Although major league teams have featured many new players, coaches, managers and front-office staff over the past 80 years, when fans walk into ballparks such as Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, one thing has always stayed the same: the noise
It is the sound of organ music that flows down from the press box. A sound synonymous with baseball.
The organ can be dated back to the third century, when it was then named the hydraulis. It was made with pipes positioned above a compartment of air, and when water pressure forced air through the pipes, it created a sound.
The organ was then brought to churches for worship, which is what it is still most commonly associated with today. It made its first appearance at Wrigley Field in 1941, when Roy Nelson played songs before a game between the Cubs and the Cardinals.
Today, the Cubs are still one of the few teams to employ an organist, and the windows looking down over Wrigley may as well be called the Pressy box after Gary Pressy, baseball’s true iron-man. Pressy has played over 2,400 consecutive games and will begin his 30th season as Wrigley’s organist come next spring.
What would sports be without music? And what would music be without sports? They are without a doubt two of the most important aspects of popular culture, and when they intersect, they can influence people’s lives and opinions throughout the world.
Elvis Presley was the “King of Rock and Roll,” but Elvis Andrus can be seen rolling double plays for the Texas Rangers. Carlos Santana isn’t only one of the longest-tenured members of the Cleveland Indians, he’s also a legendary performer on stages around the world. Jimi Hendrix, one of the most talented guitarists to ever live, should never be confused with Kyle Hendricks, the baby-faced right-hander who started Game 7 of this year’s World Series for the Cubs.
Minneapolis’ music scene gave us the artist formerly known as Prince, while Milwaukee’s baseball scene gave us Prince Fielder. Music gave sports the New Orleans (now Utah) Jazz and the St. Louis Blues. Depending on your interests, MJ could be the greatest basketball player to ever live or the moonwalking man who was considered by many the “King of Pop.” Music has its B.B. King’s and basketball has it’s King, Lebron James, who plays in Cleveland just a few blocks down from the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.
Music is one of the only reasons people like my dad watch the Super Bowl. Many Americans are more excited to find out who’s playing at half-time than who’s playing the football game. Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, The Who. The list goes on and on.
Drake can be seen sitting courtside at a lot of basketball games and even name-dropped (Manu) Ginobili in his song “Jumpman.” Justin Timberlake sang about “Tunnel Vision” but failed to find it as a baseball scout in his 2012 movie, “Trouble with the Curve.” Crosby, Stills & Nash are just as well know for their style of folk rock as Sydney Crosby and Steve Nash are for their leadership on the court and on the ice.
However you look at it, it’s clear to see that sports and music are practically inseparable. From Ozzy Osbourne’s crazy train to Ozzie Smith’s standing backflips, from Lance Armstrong to Louis Armstrong, music and sports go together like peanut butter and jelly.