This familiar chant is a staple at Royals games, but for the last six seasons that rallying chant has been missing one key component - a live organ.
Organists have been part of baseball since 1941, but have slowly seen their numbers decline over the last decade and a half. As of 2012, 17 of the 30 Major League clubs still employed organists, although those numbers are starting to rebound with some clubs like the Braves, Brewers, and Giants brought back organists for a sense of nostalgia.
The Royals had an organist at Kauffman Stadium as far back as I can remember, and in 2000, Sam Beckett got the gig. Beckett delighted fans with witty songs to match the situation on the field and his keys became a wonderful backdrop to an otherwise terrible product on the field. Here is a 2004 piece on Beckett from "The Pitch":
When pitching coach John Cumberland is talking Brian Anderson down, maybe Beckett will play "With a Little Help From My Friends" with two-handed jazz chords. When first baseman Mike Sweeney hulks into the box, maybe a crazy nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-Batman! Its stadium-shaking rhythm track is sampled -- get this -- from a cassette copy of Prince's Batman soundtrack, but the nuh-nuh-nuh-nuhs are played live, as are those grace notes after a crisp double play and the percussive tap-tap-taptaptaps that make you clap without thinking, along with the thousands of people around you. Fact is, everything organ at the K is live, uncanned, improvised, not beamed in from some Clear Channel satellite. This is notable as proof, yet again, of how little adults expect of our national pastime.
But if you're a 10-year-old, of course you know somebody real is playing the organ. What kind of world would this be if there wasn't?
"It's the fabric of the ballgame," Beckett says from behind his keyboard. "It's the froth on the cappuccino. It's like ice cream and apple pie. Breyer's vanilla ice cream, with homemade apple pie."
I cannot find any official news source on when the Beckett's services were no longer needed, but according to Brian McGannon, Sam quit after the 2008 season, apparently over low pay, and the Royals decided they no longer needed the expense of having a live organist at the game. They've brought it back on occasion on Retro Nights with Jeremy Boyer (seen above), and he will make two appearances this year - May 17 and August 15. Boyer had this amusing version of Lorde's "Royal" on the organ last year, but there has not been a regular organist at the K ever since Beckett departed
Its time to bring back the live organ. Live organ music is as much a part of baseball as the National Anthem and selling hot dogs. Look, I get why we need to have the "Kiss Cam" and the "Dance Off" and the "Sprint - You Pick the Song" stuff. I'm not saying they have to get rid of all the pre-recorded canned music (although I definitely wouldn't mind).
Just bring back the live organ.
There needs to be a movement to get a live organist back at Kauffman Stadium. I can't be the only one who wants this @Royals— Kevin (@KevinMcGannon) April 15, 2015
Minnie the Moocher, a stadium organ, #DressedToTheNines. Throw it back to the old school.— Mike Engel (@michaelengel) April 15, 2015