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World Series 2001
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10/30/2001 12:45 PM ET
Emmylou Harris: This chick digs baseball
By Heather Reader
MLB.com
Left Field It would take a lot to follow up Vanessa Williams's red leather pants and her rendition of "God Bless America" from Game 1, but somehow, the Diamondbacks found a match with the sweet sound of Emmylou Harris.

"I found out Thursday," Harris said. "I was already en route. I had just arrived in the San Francisco airport and Ken (her manger) asked me if I'd like to do it, and I didnt really have to think about it."

Harris, dressed in a lovely violet shantung shirt highlighting her silver hair, had to improvise a bit in her first shot at singing "God Bless America." Appearing along the third base line in front of the Diamondbacks dugout, Harris had to hold the unstable microphone with one hand, rendering any sort of guitar accompaniment impossible. Let's see Britney Spears handle that one. Wait, she doesnt play the guitar.

"It's much more nerve wracking, singing in front of a baseball crowd instead of a concert crowd. It's terrifying," Harris said. "You've only got one chance at one song, and you better not screw it up."

A fan of the national pastime for the last 11 years, the 54-year-old who has won almost as many Grammys as the Yankees have championships, Harris returned to her seat along the left-field line in time on Sunday to see Matt Williams hit a three-run jack in the bottom of the seventh. With her frosted pink mouth gaping open, she watched from the moment the ball jumped off the third baseman's bat until it was safely in the hands of a fan.

Normally an Atlanta Braves fan, Harris found she could not root against the Senior Circuit.

"I'm a National League girl, so its the Diamondbacks all the way," Harris said. "We live in Nashville, and (Atlanta) is kind of the closest team and plus, when you're traveling around all over the place all the time, baseball fans have two options. You can either get TBS and the Braves or WGN and the Cubs, and I don't have enough soul to be a Cubs fan. I wish I did."

Harris is clearly no bandwagon-jumping baseball fan. When she's not touring, she heads to the Pittsburgh Pirates' Triple-A Nashville affiliate to get her fix. "It's a really neat ballpark," she said. She also finds time to squeeze in big league games when she's on the road.

"There's just something about Wrigley Field and Fenway Park that I love," Harris said. "They are filled with tradition, memories and stories. But I really like what they are trying to do with the new parks, like SAFECO and Camden Yards. They are really beautiful and fan friendly, and thank goodness they brought back the natural grass. I think that's really important. I don't really understand why (artificial turf) was ever a good idea."

Growing up on Washington Senators games ("I'm showing my age") when her Marine Corp dad was stationed in Quantico, Va., Harris has always appreciated the under-appreciated.

"I tend to be a fan of catchers, because I think they have the hardest gigs. Javy Lopez is one of my favorites," Harris said. "Sammy Sosa, you have to love him. I was at Wrigley Field this summer, and I saw him hit a home run on an absolutely perfect day for baseball in a game that the Cubs actually won."

Don't take that to mean, though, that this is one chick that only digs the long ball.

"It's exciting, the home runs and all, but good defense to me is the lifeblood of baseball," Harris said.

Heather Reader is covering the World Series for MLB.com. She shuns Speedos.