A Debate: Should the Nationals stop using “Take on Me”?

 

Justin: Michael Morse’s use of “Take on Me” took on a life of its own last year.  When Morse was traded to Seattle in the offseason, though, the Nationals decided to appropriate the song for the seventh inning stretch at Nationals Park.  However, Morse still uses “Take on Me” as his walk-up music at Safeco Field.  Who “owns” the song?  Is it weird that the Nationals are now using it as a seventh inning stretch song?

Jason: No, it is not strange for the Nats to keep the tradition of playing the song in the 7th inning.  It was an organic thing that happened last year.  Every stadium needs their traditions that are unique, and this is a fun one.  The tradition had to do with the fans trying to sing along, not Michael Morse batting.  The tradition belongs to the fans.

Justin: I disagree.  Yes, the tradition started organically, and it was really fun while it lasted.  But now that “Take on Me” is officially part of the “game day entertainment” at Nationals Park, it just seems forced.  It seems as authentic a tradition as the Papa Johns topping throwing contest they show on the jumbotron between innings.

Perhaps I’d feel better about the new “tradition” if the music operator didn’t turn down the sound during the signature line “in a day of two”, like we’re all attending a middle school dance.  By force feeding the expectation we’re supposed to sing, they’re taking the fun out of it.  it was fun last year because singing along was something the fans collectively decided to do without any goading from the game-day production staff.

Now that “Take on Me” is officially part of the “game day entertainment” at Nationals Park, it just seems forced.  It seems as authentic a tradition as the Papa Johns topping throwing contest they show on the jumbotron between innings…

Jason:  You and I are not that far apart actually.  What made this song so much fun last year is that the crowd sang along because it was fun, not because they were supposed to.  One thing I like about this is unlike a stadium located in a parking lot in Atlanta, this is a genuine thing that developed.  Notes to game day operations for the Nats:  Do not force this, do not put the Nat Pack up on the dugout leading the singing, don’t have little kids mic’d up singing (I should stop giving them ideas)  Let the song play and then cut it before the high note at the end.  That is it, don’t pod the music down in the middle of the song.

Notes to game day operations for the Nats:  Do not force this, do not put the Nat Pack up on the dugout leading the singing…

Justin:  This is turning into a larger discussion about the utility of game-day production staffs.  i think the day-game experience at Nats Park is overproduced, like at most American sporting arenas.  But we can save that (larger) discussion for another day.

Back to the original questions: (1) is “Take on Me” a good choice for a 7th inning stretch song?; and if so (2) is it appropriate to use it considering it’s origins?

My answer to the first question is an unqualified yes.  “Take on Me” is the perfect combination of catchiness and corniness.  It’s well past its pop expiration date so it’s not overplayed and it’s not a traditional overplayed “jock-jam” like Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.  In short, it’s unique and goddamnit, it gets stuck in your head.  It’s been in my head since we started having this discussion.

My answer to the second question is probably no.  Nobody “owns” a song.  Mike Morse can’t prevent the Nats from using it, but it just feels weird.  Kind of like sleeping in the t-shirt of a girlfriend you’ve already dumped.

I like “Take on Me” but it should have probably gone to Seattle with Mike Morse.

Disagree?

Jason: Yes, it is a good choice for a song and yes, they should use it.  If Morse had been indignant about the song being his then this is a different story.  He was cool about the Nats using it.  The Nats and Morse parted ways on good terms, primarily because Rizzo did right by him.  He could have kept Morse on the bench or as a 4th outfielder or a backup 1st basemen in case the starting first basemen went into a 0-26 slump and dragged down the team for the entire first month of the season.  Rizzo sent Morse to a better situation where he was guaranteed to start.  After re-reading what I just wrote, I now think Morse owes us the song and a bouquet of yellow roses.

Justin:  The Nationals and Mariners should have clarified this issue when they traded Morse.  Inexcusable.

Maybe Mike Rizzo can solve two problems at once and trade “Take on Me” to another team for a left-handed reliever.

Jason: You’re an idiot.

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