Monday, July 7, 2014

Classics at the ballpark

I am currently visiting Atlanta with my oldest son whose team is here playing in a baseball tournament. We had a free evening and went to an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field. To be precise, it was on the 4th of July. It was a beautiful evening....unusually cool for this time of year. We have a wonderful ballpark in Kansas City and I have seen many games there since 1975. This was my first visit to Turner Field. Two things stood out from my visit. Number 1: the ballpark organ! Like I said, I love the "K" in Kansas City, but they don't use an organ anymore...instead it's all recorded music and its played at a very high decibel level. Atlanta installed an organ and hired a FT organist in 2009 and it is wonderful...just like music is meant to be enjoyed at a baseball game. I will admit, as progressive as I like to think I am, I do cling to certain traditions...and this is one of them. The organ is pleasant on the ears...not too loud....and it creates an atmosphere that captures the feel of the game. Stadiums that blast loud rock/country/rap music seem to miss the point in my opinion.Their approach clashes with the vibe of the baseball. It is so loud and obtrusive. The organ is just right.
I did some research and learned that the first ballpark to install an organ was Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1941. By the 1980's, video screens and pre-recorded music began to chip away at the organ's "playing time". Today, only a few remain. I say bring them back! Here is an interview with Turner Field organist, Matt Kaminski:

And number 2: The magnificent rendition of "God Bless America" sung by Timothy Miller, a tenor with the Atlanta opera. He sings with such power and command....check it out: