Why Are the Boston Red Sox Singing ‘Dancing on My Own’?

BOSTON — The soundtrack of a baseball clubhouse tends to comply with a predictable sample, its beat sticking principally with hip-hop, nation, rock and Latin music. But when video clips emerged in latest weeks of the Boston Red Sox celebrating varied playoff milestones, what stood out was the gamers’ enthusiasm — and full-throated singalong — to a melancholic membership track from a Swedish pop star.

Or, extra precisely, a Dutch DJ’s remix of a British singer’s cowl of the Swedish pop star’s melancholic membership track.

The Swedish star, Robyn, first wrote and carried out the hit, “Dancing on My Own,” in April 2010. That was years earlier than Calum Scott sang it for his audition on the actuality present, “Britain’s Got Talent,” in 2015. The Dutch DJ, Tiësto, then added his personal beats for the model adopted by the Sox.

How “Dancing on My Own” turned the workforce anthem of the Red Sox’ 2021 season — which now features a assembly with the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, with the Red Sox shedding Game 1, 5-4 — is basically a narrative of catcher Kevin Plawecki’s enthusiasm for his speaker’s repeat button, however the story has its roots in baseball’s 2020 pandemic restart.

When the Red Sox reconvened in July 2020 for the postponed begin of the season, many gamers have been away from their households. Four opted to reside collectively: Plawecki and three now former teammates, Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland and Kevin Pillar. Benintendi launched the track to Plawecki, who instantly cherished it and began taking part in it nonstop in the home, a lot to the obvious chagrin of Moreland.

“Moreland hated it — a ‘he said he hated it but really loved it’ type of deal,” Plawecki stated. As a joke earlier than an intrasquad scrimmage, the catcher determined, “I’m going to make it my walk-up song for Mitch,” who was taking part in first base for the opposing workforce. Plawecki homered in his first at-bat and sang the track to Moreland as he rounded the bases. At that time, Plawecki was hooked.

“The beat of it, the flow of it, puts you in a good mood,” stated Plawecki, who known as himself extra of a “vibe guy” whereas acknowledging that the lyrics — a few clubgoer watching a former lover with a brand new flame — “don’t make sense at all” for baseball.

In earlier seasons, Plawecki had let his spouse and brother select his walk-up songs, however that house run satisfied him to maintain “Dancing on My Own” as his accompaniment for journeys to the plate. At first, it was a method to have enjoyable in an eerie season with no followers in the ballpark, however then Plawecki had the finest offensive season of his profession. While backing up Christian Vazquez over the truncated 60-game schedule, Plawecki batted .341 in 82 at-bats.

Since Plawecki, 30, carries his speaker with him in every single place, “Dancing on My Own” is now featured recurrently earlier than and after video games.

“We play it all the time — just, too much,” Plawecki stated, utilizing a royal “we” and including a profane descriptor to emphasise the rising quantity of the play rely. “We just overdo it.”

When infielder Christian Arroyo joined the Red Sox for the closing stretch of the 2020 season, he was assigned the identical luxurious suite as Plawecki to make use of as a makeshift altering room due to Covid protocols. Arroyo grew to love the track even when, he estimated, Plawecki performed it 75 occasions in two weeks. Arroyo ultimately requested his teammate, “Kev, are you kind of overplaying it?” Plawecki replied, “No, this song is amazing.”

It has develop into a operating gag this season — a Red Soxian Rickroll — the place Plawecki will ask his teammates, “Hey boys, have you heard this new song?”

“And then we’ll fire it up, and everyone goes nuts,” Arroyo stated throughout Wednesday’s exercise as, no joke, “Dancing on My Own” performed over the Fenway Park audio system and infielder Jose Iglesias raised his bat and danced to it close to the batting cage.

“Now it’s become a little bit of a joke, but deep down, everybody thinks it’s a little catchy,” infielder Travis Shaw stated.

“Ever since Kevin started playing that song in the clubhouse, on the bus, everywhere, that became our theme song,” reliever Hirokazu Sawamura stated by means of his interpreter. “That’s part of who we are now.”

After the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays to shut out their A.L. division collection on Monday evening, a portion of their frenzied, suds-soaked harmonizing of “Dancing on My Own” was broadcast on MLB Network and unfold throughout social media. Robyn tweeted that the scene was “bonkers” and, when a fan requested if Calum Scott and Tiësto may carry out it if the Red Sox win the World Series, Scott wrote, “In a HEARTBEAT.” (As of Thursday, Tiësto had not weighed in on his availability.)

Even although the track is such a critically-acclaimed hit that it ranks No. 20 on Rolling Stone’s 2021 version of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, “Dancing on My Own” is the most sudden replace to the Red Sox’ 21st century sonic catalog, which incorporates mainstays like Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which Fenway Park has performed in the center of the eighth inning, and The Standells’ “Dirty Water,” which is performed after each win.

There have been season-specific songs, too. The 2004 workforce adopted Enimen’s “Lose Yourself” throughout its World Series title run; the Dropkick Murphys wrote “Tessie” that very same season after which carried out “Shipping up to Boston” for the 2007 title workforce. In 2013, outfielder Shane Victorino’s walk-up track, Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” all the time prompted the crowd to maintain singing after the music stopped.

To make sure, Plawecki is not only a one-hit marvel — he’s additionally credited as the main inventor of the workforce’s dugout ritual of pushing a hitter who has homered in a laundry cart by means of a receiving line of high-fives — even when his music choice continues to be restricted.

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

As the Red Sox took a bus from Baltimore to Washington between their final two collection of the season, the veterans requested the rookies to face up entrance and sing karaoke. The breakout star was Sawamura, who belted out a succesful cowl of Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You.” Sawamura’s English could also be restricted however, in response to Hernandez, “he knows every word to a few of Alicia Keys’s songs; Sawamura has a talent that not a lot of people have discovered yet.”

Sawamura stated he has been a fan of English-language music for years, spanning Oasis and Keys to Ed Sheeran. “I have a large collection I can sing,” he famous. (Asked to evaluate his bus-ride efficiency, Sawamura laughed and stated, “I think I had the most excitement from the fans on the bus. I nailed it.”)

But when all the rookies had taken their flip, Plawecki walked up entrance and cued up “Dancing on My Own.”

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

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