Blame A-Rod!

My mother’s purposeful ignorance of pop culture reached it’s zenith about four years ago when my younger brother’s reference to Homer Simpson returned a curious stare from her. Despite her indifference to such things, she rather enjoys participating in family board games that sometimes require a basic knowledge of pop culture.

This was never more evident than during a family get together shortly after the Homer Simpson incident. We were gathered in my parents’ living room playing a game called Cranium. My mother’s teammate drew a card that required her to hum the tune of the stadium anthem “Who Let The Dogs Out.” If my mother could guess the name of the song being hummed, her team would win the game.

I’m not sure what the actual root of my mother’s excitement was. It could’ve been how close her team was to winning the highly competitive game. Or, perhaps it was the result of her actually recognizing the tune of a song whose relevance was completely outside her scope of interest. Nonetheless, she blurted out, “I know. I know.” And then after clearing her throat, she excitedly exclaimed, “Why Are There So Many Dogs In The House?”

The laughter that erupted after her guess is the reason why board games are played by families. We hope for those moments while we engage in friendly competition, and my mother provided it in spadefuls.

It pained me to learn last evening that such a moment may not have been possible without New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. I came across a recent listicle from Mental Floss regarding novelty songs that told the story of Rodriguez liking the song when it was played as a prank for one of his teammates.

Rodriguez requested that stadium officials play the song as his batter introduction music, and soon, ballparks around the nation were blaring “Who Let the Dogs Out?” over their loudspeakers.

Wikipedia has a few more details about baseball’s role in making this disasterpiece of a song a part of popular culture.

In June 2000, Gregg Greene, then Director of Promotions for the Seattle Mariners, was the first to play the Baha Men’s version of “Who Let the Dogs Out” at a Major League Baseball game. He debuted the tune as a joke for the team’s backup catcher, Joe Oliver. Two days later, shortstop Alex Rodriguez requested the ditty for his batter introduction music and the song quickly became the Mariners team anthem. The Baha Men played live at Safeco Field during a Mariners game in September 2000.

The story checks out, as confirmed by this NPR interview with Greene. However, his claims that the Mariners were the first to use the song may be a bit exaggerated.

The New York Mets, however, claimed that they were the first MLB team to adopt the song ( later commented, “This is a little like scientists arguing over who discovered a deadly virus”). The Baha Men recorded a version of the song that changed the chorus to “Who let the Mets out?” and all the lyrics to reflect the team and its players, which was played at Shea Stadium throughout the Mets’ 2000 postseason run, including a live performance on the Shea Stadium field before Game 4 of the 2000 World Series against the New York Yankees. The song was written by David Brody of Z100 New York and recorded by the Baha Men initially for Z100. Brody then gave the song to the Mets to play at Shea. Brody has also written songs for the 2006 and 2007 Mets.

Wonderful. The entire “controversy” and the rise of the song in popularity has something of an “Idiocracy” element to it.