OAKLAND – One of the most hotly debated subjects at the Coliseum right now isn’t a trade or lineup decision, but a song.
A’s officials made the decision to stray from Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” as the song to blast over the P.A. system after the final out of an A’s home victory. After Monday’s season-opening win, both fans and players were surprised to instead hear “Theme for Oakland,” a song by Oakland-based group The Phenomenauts.
“Nothing against that song, they used to play it during the seventh inning stretch,” closer Sean Doolittle said. “But Kool & The Gang has been a tradition here for quite a while. I thought it was something everybody kind of liked. It definitely took everybody by surprise on Opening Night.”
“Celebration” has been a Coliseum staple following A’s victories since the early 80’s, shortly after the song first became a hit. (For the record, the A’s did use Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite” from 1998-2005).
Ken Pries, the A’s vice president of broadcasting and communications, said the decision to try a new song was simply keeping with a “fresh start” theme at the Coliseum. The team installed brand new HD scoreboards and ribbon boards for this season and thought a change in victory songs might be in order too.
“We talked about it during the offseason,” Pries said. “We thought, this is a song that’s Oakland-based, by an Oakland group. We played it a number of times last year in the eighth inning, and fans seemed to enjoy it. We thought, ‘New year, let’s try it after our wins.’”
Another motivation for using an Oakland-based song, Pries said, was that the A’s often get perceived as an organization that doesn’t embrace its Oakland roots enough.
The A’s have received lots of feedback – some positive, much of it negative. Expect the issue to be revisited very, very soon.
Doolittle said players often yell the “woo-hoo” part of “Celebration” as they’re walking through their high-five line.
“I honestly don’t know what the new song is,” he said. “We’ve got those new ribbon boards. They could put the words up on them. Make it like karaoke -- use a bouncing A’s logo (to follow along with the lyrics).
“Maybe it’s an awesome song, and we just don’t know the words to it.”