The death of international rock superstar Tina Turner on Wednesday at age 83 immediately sparked memories from music fans worldwide, and it resonated at Sahlen Field as well.
NEW YORK — Tina Turner, the unstoppable singer and stage performer who teamed with husband Ike Turner for a dynamic run of hit records and liv…
That's because Turner's 1989 classic "The Best" has been played at the ballpark since the early '90s after the final out of every Buffalo Bisons victory. It's rare any team keeps a song at a specific spot of its game presentation that long, but the Herd has never felt the need to deviate.
Based on the Bisons' home record since the early '90s, it's likely the key part of the chorus ("You're simply the best/Better than all the rest/Better than anyone/Anyone I've ever met") has been played more than 1,200 times at the downtown park.
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"Our sound person the early years of the ballpark (Dave Perry) played it one day after a game and I remember thinking it was great," said Rich Baseball Operations president Mike Buczkowski, who has been with the team since the ballpark opened in 1988. "We'd lose, he'd play a mundane song. We won, we kept it going and it just stuck."
Why is the song so effective?
"It boils down to three words," Buczkowski said. " 'Simply the best' says it in three words. For a long time, players have been singing it coming off the field, coming into the clubhouse, and new players learn it's going to be played when we win."
When the Bisons won their first championship of their modern era in 1997 in Des Moines, Iowa, they returned home for a celebration at the ballpark the next day. As players were clearing their lockers and leaving the clubhouse for final time, a whiteboard regularly used to post daily schedules had red letters saying "Simply The Best!" on it.
When the Herd won a league championship for the only time in ballpark history by beating Richmond in 2004, the club first played the Turner song and then followed it with Queen's "We are the Champions."
"I remember we talked about that ahead of time," Buczkowski said. "I said we should do what we always do and that was play Tina Turner and then go to whatever else we wanted to do. It just fits and it's a great song that's been part of our games for a long time."