Why do the Boston Red Sox sing “Dancing on My Own”?

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BOSTON – A baseball club’s soundtrack tends to follow a predictable pattern, with its beat leaning primarily on hip-hop, country, rock, and Latin music. But when video clips emerged in recent weeks of the Boston Red Sox celebrating various playoff milestones, what stood out was the players’ enthusiasm – and their throaty singing – over a club song. melancholy of a Swedish pop star.

Or, more precisely, a Dutch DJ’s remix of a British singer’s cover of the Swedish pop star’s melancholy club song.

Swedish star Robyn first wrote and performed the hit song “Dancing on My Own” in April 2010. It was years before Calum Scott sang it. for his hearing in the reality show “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2015. Dutch DJ Tiësto then added his own beats for the version adopted by the Sox.

How ‘Dancing on My Own’ became the anthem for the 2021 Red Sox team of the season – which now includes a meeting with the Houston Astros in the American League Championship series, with the Red Sox losing the game 1, 5-4 – is largely a story of wide receiver Kevin Plawecki’s enthusiasm for his speaker’s snooze button, but the story has its roots in the reboot of the baseball pandemic in 2020.

When the Red Sox reunited in July 2020 for the postponed start to the season, many players were away from their families. Four have chosen to live together: Plawecki and three now former teammates, Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland and Kevin Pillar. Benintendi introduced the song to Plawecki, who immediately adored it and started playing it nonstop around the house, much to Moreland’s chagrin.

“Moreland hated it – a type of deal ‘he said he hated it but really loved it,” ”Plalawecki said. As a joke before an intra-team scrum, the receiver decided, “I’m going to make this my backing song for Mitch,” who was playing first base for the opposing team. Plawecki landed his first strike and sang the song to Moreland as he got around the basics. By then, Plawecki had become addicted.

“The beat, the flow, puts you in a good mood,” said Plawecki, who called himself more of a “vibe guy” while acknowledging than the lyrics – about a clubber watching an old lover with a new flame. – “it doesn’t make sense” for baseball.

In previous seasons, Plawecki had let his wife and brother choose his walk-in songs, but this home run convinced him to keep “Dancing on My Own” as a side dish for the trips on the plate. At first it was a way of having fun in a weird season with no fans in the stadium, but Plawecki went on to have the best attacking season of his career. While supporting Christian Vazquez during the truncated 60-game schedule, Plawecki hit 0.341 in 82 at-bat.

Since Plawecki, 30, carried his loudspeaker everywhere with him, “Dancing on My Own” is now presented regularly before and after games.

“We play it all the time – just, too,” Plawecki said, using a royal “we” and adding a layman descriptor to highlight the growing volume of games. “We’re just doing too much.”

When infielder Christian Arroyo joined the Red Sox for the latter part of the 2020 season, he was given the same luxury suite as Plawecki to use as a makeshift dressing room due to Covid protocols. Arroyo started to like the song even though, he estimated, Plawecki played it 75 times in two weeks. Arroyo finally asked his teammate, “Kev, are you overplaying?” Plawecki replied, “No, this song is amazing.”

It’s become a running gag this season – a Red Soxian Rickroll – where Plawecki will ask his teammates, “Hey boys, have you heard that new song?”

“And then we’re going to turn it on, and everyone goes crazy,” Arroyo said in Wednesday’s practice as, no kidding, “Dancing on My Own” played over the speakers at Fenway Park and infielder Jose Iglesias raised his bat and danced near him. the batting cage.

“Now it’s become a bit of a joke, but basically everyone thinks it’s a bit catchy,” infielder Travis Shaw said.

“Ever since Kevin started playing this song in the clubhouse, on the bus, everywhere, it has become our theme song,” reliever Hirokazu Sawamura said through his performer. “It’s part of who we are now.”

After the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays to close their AL Division streak on Monday night, part of their frenzied, foam-soaked harmonization of “Dancing on My Own” aired on MLB Network and broadcast on the networks. social. Robyn tweeted that the scene was “crazy” and, when a fan asked if Calum Scott and Tiësto could play it if the Red Sox won the World Series, Scott wrote, “In a heartbeat.” (Thursday, Tiësto had not weighed on his availability.)

Even though the song is such a critically acclaimed hit that it ranks No. 20 On Rolling Stone’s 2021 edition of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, “Dancing on My Own” is the most unexpected update to the 21st Century Red Sox sound catalog, which includes pillars like “Sweet Caroline “from Neil Diamond, which Fenway Park played in the middle of the eighth inning, and” Dirty Water “from the Standells, which is played after every win.

There were also season specific songs. The 2004 team adopted Enimen’s “Lose Yourself” in their World Series title race; the Dropkick Murphys wrote “Tessie” that same season, then performed “Shipping up to Boston” for the title team in 2007. In 2013, the song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, outfielder Shane Victorino, was still prompted the crowd to continue singing after the music stopped.

To be sure, Plawecki isn’t just a one-hit wonder – he’s also credited as the primary inventor of the team’s dugout ritual of pushing a batter who hits a laundry cart through a line of reception of high-fives – although its musical selection is still limited.

“I’m proud of him because at the start of the season he had a playlist of about five songs,” said center fielder Kiké Hernandez. “It was painful because it was just the same five songs over and over again. We started giving him a hard time and he started coming up with more songs.

As the Red Sox took a bus from Baltimore to Washington between their final two playoffs of the season, the veterans asked the rookies to stand in front and sing karaoke. The star of the breakout was Sawamura, who sang a capable cover of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You”. Sawamura’s English may be limited but, according to Hernandez, “he knows every word of some of Alicia Keys’ songs; Sawamura has a talent that few people have yet discovered.

Sawamura said he has been a fan of English music for years, ranging from Oasis and Keys to Ed Sheeran. “I have a large collection that I can sing along to,” he noted. (Asked to review his performance on the bus, Sawamura laughed and said, “I think I got the most enthusiasm from the fans on the bus. I got it right.”)

But when all the rookies took their turn, Plawecki stepped forward and selected “Dancing on My Own”.

“I sang it on the mic for all the boys in the back,” he said.


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