10/05/2002 3:52 pm ET
Singer's slate fit well for anthem
Emmylou Harris honored to perform at Game 3
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Finding a singer to perform the national anthem at a big event like Game 3 of the Braves-Giants Division Series isn't as easy as you might think. There's no "Star-Spangled" hotline for sports teams, so snagging country star Emmylou Harris for Saturday's game is quite a coup for Giants promotions manager Alison Vidal.
Vidal started her search by scouring concert listings for the Bay Area, even looking as far away as Reno and Las Vegas for acts that might be available.
"For the right person, we'll fly them in from Las Vegas," she said, adding she received regrets from Harry Belafonte and Ray Charles.
Luckily, she didn't have to resort to a Las Vegas flight, as baseball fan Harris will be performing in Golden Gate Park on Sunday and didn't hesitate for the chance to again sing at a postseason game. The five-time Grammy Award winner sang "God Bless America" during Game 2 of last year's World Series at Bank One Ballpark.
"It is a thrill," Harris said after finishing an early-morning rehearsal. "This is such a beautiful ballpark, it's a lovely day and there's just about nothing better than that.
"It's a lot easier to do it at sound check than it is when all the seats are filled and you're hoping you don't forget the words. That was pretty thrilling, actually, to stand out there. I'm just glad I don't have to pitch."
In deference to the home team, Harris refused to name her favorite team, but the Nashville resident has made her allegiance to the visiting Braves well known in the past.
A fan of the game for about 10 years, Harris doesn't have a particular favorite player, citing an affinity for catchers because "they have the hardest job of all."
"We got some good ones in the game today [in the Giants' Benito Santiago and the Braves' Henry Blanco]," said Harris, who watches Ken Burns' "Baseball" series to tide her over in the offseason.
"I became a convert and found that when you're on the road, especially in the summer, it's about the only thing to watch on television that doesn't rot your brain. [I] became quite a fan."
Singing the national anthem allows Harris to combine her passion for baseball with her love of music and a strong sense of patriotism.
"The national anthem, most singers would probably agree, it's not the easiest song in the world to sing, but it's just imbued with so much meaning, and it's an honor to be here to do it," she said. "A lot of us have a renewed sense of country and what being an American means, so I was actually getting a bit of goose bumps out there just rehearsing it, standing out there and looking up at all these seats and knowing they're going to be filled with people."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.