10/24/2004 11:42 PM ET
Going to Fenway Park in my mind
Taylor continues trend of local national anthem singers
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
|James Taylor performs the national anthem before Game 2 of the World Series on Sunday night. (Brita Meng Outzen/MLB.com)
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BOSTON -- James Taylor retreated back to the Green Room at Fenway Park following his singing of the national anthem with a smile on his face and proclaimed, "Play Ball!"
Taylor, born in Boston but raised in North Carolina, has sung anthems before, but never before a World Series game. In those terms, his performance prior to Game 2 Sunday night was unique to anything he's done during his long and legendary singing career.
"It goes by real fast, but there's nothing like it," he said.
Asked if it's true that the anthem is one of the hardest songs to sing, Taylor agreed.
"It's pretty rangy," he said. "You need to sort of get the low note as low as you can get it so you can live with the high note, and hit the high note."
Like most Bostonians, Taylor has been riveted by the postseason so far, even though the American League Championship Series wiped him out.
"The entire series was an amazing roller-coaster ride," he said. "It had so many heroic moments, historic sports moments. It was enough to kill a dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan. There ought to be a surgeon general's warning before they watch these games."
On the topic of the famed Red Sox curse, Taylor believes there is some psychological link between the Red Sox and Yankees but was proud his hometown team prevailed in the ALCS.
"I had the strong sense on Wednesday night that the Red Sox had somehow survived that storm of that crisis," he said. "They had looked it in the face, had triumphed over it and had just come out so strong.
"It was very inspiring, much more than I ever thought the game of baseball to be. Everybody was swept up in it."
Taylor is one of several Boston legends who participated in pregame ceremonies during the World Series festivities. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by a trio of Red Sox teammates from the 1946 World Series team: Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky.
Five-time Grammy Award winner Donna Summer, a native of the Mission Hill section of Boston, was on hand to sing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.
And a slew of celebrities were peppered throughout the stands. Boston's most vocal Red Sox fan, Ben Affleck, was back for another night of baseball from his prime seats next to the Red Sox's dugout. Tom Hanks, whose character Jimmy Dugan in the movie A League of Their Own is said to have been loosely based on former Red Sox infielder Jimmie Foxx, weathered the mid-40 degree temperatures and sat in the seats atop the Green Monster in left field.
Hanks was joined by Saturday Night Live star Jimmy Fallon, whose new film, Fever Pitch, is about a man obsessed with the Red Sox. Fallon and Drew Barrymore filmed several scenes at Fenway Park this past summer.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.