Four seasons ago, former Nats radio producer Adam Gracia decided the broadcast needed a signature song to mark a Nationals victory. He figured he would try several different tunes and see which one worked best.
The first song he chose was Journey’s “Separate Ways.” And the first time he played it, he heard Dave Jageler continuing to sing along after the broadcast went off the air.
“That was how I knew it was the one,” Gracia, now a CBS Sports Radio producer, wrote in an e-mail. “People loved hearing Journey after the games.”
So Gracia began playing that same tune after every Nats win, home and away. The song caught on among loyal radio listeners, at least some of whom looked forward to the sweet sounds of victory rock ‘n’ roll. “Separate Ways” became a recognizable part of the broadcast, like the spelling-bee bell that dings when Jageler or Charlie Slowes spells out a tricky name. (That was another one of Gracia’s ideas.) A win meant it was “time for some Journey.”
But Journey, of course, is a San Francisco band. Lead singer Steve Perry was a notable Giants booster during the 2014 World Series. And Perry even led the crowd in a round of “Don’t Stop Believin'” when the Nats visited San Francisco during the NLDS.
So when the Nats were playing the Giants at home in early July, some team officials heard the victory anthem on the radio and wondered why a D.C. team was using music from a classically San Franciscan band to celebrate a Washington win.
And thus, early this summer, the radio broadcast switched from California’s Journey to a group with local roots: the Foo Fighters. After experimenting with a couple of songs, including “My Hero,” the radio broadcast began using “Times Like These” after wins, a switch noticed by at least some fans.
Ultimately, of course, many of the fans that grew to like hearing Journey after a victory will almost certainly grow to like hearing Foo Fighters after a victory. And there aren’t any other MLB teams likely to recruit Dave Grohl during a playoff push. He is fully and safely ours.
So that’s the story of how the Nats radio broadcast started, and then stopped, using Journey’s “Separate Ways” to celebrate victories.
In other super important Nats news, a reader told me he had trouble finding a Coors product in the stadium last week. The Nats told me that a brewery issue outside their control has caused Nats Park to run out of Coors Banquet, but there is still Coors Light in the park.
Also, there’s plenty of bottled water.