One of the weirdest musical phenomena that I know of is the symbiotic relationship between really bad music, mostly classic rock schlock, played at maximum volume, and professional sporting events. I mean have you ever been to an NFL game where you didn’t hear Ozzy Osbourne’s "Crazy Train"? And let's not even discuss the NBA where the prospect of being exposed to more Kelly Clarkson or the All American Rejects keeps me from even thinking of attending.

I'm bringing this up, not only because it's annoying as hell but also because of two recent events. First, is word that it looks as though Prince may be the performer in next year's Super Bowl halftime show. Not Aerosmith or the Stones out there dragging their wealthy carcasses through the motions, lamely collecting their cash. No, this would be the purple one who if a recent performance at the Grammies is any indication, and despite his newfound Jehovah Witness faith, can still rock the house. Yes, truly, the Prince JW thing is indescribably strange. It's parallel dimension stuff. Prince, in a religion other than his own? Okay, whatever, but I still do not get it. At least it's not Scientology.

The other reason I bring up the fact that sports franchises have incredibly bad taste in music is because having just been to see my beloved and much beleaguered Pittsburgh Pirates—Bobby Clemente, we hardly knew yeI was surprised to find hope amongst the sports obsessed hordes. When fans in the gorgeous but half–filled PNC Park were asked to vote with their hands between, "Ice Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice, "Ain’t No Other Man," by Pittsburgher Christina Aguilera and "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, the applause was loudest for Cash. Yeah, I know that everything is coming up Cash these days thanks to the film and Sony's seemingly bottomless trove of new material, and considering the competition in this little runoff, Cash was almost a sure thing. Vanilla Ice? They couldn't come up with something a little more compelling than THE one hit wonder of all time? "Take Me out to the Ballgame" sounds like Beethoven's Ninth compared to that chunk of early Nineties excess. Suffice it to say that it weren't really a fair fight. Still, it's a hopeful sign. And Christina actually drew a round of boos.

To make sure I had the facts straight, I visited the Wikipedia page on Vanilla Ice (Rob Van Winkle) where I found this gem that I'd read before but forgotten:

"She would call me at strange hours, 'Are you in bed with another girl?' At 6 in the morning, man, I'm like, 'I'm fucking sleeping all alone. What the fuck? Why do you keep doing this?'" "But is she a sexual animal?" "Nah, she's like every normal girl, man. She's very sexy, she's hot, she's romantic. She's got a great body for her age (35)."

He is, of course, speaking, in a 1994 USA Today interview, about Madonna, who's another constant musical presence, via, "Holiday," at most professional sporting events. Love how they added her age in parens.

Those in charge of music at pro teams are like PD's at radio. No one wants to take a chance. C'mon, be different. Play an album cut. There's so much music out there why huddle around the same handful of bad tunes? What, Ozzy needs the royalties? Go ahead play a Yo La Tengo cut. Give B&S a try. Hell, if it's gotta be Journey, then dig into a record and find something other than the obvious singles. Oh wait, we're talking about Journey here aren't we?

The baseball Pirates have benefited immeasurably from that current buccaneer sensation, Captain Jack Sparrow, as music from both the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Klaus Badelt's hyper–symphonic swirl from the Black Pearl and Hans Zimmer's equally blockbuster score from Dead Man's Chest, is what one now hears, at an astonishing levels of volume and richness, just before the first pitch is thrown. Like the rest of the park, the P.A. at PNC is first class. With the Pirates playing as poorly as they are, these raging seas soundtracks are an appropriate backdrop for a fan base on the verge of giving new meaning to the term, mutiny