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MLB’s worst national anthem performances: A fan’s take
The "Star-Spangled Banner" has been the national anthem of the United States of America for the past eight decades, and has been sung by millions upon millions of Americans for over 200 years.
If you're lucky enough to be chosen to sing it at a sports event, it could be one of the highlights of your career or life, and it's been performed at all manner of sporting events, including historic renditions at Super Bowls and World Series games.
However, it's a very difficult song to get just right, and if you flub it, which many do since the lyrics can trip up any performer, even professional ones, it could just be the worst moment of your life, especially with YouTube now on the scene to make sure the loop of it is played over and over and over to the mocking derision of everyone.
Following are five performances by individuals who know that truth all too well, as they belted out the five worst renditions of the national anthem ever to be heard at a MLB game:
1. Rosanne Barr
Although she was a fairly popular comedic actress at the time with a hit show, I don't know what the San Diego Padres organization was thinking when they booked Rosanne Barr to sing the national anthem during a game on July 25, 1990.
As Tim Kurkjian of Sports Illustrated reported in his article that alluded to the horrific rendition, president George Bush actually spoke out and called Barr's performance "disgraceful," which is what nearly every American felt of it.
Robert Merrill, an opera singer who sang the national anthem at Yankee Stadium for decades, said of the atrocious show: "I almost upchucked my dinner. It was to me like the burning of the flag."
I'd have to agree with Mr. Merrill.
Celebrity singers forgetting the lyrics is something that's happened numerous times over the years, and is actually a bit understandable to a degree. After all, it's not as if these celebrities are performing this song over and over again throughout the year. Instead, they're asked to come to a venue, often on the spur of the moment, and belt out the anthem because they have a good voice.
However, if you're going to forget the lyrics, at least try and pretend as if you knew them rather than do what Michael Bolton did.
In a 2003 ALCS game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and Fenway Park, Bolton paused, looked down at the lyrics he'd written on his hand, and then continued on to finish the song. His voice may not have been horrible (to some), but his actions left Red Sox fans mocking him ever since.
I felt sad when hearing about this, as I've always been a fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan, who I consider to be one of the greatest guitarists ever. However, his unbelievably bad performance of the national anthem during the Houston Astros' 1985 season opener was just not right.
Apparently, he wanted to try and emulate Jimi Hendrix (the greatest guitarist ever), and his rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner"that he performed at Woodstock failed miserably, if you ask me.
4. Yale Whiffenpoofs
While they're a great group capable of sending out great harmonies, the Yale Whiffenpoofs were simply tone deaf to what they should have been doing when they performed the national anthem before Game 1 of the 1989 World Series.
Half of them seemed to get it right, actually singing the "Star-Spangled Banner," but the other half were singing "America the Beautiful" (a song traditionally sung during the seventh-inning stretch), and the whole thing just sounded horrible.
I'm actually someone who liked Jose Feliciano's version of the national anthem he performed before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series. However, at the time it was not just seen as controversial, it was seen as downright insulting by most American veterans, and really got Jose in a heap of trouble.
I think over the years it's actually begun to take on cult following, and could someday be relegated to one of the best performances of the Anthem. Yet, we haven't reached that day, and so here it sits at No. 5.
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All stats and information taken from personal notes and verified at Baseball-Reference.com and Yahoo! Sports.
Read more by Daniel Barber aka Hotnuke at TFS Sports.
*Daniel Barber has rooted for all Miami teams since he was a child or since their inception having been born right above Miami.
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