From Jose Bautista’s badass bat flip to Kyle Schwarber’s scoreboard-smacking home run to the Royals’ epic ALDS comeback, the Major League Baseball postseason has been one for the ages. It’s certainly been a wild, GIF-happy ride, and heyoo — there are still two rounds of baseball left to play.
On the American League side, we’re down to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals, a pair of underdog success stories who, prior to the 2014 season, had gone a combined 41 years without making the playoffs. Those numbers will certainly cut into your diehard fans population, but on the National League side, we’ve got two perennially popular teams, despite their constant underdog status. The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets are both repped by squads of loyal celebrity fans.
Play Ball: Musicians Throwing Out the First Pitch
So we ask: who has the cooler musician following? Let’s check it out.
For the Cubs, we have to start with Eddie Vedder. He recently lamented the proximity of the 2015 World Series to Pearl Jam’s fall tour, and vowed to not plan any such dates over the next few years. This July, he did a super-exclusive charity concert at the Metro in Chicago and sung alongside a bunch of Cubs players. He’s even written a very, very good acoustic tribute to the Cubs called “All the Way” — where the Cubs haven’t been able to go since 1908.
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz grew up in the suburbs outside Chicago. Last year, Wentz told Billboard about how he used to go to Wrigley Field with his dad and attended one of the legendary ballpark’s very first night games.
We asked him what it would be like if the Cubs won a World Series, and here’s how he responded:
“I think that would be insane. Chicago would lose its mind. A, It’s been so long and B, the Cubs are a team people have in their DNA. It’s akin to when Boston won the World Series. There’s a culture of people who love the Cubs but like when the Cubs don’t win. I think the Cubs inspire a look into the future. There’s a lot of that culture in Chicago.
Fall Out Boy also played Wrigley Field on the opening day of the 2015 MLB season.
Mountain Goats singer-songwriter John Darnielle is a passionate Cubs fan, too. He namechecks a Cubs World Series in in his 1995 song “Cubs in Five,” as he rattles off things that’ll likely never happen. Billboard interviewed Darnielle about the Cubs last year, and he said he didn’t think the Cubs would win a World Series in his lifetime, even though he predicts it every year.
Here’s to hoping, and here’s “Cubs in Five”:
Jack White attended a Cubs game in 2014 and looked really sad. We’re not so sure about him, but you know that feeling when a band’s great live performance wins you over? Maybe that happened to Jack.
And now onto the Mets.
Ira Kaplan is a founding member of Yo La Tengo, one of indie rock’s most respected and longest running acts, who released their 14th and most recent album, Stuff Like That There, this year. They took their name from an anecdote from the Mets’ disastrous first season in 1962. Venezuelan shortstop Elio Chacon was misplaying balls because he didn’t understand English and missed his teammates calling for them. Outfielder Richie Ashburn learned to yell “I’ve got it!” in Spanish (“Yo la tengo!”), which helped, until he was knocked over by English-speaking outfielder Frank Thomas.
Speaking to Billboard about the Mets last year, Kaplan admitted that he no longer follows the team like he used to. He did talk about his patience through the Mets’ rebuilding process, which is paying off this year.
Around the time the Mets’ original home Shea Stadium was demolished, a punk venue opened up in North Brooklyn with the same name, with a giant logo painted on the wall.
This Shea Stadium is run by Adam Reich, who plays guitar in the So So Glos and Titus Andronicus. Last year he told Billboard, “It would really be beautiful if we could get there in 2016, the 30th anniversary of (the world championship of) 1986.” Now the Mets have a chance to get it done a year early.
Back in 2014, 50 Cent visited Queens’ Citi Field and threw one of the most hilariously bad first pitches in recent memory. He followed up with an even more hilarious explanation for it. But he looked awfully good in those blue pinstripes.
Late Baseball Legend Yogi Berra Inspired Billboard Hits, Too
If you know anything about Queens-bred rapper Action Bronson, it probably has to do with how much he loves food. He loves his hometown, too, and its baseball team. Before his rap career took off, he spent some time combining those loves as one of the head cooks at Citi Field.
And let’s close with Billy Joel, an old school Mets fan who played Shea Stadium’s final concerts, back in June 2008.
So Mets and Cubs — which side ya got?