The MLB postseason began again over the weekend--you might have noticed your sports-agnostic fans living and dying with the Cardinals' Wild Card play-in game win on Friday. You might even have noticed, in yourself, a newfound interest in the vagaries of the infield fly rule. If you noticed those things last year, you probably remember wonderful things--a city-wide revel, a shared experience of something remarkable and unlikely, people telling you how thisclose they were to David Freese in high school. You probably also remember this --"Oh / written in the stars / a million miles away."
It's the hook to a song by an English rapper named Tinie Tempah. Played under baseball highlights -- and it was, all day, multiple times during every game in last year's postseason -- it sounded, the first time, like dramatic filler music. Around five times it got melodramatic; at ten it got absurd; at fifteen it became grating and unavoidable. At twenty it wasn't even a song anymore.
That's bumper music. If you watch the same sports enough times -- the same playoffs, really, or the weeks leading up to an All-Star Game, or something else that can be packaged on TV -- you'll be assaulted by the piece of mood music some well-meaning design team chose out of hundreds more to be the perfect representation of MLB-Postseason-ness.
Right now the Cardinals are in the National League Division Series, which airs on TBS. They aren't as serious an offender in this respect as FOX, as their particular vice is to run Conan ads until you wish Jay Leno were hosting it. So I won't know until the NLCS which song FOX will defamiliarize for me this year.
But they will. More than any modern artist or academic deconstructionist or well-meaning noise band, FOX knows how to defamiliarize songs.
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