadiums to be abandoned.

  15. Puyerunner

    June 17, 2019 at 10:05 am

    No. Keep it. It gets the fans involved in a fun way. Take Me Out to the Ballgame is the roots of baseball and filled with sentimentality. I’d drop it before Denver. The Albuquerque Isotopes use “Sweet Caroline”. Which also gets the fans involved in a fun way.

  16. Hallbe62

    June 17, 2019 at 10:32 am

    I don’t mind the song. But from where I stand, it never fit our city.

    Baltimore is a City, not remotely resembling the rolling countryside within a few miles of it’s borders. And even parts of that “rolling countryside” are disappearing slowly.

    Non- withstanding the large numbers of Baltimore City dwellers who adore & listen to “Country Music”, you’ll find very little in Charm City that reminds you of a ” country boy”.

    • DevoTion

      June 17, 2019 at 10:59 am

      I agree, I never understood why country boy is popular in Baltimore. There’s NOTHING country about Baltimore and the surrounding areas. I do like the song but it doesn’t fit the area.
      I do think they should do something with “Take me out to the Ballgame”. That version played is horrible. An organ would be great, or maybe pick out a random fan each game and have them lead the song. That would be fun and probably funny sometimes

      • Hallbe62

        June 17, 2019 at 11:41 am

        I like the random fan karaoking his way to 15,000 people idea. It could definitely be funny. Especially if they handed that mike to me.

      • Bancells Moustache

        June 17, 2019 at 4:08 pm

        Gotta push back on this. There are very rural areas surrounding the city, and the majority of the fans attending the ball park do not live in the city. If the Orioles only drew from Baltimore city proper, the stadium would be a ghost town.

        Well, even more of a ghost town than it already is.

        • toddbeall

          June 17, 2019 at 4:16 pm

          Bancells, of course I agree with you that the majority of fans don’t live in the city. But I’m pretty sure that the majority live in the suburbs. If even 10% of the fans lived in a rural area, I’d be surprised. So the song makes very little sense to me–though since so many like it, I’m for keeping it. Logic and facts don’t always tell the whole story!

      • Robinson Robinson Boog

        June 23, 2019 at 2:51 am

        We should bring back whup em Camden Style circa 2012-13 as the 7th inning stretch song to pump up the Yard

        • BigBirdsBird

          June 24, 2019 at 11:32 am

          You crazy daddy we ought to whup your ass for even suggesting something so stupid as that Camden style song get the hizzowl outta here

          • Robinson Robinson Boog

            June 25, 2019 at 2:16 am

            Mind your own business your sorry son of a bitch you like your music and I like mine. How about I whip your sorry ass right on the field at Camden Yards if you don’t like it take a hike

    • toddbeall

      June 17, 2019 at 11:56 am

      I agree with you 100% I have never sung it, and it seems so out of place in a city like Baltimore.
      Having said that, replacing it with something “livelier and more contemporary” would be foolish. Clearly most people like the song, even though I don’t.
      And as one of the responders said, a replacement of the scoreboard would be a fantastic idea! (not the sound system, which is fine).
      Go O’s!

  17. PC in OC

    June 17, 2019 at 10:57 am

    When the REBUILD or what ever you want to call it!! Is over with and Elias & Hyde, put players on the field, that can actually play baseball, (the way it should be played ) and we start winning again. Everything will sound better, look better and taste better.

  18. 33d St

    June 17, 2019 at 11:02 am

    It’s a great song when the team is good and the stadium is full and rocking. When those last two elements are lacking it comes across as a feeble attempt to keep up with a tradition that harkens back to better days for the club. Agree with those who say fix the team and everything will be fine.

    Now if the O’s win 100 games and there’s 40k plus out there every night, but the song isn’t getting any traction? Ok consider a change then.

  19. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    June 17, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Here’s a possible diner question that would drive some discussion: should the Orioles remove seats from LF and/or otherwise change the stadium to lessen it’s impact on homeruns?

    • Hallbe62

      June 17, 2019 at 11:32 am

      Yes ! Push that LF fence back about 25 feet.

      Then, when we finally get nasty pitchers that keep everything in the park, move that LF fence back IN ! Set your “home” up so it works for you, right ?

  20. 89Ghost

    June 17, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Funny thing about that song is that 20+ years ago it made me cringe when I heard it. I thought it was the least cool song ever (probably because it was popular with adults and was too traditional/establishment for me at the time) and also made no sense to an urban kid’s perspective. Gradually, over time, I have come to thoroughly enjoy it and shudder at the thought of it being replaced by something else. I think I get what it represents (at least to me) and I have tried to explain it to vexed out-of-towners: baseball’s familial nature, blue collar work ethic, care-free fun when you can get it, and many Baltimorean’s ancestral connections to rural areas. Change will have to come eventually but I can always enjoy it myself. Sweet Caroline has always made me cringe and I suspect that will never change.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 17, 2019 at 11:58 am

      Nice thoughts, ghost

    • Theothestoopkid410

      June 17, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      “Baltimoreans ancestral connections to rural areas”?? The hell? Lol my guy, this is Baltimore CITY. There is nothing rural about it, the city and the surrounding Washington-Baltimore suburbs are one of the most urban areas in the entire country and the 4th largest by population, Lmao nothing at all rural about Baltimore city or its people. Take that opinion back down to Virginia or wherever

  21. Greazy Tony

    June 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    They should absolutely change the music at the 7th inning stretch, but not to remove Thank God I’m a Country Boy. They should go back the the old tradition of only playing John Denver during the break rather than trying to shoehorn two songs into the break. They used to be able to play nearly the whole song during the stretch but after 9/11 they followed the Yankees lead of playing God Bless America and then had to rush on John Denver. When they play two songs they sometimes don’t make it to the big “woo” that O’s fans in the know yell along with. I liked it better when they played Take Me out to the Ball game in the pre-game along with the “A World of Orioles Baseball” song or the Talkin’ Orioles Baseball song.

  22. boss61

    June 17, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Like other posters, ditch God Bless America (too politicized and too Yankees) but keep Country Boy. I am neither a country fan nor a John Denver fan. Still, the song has become our tradition in an era we have precious little to cheer for.

    • Raymo

      June 18, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      My thoughts exactly… on both counts.

      • BigBirdsBird

        June 21, 2019 at 7:33 pm

        Yes it is time to replace it with a new song called Thank God we are complete losers here in Baltimore.

        Much more appropriate given the current state of the franchise and the 4000 people showing up nightly at Camden Yards

  23. Brother Lowe

    June 17, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    They can play anything they want for all I care as long as the team gets better.

  24. Chewy

    June 17, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I’m with Hallbe62 in never understanding why “…Country Boy” is the 7th inning stretch song and won’t repeat the same great points. The tough part of the question is what song to replace it with?

    I’d be open to suggestions, but I also felt that Van Halen’s version of “Dancing in the Streets” would be a good replacement candidate. It’s an upbeat rock remake of an originally R&B song. It was also remade into a pop song later. It should appeal across all musical tastes in the stadium. It can be danced to, which can help with the “stretch”. It’s got a positive message and encourages celebration. The song references summer and Baltimore in the lyrics. The lyrics could be slightly altered by fans to “Dancing in Eutaw Street”. Should be able to fit the song in from the 1st words to some point in the awesome guitar solo.

    • PA Bird Lover

      June 17, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      John Denver loved B’more and the orioles.

    • Raymo

      June 18, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Great suggestion and well thought out.

  25. JK in EC

    June 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Thank God I’m a Country Boy is tradition — not just a song they keep running out there. It connects me to childhood memories at Memorial Stadium and it should stay. Does anyone know when they started playing “Magic To Do” over the video montage as players prepare to take the field? That has been around for a while but, to me, it has a strange 70s vibe and is an odd fit (I just looked it up. I had no idea it is from a musical). Still, I would feel like something was missing if they took that one away.

  26. PA Bird Lover

    June 17, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    No, absolutely No!

  27. Birdman

    June 17, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Let’s switch to the anthem of the European champion Liverpool Football Club – “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

  28. Theothestoopkid410

    June 17, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    All my 27 years as a hometown, city bred, diehard Os fan, I’ve wondered “why the hell am I hearing country music in the city?” Country music represents everything that Baltimore is not. Our city is one of the best, little to no front yards, stoops and concrete as far as the eye can see. I love our concrete and brick jungle, and I hate country music, rednecks and all that other right wing country bullshit. This is Baltimore, this is Maryland, this ain’t the Midwest or the south, where’s the local east coast city music?? Where the king Los? Where’s the Tupac? Where’s the Phil ade? Anybody who reps Bmore CITY hates country music and anything to do w rural culture. So let’s end this dumb country song and bring some Baltimore flavor to the 7th. Marble steps all day, fuck a front yard.

    • Jbigle1

      June 17, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      This made me laugh.

    • Hallbe62

      June 17, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      Right On !

    • OsfansinWV

      June 17, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Keep playing that country song! It gets a lot of Bmore CITY folks singing and dancing every home game!

  29. 54orioles

    June 17, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Start me up

  30. Crabman51

    June 17, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Hopefully in a few years with the right moves and right players we can start playing, “We are the Champions” but until then with the “rebuild” management is sing, “Jesus take the Wheel”

  31. Fman

    June 17, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    #1. Junior Walker & The All-Stars: SHOTGUN
    #2. Martha & the VD’s: Dancin’ In The Streets
    #3. Stevie Wonder: Living For the City
    #4. Aretha Franklin: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  32. In The Triangle

    June 17, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Oh, Brooklyn… now I see.

    Poor Rich never stood a chance.

    🙂

  33. paulw

    June 17, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Leave Denver alone. Dump Red Sox fan Gary Thorne and add nothing Mike Bordick.

  34. bmoreloud

    June 17, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    no Oriole tradition.

  35. In The Triangle

    June 18, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Okay, just for the record Baltimore’s strong country and bluegrass music roots can be traced to the 1930s – 1950s when people came to Baltimore from the Appalachian region to find work. There was so much country music going on. WPOC ruled the airwaves.

    Twenty or thirty years is not a long time to have been an Orioles’ fan. I’m sure it seems like it to some people. A lot of stuff happen before 1990, too.

  36. Mike pulzone

    June 18, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Keep Country Boy but add other stuff. How about Tom petty “learning to fly”?

  37. 66OsFan

    June 18, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Missed the dinner bell last night, but I’ll add some brunch comments to the mix…. Absolutely not, keep the music as is, bad enough we need a running score card to keep up with Who’s on first…Why? I don’t give a darn…he’s the shortstop. See old classics like that just keep you smiling in the bad times, why mess with something when we have enough bad times in Baltimore baseball right now. As for the scoreboard, and advertising signs around the stadium. Those should be and sorely need upgrades. Having been to 25 different ballparks, ours is way behind the times. I see they are trying to emulate some of the newer styles by throwing up the “due up” and pitcher’s statistics while the opposing team is at bat, but the more modern ballpark scoreboards have side screens to keep the statistics updated for the entire lineup throughout the entire game. As for those advertising signs, how about some nice LED screens all a round the seating bowl, seems that is the norm in most stadiums I’ve been to. Realizing they have all (except Wrigley and Fenway) have been build after OPACY, there’s no reason not to join the 21st century.While we’re at it, how about changes like Progressive and Coor’s Fields, take the opportunity to add restaurants and bars to the upper deck, especially in that pesky corner where nobody wants to sit….Capacity wouldn’t be affected mush as more SRO tickets can be sold…..

  38. Raymo

    June 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    When I think of Baltimore in media, what comes to mind are The Wire and John Waters. How about The Madison from his cult classic Hairspray? There are no lyrics, but it is lively.

  39. HampdenBalt

    June 18, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Yes. Get rid of it immediately. If they want to do a country song, they should go with Gram Parsons classic version of Streets of Baltimore, which although depressing, is least on topic, and a great tune. Even if you want to stick with John Denver, Country Roads is a lot better song, and Baltimore is pretty close to West Virginia. So maybe it would help interstate commerce. The smartest thing to do though, would be to have a contest, in which only local bands could participate. There’s a lot of great new music in Baltimore, let’s let people hear it at the ballpark.

  40. Camden Bird

    June 18, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    A Facebook friend of mine suggested “Birdland”, by Chubby Checker. It’s short (2:21) and pretty catchy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUykzGlSpSA&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3BU8YUci7IJbj2O6s30nErPBEqaE1ivUll3j3mhqOjKgz-aSol31sKLyY

  41. mike3764

    June 19, 2019 at 7:01 am

    It looks like I’m in the minority, but I’ve always hated the song. I’m a lifelong Orioles fan at 47 years old but there wasn’t one time, even as a kid, that I enjoyed hearing it. I’m not a fan of yelling “O” during the national anthem either while we are at it.

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