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Please Stop Believin'
A 1987 photo of Journey with Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon (l-r). AP file photo
Written by Zack Jerome/Special to LAist
For as long as I remember, the Dodgers always did one thing very right. When the Dodgers win a game, Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” blared through the stadium speakers with the lyrics on the scoreboard accompanied by palm trees. The song is a little silly, but it’s our tune. It’s by a guy who does movie music. He calls out street names in it. They play it when the L.A. Marathon starts (I know, I ran in it). Even the Lakers play it when they win.
Like I said, it’s our song.
Since the stretch run of last season, the Dodgers have gotten in a habit of playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the eighth inning of home games. They aren’t just playing it. These days, they are featuring it. They are making it a battle cry. I know this because they put the lyrics on the scoreboard, encouraging us to sing along. For those of you not familiar with this song, for those of you who ignored the series finale of The Sopranos, this is a song about “a city boy born and raised in South Detroit”. It’s a song about “a smoky room” and “a smell of wine and cheap perfume”. It’s a karaoke song, and a good one at that.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against playing this song at a ballgame, or anywhere for that matter. It is one of those songs that has drunk people singing at the top of their lungs no matter what bar it is played at. But why have we chosen this song as our new battle cry?
It screams “rip off”. It seems like we wanted to emulate the Boston Red Sox with their “Sweet Caroline” sing-alongs, only it just doesn’t ring true. We play it before the second half of the 8th inning, just like the Red Sox do with Neil Diamond’s 1969 hit. It seems like someone flew over there and caught a game at Fenway and decided to bring it back, only with a song that screams high school lip sync contest, 1981.
It gets worse. The White Sox already made it their unofficial battle cry in 2005. It is played at every Detroit area sporting event, including the 2006 World Series the Detroit Tigers played in. We are ripping off lesser teams.
It’s not like Los Angeles doesn’t have plenty of bands we could rally behind. We could sing the Eagles’ “Hotel California” if we wanted some kitsch. How about “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses? I know it’s a little rough, but we had no problem blasting “Welcome to the Jungle” when Eric Gagne was around. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers might be depressing, but it is at least definitively our song and you know everyone would sing.
It’s nothing personal, just for me, I am proud of my city and my teams. We’re Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the universe. Let’s find a way to be original. And if that doesn’t work, we could just wait for a victory and enjoy some Randy Newman. We all seem to agree on that.