The Nationals’ Anthem

April 1, 2013

The Nationals’ drum line performs outside of the stadium before the start of the Opening Day game at Nationals Park on Monday, April 1, 2013.

The Nats had plenty of a-ha moments last year. Every time Michael Morse would step up to the plate with “Take On Me” playing over the loudspeaker, Nationals Park would erupt in a stadium-wide singalong. With Morse now playing for the Mariners, what song is going to fill the void?

“Everyone is trying to find [a song to fill that role],” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “Obviously, it’s really cool when you can get the fans behind you for every at-bat.”

One thing is for sure, though: No Nats player is planning on making “Take On Me” his own.

“When it comes to walk-up songs, it’s like calling dibs,” said relief pitcher Drew Storen, who contemplated using a remake of “In the Air Tonight” but refrained because the original was already being used by a teammate. “I wouldn’t do that because you don’t go on someone’s song turf.”

Storen instead decided to go with “Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch.

“I’m a huge classic rock fan, but it’s really tough to go straight classic rock out of the ’pen,” he said. “When you come out of the bullpen, you’ve got to have a little spice to your song. … For us, it’s not like we’re a hitter that goes up there four times a day. We’re out there maybe once a day,” so it’s key to have a song fans can identify with you.

“Take On Me” may be off limits for the players, but Storen has a suggestion to keep the classic a-ha ’80s tune alive in Nats Park.

“I still think they should do ‘Take On Me’ after the seventh-inning stretch. Turn it into our own version of what they do in Boston,” he said, referring to how “Sweet Caroline” is played in the middle of the eighth inning at Fenway Park. “That was always fun for us to hear the crowd get into it.”

Every player goes about selecting his walk-up music differently — some taking the task more seriously than others.

Desmond picked two Christian rap songs to “put a better message out there for the kids.”

Outfielder Bryce Harper made his announcement last week on Twitter — a message that was retweeted 466 times — going with “Flower (Bring Sally Up)” by Moby, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC.

Only time will tell if there’s a song that will be able to replace “Take On Me.” But pitcher Ross Detwiler thinks he knows which teammate has the best chance of finding a new fan-favorite tune.

“Probably anything Bryce plays would definitely get [the fans] going,” he said. “He needs to go ‘Call Me Maybe,’ and they’ll just go nuts.”

New for Nats Fans

Bill Is in the Race: The Presidents Race has a new entry. In January, the Nationals announced William Howard Taft would be the fifth member in the fourth-inning competition. Bill, a highly criticized selection, will make his debut today.

Bars Near the Park: There are finally some places near Nats Park for fans looking for something to eat or drink before or after the game. Gordon Biersch and Park Tavern both plan to be open today, and more restaurants are aiming to open some time this summer.

Heady Promotions: The first 20,000 fans today get an Opening Day cap, but the biggest promotional news this offseason was the bobblehead giveaways: Gio Gonzalez (April 13), Bryce Harper (June 23) and Davey Johnson (July 20).

“Ultimate Ballpark Access”: Using the same technology as Metro’s SmarTrip cards, season ticket holders can use “Ultimate Ballpark Access” cards to enter games at unmanned turnstiles and as debit cards at Nats Park retail and concession stands — earning discounts and giveaways along the way.

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