Baseball Stadium Music and Pavlov’s Angels Fan

They will not force us. They will stop degrading us. They will not control us. We will be victorious.

The Angels are haunting me. Seriously. The lines in italics above? They’re lyrics from the song Uprising by Muse and lately, I hear this song everywhere I go. On the radio at home. In my car. At the office. When I walk into one of our schools. At my favorite local Sushi restaurant – every time I walk in, be if for dine-in or take out. Seriously. Every time. I realize that my local sushi restaurant only has one iPod mix of about 90 minutes in length and this song is included in that mix, but every time? Even when I just stop in to pick up a phone order? Seriously, what are the odds? Yes, the Angels are definitely hunting me.

Perhaps I should explain. This song is played at every Angels game right before the bottom of the 1st inning. I love music and form a strong memory connection to certain songs. My ear will pick up on the background music at restaurants and even in the middle of a loud Vegas casino so, for me, the music played at the ballpark is noticeable and very memorable. Some team songs or walk up music will forever be linked to specific person or team for me. I doubt I will ever hear Guns n’ Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle again without thinking stand back, Mark McGuire’s coming to the plate. Take Me Out to the Ballgame, oddly enough, still has tinges of Dodgers association for me because theirs is the first name I belted out in lieu of “home team” many, many years ago. With other songs, like The Who’s Baba O’Riley, which the Rangers play before each game, I remember the baseball relationship to the song but hearing it doesn’t make me cringe because other memories formed a more powerful association long ago – in this case, listening to my Dad playing records.

Most of the songs played at Angels games have formed a very strong Angels baseball association for me. Train’s Calling All Angels, which is played during the historical highlight reel before the start of every game. Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky, which plays as the Angels start to take the field for the first time. And, of course, Uprising. I hear these songs, and I get my inevitable anticipatory goose bumps and chills. Oh, I didn’t mention the goose bumps? Yeah, whenever I know something exceptionally cool is about to happen or I see something creative that is just beautifully done, I get literal goose bumps on my arms, often chills. Previews for a movie based on a book I’ve read or a part of history I’ve studied where they get the scene just right? Concert announcement for a band I’ve been dying to see? New book release from a favorite author? A particularly well done cover song? Witty dialog? Angels game is about to start? Goose bumps in every instance.

So, Uprising plays, or Spirit in the Sky or Calling all Angels, and there I stand, Pavlov’s Angels fan with anticipatory goose bumps on my arms because my ear is absolutely certain that the game’s about to start. But, of course, I know it’s only January and I’m on my way to work, out with friends eating sushi this evening or whatever and I shake my head at my own silliness and sigh. Haunted I tell you. Now where did I put that countdown of the days until pitchers and catchers report? Because I’m sure I calculated something wrong. It’s moving way too slow.

(Editor’s Note: Build Me Up Buttercup is a notable exception to the whole Angels music/goose bumps thing. When that song plays during the 7th inning stretch, I sit down and mull over finding the poor misguided creature whose idea it was to use that song and politely suggesting that they turn in their marketing card. Right now.)


  1. Jane Heller

    I’m with you on the goosebumps. When I hear certain songs that are played at Yankee Stadium, they transport me back there no matter where I am and I think only of baseball. As for “Buttercup,” I’m with you on that too. The song should be stricken from the playlist forever!

  2. blithescribe

    Ron – I think that’s really cool! I am actually envious of teams with victory songs that are longstanding traditions, especially songs written for the team. The Angels play “When the House is a Rockin'” after every game they win, but it’s not the same as a victory song, let alone one all the fans can sing.
    Jane – Glad to know I’m not the only one – and the Yankees have some really good songs too from what I pick up on TV.
    Jeff – I didn’t know you lived out here for a while. College? And a sometime Angles fan to boot. Nice! Yeah, needing to own just one song was so much more of a liability in the days before iTunes and the like.
    – Kristen


    The Angels just happen to have the most common word in music in their name, outside of love, sex, and 20 inch wheels on an impala(not really but you get my point). You forgot about send me an angel by erasure for when we need those late inning comebacks thats my mlb pick for the Angels best theme song come a 9th inning blowout and it’s not haunting like the muse.

  4. blithescribe

    That they do Cooperspick and I remember when the Angels used to have just about every song with the word angel in it playing in the background before and after each game, even songs that were a bad fit like Sarah McLaughlin’s In the Arms of an Angel. I’m glad they moved away from that. They have dropped the Erasure too though. But I mostly like the newer mix, with the exception of Buttercup, of course. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting. I will have to check out your link a little bit further tomorrow.
    – Kristen


    I still remember a special moment at my first Angel game (at Chavez Ravine in 1964) when they played an Angels’ version of the official Los Angeles City song “Angeltown” written by the famous team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

    The song is a great one, written in 1959, but they’d given it Angel lyrics:

    “Beat the Yanks, top the Sox … knock those Tigers from the box
    show the Twins, just who wins in An-gel-towwwwn!” Great.

    Once the team moved to Anaheim in 1966 they replaced it with “California Angel,s AOK!” which was a good song, but not as good as Angeltown IMO.

    The team should bring both of those songs back as part of the Angels’ 50 year celebration. During pitching breaks or injury “timeouts” a group sing could be cool. The Angels are still in California, and Anaheim is just as much “Angeltown” in its way now.


  6. blithescribe

    Murray – Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and sharing this! It’s so cool that your first Angels game was back in the Dodgers stadium days. I love the Angeltown song with Angels lyrics. I never knew about this piece of Angels history until today and bet a lot of the fans in their 20s and 30s don’t either. I just found the lyrics to Angels AOK online and I agree with you, Angeltown is better. It would be a lot of fun if they used Angeltown at one of the Flashback Fridays this season or something. It would certainly be better than Buttercup. 🙂
    This is a very simple game…

  7. Richard

    I know this is an old post, but I just read it while searching for some of the music at the games. Your last paragraph made me laugh because I feel the same way. That song is terrible! I told my wife maybe they are hoping that if they play it for the next 50 years we’ll all be dead and our kids will remember always hearing it. Then MAYBE it will catch on. Anyway, we were at a game a little while back against Texas and they played Gene Autry singing “Back in the Saddle” before the game. Now why can’t they play that during the 7th inning stretch? At least then it has a little nostalgic value to it.

    • This is a very simple game...

      I’m glad you stumbled on the post Richard and that I gave you a laugh. 🙂 You gave me a laugh with the 50 years from now comment. You may have stumbled upon the Marketing Department’s secret plan. I think you’re on to something with Back in the Saddle Again. It has nostalgia, a definite Angels tie, nothing offensive for the kiddies and everyone can sing along. So where do we send a petition?

      — Kristen

  8. Richard

    When they played it before the game half the stadium was singing along. How many years have they been playing that stupid Buttercup song with the words on the Jumbotron and yet people still don’t sing to it?

    Anyway, I don’t know where to start. We could get people to start emailing the Angels comment whatever from their site and try to get someone like Bill Plunkett, the Angel’s Beat Writer for the Register Mark Whicker who writes a lot of good pieces for the Register to do a story on it.

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