For diehard baseball fans and home team supporters, the main attraction of the World Series is obviously the inning-by-inning showdown that unfolds on the field during each championship game. But for another segment of the nation, the real spotlight isn’t on the teams but on the big name recording artists who are brought in to sing the national anthem.
This year’s race between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies is proving no different as the teams, tied 1-1 in the series, move on to Citizens Bank Park in the City of Brotherly Love. Confirming that the World Series isn’t just a competitive sporting event but also a race to provide the best entertainment, the Phillies have unveiled two major acts as the performers for Games 3 and 4, set for October 25-26.
First to bat in Philly will be up-and-coming country starlet Taylor Swift, who has been burning up the radio charts since her 2006 debut. From there, the mic will be passed to Philly’s own hometown legend Patti LaBelle, who will do the honors for Game 4. The performer for Game 5 has not yet been announced.
The Rays created their own star-studded billing for Games 1 and 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL, on October 22-23. The resurging ’90s boy band the Backstreet Boys opened the series with their rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” followed in Game 2 by Los Lonely Boys, who performed an a cappella version of the anthem that received a standing ovation from the crowd before the song was even over.
Much like the Super Bowl, the World Series has long been a showcase for some of the music industry’s biggest names and hottest acts, as well as a lightning rod for controversy. Similar to the Phillies’ pairing of the up-and-coming with the iconic, last year’s series featured performances from the likes of Carrie Underwood and James Taylor. And while there haven’t been any “wardrobe malfunctions” during the World Series, classic rocker Bob Seger drew some heat in 2006 when he declared “The Star Spangled Banner” too difficult for his vocal range, opting to sing “America the Beautiful” instead.