I spent this afternoon at the Mets-Phillies tilt that opened Shea Stadium’s final season (FYI to any Phillies fans in the audience: just don’t), and the one thing I was looking forward to–aside from my thwarted hopes of a Metropolitans victory–was the eighth-inning spin of “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Last week, the Internet had decided that Rick Astley’s late-’80s hit was the choice for Shea’s eighth-inning singalong, after learning that the Mets had opened the choice for said song to an online poll, and apparently that movement had been successful: According to statistics flashed during the eighth inning and confirmed to me by an MLB operative, more than five million people wrote in Astley’s song as their singalong pick. Which would, in normal times, have made the song the winner. But the Mets, being as Internet-savvy as a Major League Baseball team could be these days, had a trick up their “Final Season At Shea”-patched sleeves!
See, the voting form that so many people wrote Astley’s song into only said that fans would “help choose” the eighth inning singalong. So in order to avoid being completely jobbed by a bunch of Internet jokers who will never give up their money to get tickets to the quite-lucrative final season at its home park that’s kind of a shithole*, the Mets decided that over the next week, the PA will blare the top six choices by fan vote, which include “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer,” Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” a Bruce Springsteen song that isn’t “Born To Run” (seriously Mets, WTF?), and the ripped-off-from-the Red Sox “Sweet Caroline.” And whatever song gets the best “crowd reaction” will be the song that fans are subjected to every game, whether they like it or not.
It’s probably not surprising that the Mets chose this afternoon’s eighth inning to play “Never Gonna Give You Up,” what with it winning the vote and today being the first home game of 2008. And those of you who are actually cognizant of how much the Internet affects popular culture likely won’t be surprised that Astley’s song was met with a torrent of boos from the first note–shit, the Mets didn’t even get Mr. Met to dress up in a trenchcoat. OK, OK, the fans might have also been booing because the Phillies pretty much put the game away in the top of the eighth, thus making all the feel-good vibes that had been engendered by Carlos Delgado’s home run and Oliver Perez’s 100% W-worthy performance completely moot. But I also think that, given the choice, they’d just rather sing along to Bon Jovi or Billy Joel. I know my people, and maybe-ironic appreciation of late-’80s Stock Aitken Waterman stars just isn’t their cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hot chocolate.
So one last time, here’s the video:
Oh Mets. You don’t know what you’re missing.
* The ladies’ loo toilets near section 35 in the upper deck were flooding by the fourth inning. Just saying.