Dancing On My Own

The trending topic within the global music industry this weekend is NOT Taylor Swift dropping a new album. More on that in a moment…

The Philadelphia Phillies were 22-29 on June 3rd when they fired their Manager, Joe Girardi. From September 15 thru October 1st, their record was 4-11 as they raced to the bottom of the National League Wild Card standings. If not for the Milwaukee Brewers working even harder to miss the playoffs, and if not for the fact Major League Baseball granted two Wild Card playoff berths this season, Philadelphia doesn’t make the post-season.

As well, if not for MLB bringing the designated hitter to the NL this year, Bryce Harper wouldn’t have played much baseball in 2022. He hurt his elbow in April. He broke his thumb in late June. Aside from the job interim Manager Rob Thomson did in letting the younger players play and develop more, as well as getting the entire team to just chill out and take one game at a time, I think Harper’s tenacity to overcome his physical issues and get back into the lineup is another reason for the playoff success they are enjoying now. He set a stellar example off-the-field with his work ethic, and raised the bar higher for his teammates to aspire to.

Of course, there is Harper’s pure talent. The joke has always been Bryce dropped out of high school to turn pro because no one would pitch to him. A Sports Illustrated story at that time referred to him as baseball’s youth version of LeBron James. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the Phillies have themselves a generational talent as their centerpiece, willing the team to winning the National League pennant yesterday.

Mind you, this team is still more beer-league bashers than polished diamonds on the diamond. Their defense is beyond atrocious at times. I close my eyes sometimes when an opponent puts the ball into play. If you get to the Philadelphia bullpen on the right day, the other team might never get to three outs.

Still, here we are. We’ll read and hear a bit in the days ahead about how these Phillies should have never qualified for the post-season. Their opponent in the upcoming World Series, the Houston Astros, still have never been sufficiently punished for their technology cheating during the 2017 season, winning a World Series title they’ve never been asked to give back. I suspect we’ll read and hear about that also.

These two franchises did meet in one of the greatest playoff series I’ve ever seen, the 1980 National League Championship. It was an electric, thrilling five game series which the Phils won 3-2. Four of those games went into extra innings, and that playoff series remains the only one in the history of the game to feature that many extra-inning games. I hope for all baseball fans this World Series turns out to be as exciting as that one was.

As improbable as the Phillies being in the 2022 World Series is, they’ve brought with them a playoff anthem I didn’t see coming either.

In April of 2010, Swedish singer-songwriter Robyn released a song called “Dancing On My Own.” It only peaked at #8 on the UK Singles Chart in its time, but in 2021 Rolling Stone claimed it was the 20th greatest song of all time. Calum Scott, who was auditioning for “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2015, offered up an acoustic version of the song. Scott’s version was later remixed and released by a Dutch DJ named Tiesto.

The original Robyn version apparently became one of the top “crying-in-the-club” songs of our time. From Sam Sanders of NPR in 2019…

“Dancing On My Own starts with one of the most visceral, propelling four-to-the-floor beats of the past few decades. The tempo is perfectly situated right around 118 beats per minute, pretty close to what scientists say is the preferred walking tempo for humans. The one-five-four chord progression is immediately familiar, like it’s been around since the beginning of time. Everything about it is meant to make you smile and move and dance. It could easily be a perfect teen pop song, especially considering Robyn got her start making just that.”

“But Dancing On My Own is more than that. When the lyrics start, you realize she’s tricked you, that it’s all one big bait and switch. This is a breakup song.”

A few players on the Boston Red Sox started grooving to the Scott/Tiesto version a couple of years back with one of the players – Kevin Plawecki – even using it as walk-up music. It became a huge hit with the Red Sox on their way to the playoffs, singing it together in the locker room after wins.

Garrett Stubbs, a catcher for the Phillies and designated DJ, put that version on the team’s locker room playlist earlier this year. It has now become such a hit with the Phillies (who also sing it after games) people are playing it all over the Philadelphia region.

Yes, a breakup song is an acceptable anthem for winning baseball clubs.

But…original music aficionados are offended because the Scott/Tiesto version is being featured once more instead of their all-time classic Robyn version.

In order to make amends to the worldwide music community…and especially to Robyn (even though all versions of her tune must be getting more downloads than Swift right now in Philadelphia)…we’ll close with her version.

Go Phillies. Keep. On. Dancing.


Picture Courtesy Major League Baseball

63 thoughts on “Dancing On My Own”

  1. When the Phillies hired Joe G as skipper, I wrongly imagined HIM taking the team to October. Of course it was an interim manager who did it. Hasn’t that happened a few times for the Phillies in their history?

    I never thought Harper was in the discussion for best players in the game, until now. He’s a five tool gem whose engine never quits. In that 8th inning at bat that won the pennant, I just knew he was going to do something. The way he fought, the patience he showed. Yep, I could feel something big was about to happen.

    Now the Astros. A team that never had to cheat in the first place! They were always immensely talented, but sadly, some people will always attach that nonsense back in 2017 to this organization. But their run is impressive, what with four appearances in six Series now.

    The Phillies are a little reminiscent of the ’93 edition, with some uber talented players peppering a band of pirates. They’re playing with house money but they certainly don’t see it that way.

    This should be good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This should be good. I agree completely the Astros never did need to cheat, as they built their team from the ground up in an impressive fashion. I think the whole tech thing makes me even madder because of that fact. They will be difficult to beat this year. I remember the day Bryce got signed by the Phillies, and I was so relieved to know not only did they back the armored trucks up to his door, it put the franchise in a position where they’d have to spend even more money to surround him with other talent. And that they did.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s like with Barry Bonds. I saw him play early in his career when he was with the Pirates, and then I saw him again later on when he was in San Fran.

        (Quick funny. Me and a friend went to Philly when Bonds came to town. I called Howard Eskin who was telling fans to get up and walk out when Bonds came to the plate. I told him that he was encouraging a safety hazard, Brilliant! Plus, Bonds was the ONE Giant I actually wanted to see play! He hung up on me but not before we got a call from my friend’s dad, who was laughing his ass off as he had listened to the exchange.)

        Bryce Harper is the five tool superstar who somehow has maintained a fringe status relative to Trout, Ohtani, Betts, et al. But he’s killing it now and all those guys are home, so there’s that.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. I talked to him several times over the years, disguising myself as everyone from Johnny from Ridley Park to Richie from Kensington. It always ended in him hanging up on me.

            Whether you love him or loathe him (I’m talking to you Senators fans) you cannot deny his engine. He doesn’t slack, ever.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. The Phillies seem like one of those teams of destiny, but man, Houston is so loaded with pitching it’s almost unfair. But like you, I don’t think Houston ever got the punishment they deserved, and I’m pulling hard for Philly (even though they swept my Cards out of the playoffs what seems like years ago).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Gotta admit, Philly sports teams are overperforming this year. Congrats! If it can’t be my Brewers (you’re not wrong about their apparent disdain for post-season success), I hope the Phillies send the Astros packing sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. As an avowed “not interested one iota in sports” type of person I won’t be tuned in. However I do know enough about local sports that in light of the fact that the Astros shut out our Seattle Mariners I say Go Phillies!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have to say between you and Marc I am getting quite the baseball lessons! Most of it goes way over my head but I do enjoy learning.

    And while Robyn’s version is great, I kinda prefer Callum’s 😉 Actually, I love that they are distinct. They each have their merits!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As it turns out, apparently a number of musicians have covered her song. I do agree both Calum’s and Robyn’s versions are very distinct and have their own charms. And as for baseball lessons, we’ll keep ’em coming I’m sure!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Fantastic post! I’m not much of a sports guy, but I love how your linked MLB and pop dance diva Robyn (who should’ve been a bigger star). Well done!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Let me be really clear about this: Any song that can be classified as techno and does not involve real instruments will never, ever be on my list of top music. If it belongs on the dance floor, it belongs in the trash. There. I added my two cents….or $1.29 with Bidenflation.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lulu: “Our Dada says he has tried listening to that Robyn person but it wasn’t really his style.”
    Charlee: “I’m surprised. I thought he liked just about anything.”
    Lulu: “No no, you’re thinking of movies, not music.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Terrific post, Bruce. As a Red Sox fan who has not really followed the playoffs this year due to their disastrous season, getting caught up was a pleasure thanks to your post. I had no idea the Phillies were in the toilet mid-season and destined to not even make the playoffs. Always loved watching the Phillies (hubby is from PA), especially Pete Rose, “Charlie Hustle.” Oh, what a great song!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right…your hubby is from York, yes? That part of PA these days seems to be all over the place with rooting interests. Eagles, Steelers, Ravens for football and Orioles, Phillies for baseball. The Red Sox will be back in the mix soon, Jennie!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, he’s from York. Spot on about your observations. Yes, they’re all over place with who they root for. The Zappe / Jones Patriots quarterbacks have been the big news here. I do love sports. I know the Red Sox will be back in the mix. I love Alex Cora, but he’ll probably loose his job. So, what happened to the team this year under him that fell apart? That’s just a comment. Best to you, Bruce.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Fun post. I grew up in southern NJ, so the Phillies were a big part of our sports news. However, I never became a big baseball fan, but I keep that to myself since I live in the Boston area now, and anyone who doesn’t scream RED SOX every day is a traitor. 🙂 Songs and sports are important to each other. This one is new to me (what can I say? I’m behind the times and the beat) but thanks for educating me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good luck to your Phillies, Bruce, dancing to many millions on the World Series stage staring tonight. It is pretty cool indeed that they got to the Series as the third wild card team, beating another wild card team, the Padres, who of course beat my wild card team, the Mets.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey Bruce, I’m so happy to see your Phillies in the World Series. They have such a great hitting lineup. I’m proud to say I predicted their 87-75 record exactly in my Preseason Preview. However, I didn’t quite see this NL Pennant so soon. I was thinking more like ’23 or ’24.

    I love Harper so I hope it all works out against the “evil” Astros. Good luck tonight!


    Liked by 1 person

  13. I know that the World Series is being played because it was on the TV at the restaurant/bar we went to last night. I’ve never heard of the woman or song in the video. She’s a stalker…? And her grammar [“I know where you at”] is like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. I may not be the intended audience for either of these things– and that’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of Philadelphia natives are playing “catch-up” learning the complete background on this song. It’s definitely music designed for the dance clubs. I don’t want to disparage the song any because the Phillies keep on winning and one can become superstitious about these things.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Wonderful recap of the season and there were many moments during the Wild Card race when I was afraid they were not going to make it into the postseason. I’ve been following Harper since he turned pro and quickly became a Phillies fan when he joined the team. Love the roster this season and am thankful for the new rules, but so far I’ve been having a difficult time adding this song to my playlists no matter how exciting the playoffs have been. I hope there is great weather there this week for more wonderful baseball in what has been fabulous October baseball!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been great October baseball, not just with the Phils. The weather forecast for the next three games has been all over the place (what else is new?) but while I think rain will be around a bit Mon. and Tues. it doesn’t sound like it will disrupt play. Here’ hoping for three more wins!

      Liked by 1 person

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