Nothing about June 22, 2000 suggested infamy. But, in fact, that day would become one of the most important dates in Mariners history. Because that was the day someone let the dogs out.
Nothing about June 22, 2000 suggested infamy. But, in fact, that day would become one of the most important dates in Mariners history.
Because that was the day someone let the dogs out, the day the Mariners adopted a song that would appear on a “worst songs of the ’90s” list even though it debuted in 2000.
Few songs have aged as poorly as “Who Let the Dogs Out,” which is only still played by minor-league teams or when real dogs are at the park. But for a brief summer it was played 10,000 times at Safeco Field, and it was so unironically popular that the band performed in center field.
About the song
“Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men
Released: July 26, 2000.
Key lyric: Who let the dogs out, woof, woof, woof woof
Chart: Peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 list.
Award: Best Dance Recording, 2001 Grammys
Notable: Used in the movie, “Rugrats in Paris”
“We were sold out every day,” said Paul Abbott, a pitcher on that team. “There were 48,000 people singing ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ whenever that came on. It took on a life of its own. It was our theme song.”
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It started with Gregg Greene, a team employee in charge of music. The Mariners subscribed to a promo service that sent things called CDs, which could apparently be played as a way to hear new music. In June 2000, Greene played the pop CD and found a delightfully hilarious song by an unknown group from the Bahamas called, creatively, the Baha Men.
He loved it.
At the same time, backup catcher Joe Oliver did not have a walk-up song. Believe it or not, there was a time when players did not carefully pick music, leaving their fate in the hands of team employees.
Someone like Gregg Greene.
On June 22, 2000, Oliver made the short walk from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box. It was a milestone day for Oliver: He was 34 years old and playing in his 1,000th major-league game — a game, it turns out, that would start a revolution.
As he stepped to the plate, music started to play. Oliver did not have a walk-up song, and he did not care for much other than country. He was old school. He’d been around long enough to be teammates with Ken Griffey Jr. on the Mariners and Ken Griffey Sr. on the Reds.
But this … this he had to admit was funny. And catchy.
He walked his first time up. The song played again. He singled and drove in a run. Once more the song blared. His final at-bat, he doubled to right field.
This being the weirdly superstitious game of baseball, the song stayed. A few games later, Oliver got two more hits, solidifying the song’s importance for his personal success.
Then the story took a dramatic twist.
The 2000 Mariners won 91 games. Edgar Martinez drove in 145 runs. A reserved 41-year-old outfielder named Rickey Henderson batted leadoff, including on June 22. Raul Ibanez was a 28-year-old role player.
But the team’s star was a 24-year-old shortstop in the final year of his contract: Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod hit 41 home runs and finished third in the MVP race that season before signing with the Texas Rangers.
One day in 2000, Greene, the music man, received a call from the clubhouse. Apparently, Rodriguez also wanted “Who Let the Dogs Out.”
To which Greene replied, “Are you sure?”
Skeptical, Greene did something he rarely did: He went to ask the player himself. Greene found A-Rod finishing up an interview and asked if he really, truly wanted to hear “Who Let The Dogs Out” every time he batted.
He did. He thought it sounded like Miami.
So it was decided, then and there, that A-Rod would also use the song. This was news to Oliver.
“I remember him going up to the plate one time, and all of a sudden it was playing for him,” Oliver said. “I just looked at a couple of the guys I was sitting by and said: ‘Huh, that’s interesting. My walk-up song just got stolen.’”
The Mariners played the song in the clubhouse after wins. The band performed in center field and proclaimed their loyalty to the Mariners — until the Mets adopted the song and asked them to perform at the World Series.
Soon the song was everywhere, all the time, as if sent here from far away to test the collective sanity of mankind.
The 2000 Mariners lost to the Yankees in six games in the ALCS. That team quickly became overshadowed in 2001 by the 116-win group, which mercifully retired the song. But the men involved in letting out the dogs cannot so easily escape the song.
Joe Oliver is now a minor-league manager in the Red Sox organization, and at a previous gig, he used to hear the song every time a guy would throw Frisbees to his dog.
“It was a true theme song for me,” he said, “and it’s a season I’ll never forget.”
These days he’s reminded of his place in Mariners’ lore thanks to his pitching coach, Paul Abbott.
“I tell him, ‘A-Rod ripped off your walk-up song and took it over,’” Abbott said, laughing. “Like I said, it was a catchy tune. And it was so catchy that two guys could use it as a walk-up song on the same team.”
Greene still works for the Mariners, although he is no longer in charge of music. Still to this day he gets introduced by way of the 2000 season and the song once named the worst ever.
“I’ve joked with my friends that I think that’s going to probably be on my tombstone,” Greene said. “Here lies Gregg Greene. He let the dogs out.”
|In a poll conducted in 2007 by Rolling Stone to identify the 20 most annoying songs, ”“Who Let the Dogs Out” ranked third.|
|1. “My Humps”||Black Eyed Peas|
|2. “Macarena”||Los Del Rio|
|3. “Who Let The Dogs Out”||Baha Men|
|4. “My Heart Will Go On”||Celine Dion|
|6. “Mambo No. 5”||Lou Bega|
|7. “You’re Beautiful”||James Blunt|
|8. “Wannabe”||Spice Girls|
|9. “The Thong Song”||Sisqo|
|11. “Barbie Girl”||Aqua|
|13. “Cotton-Eyed Joe”||Rednex|
|14. “Blue”||Eiffel 65|
|15. “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”||Crash Test Dummies|
|16.“I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”||Meatloaf|
|17. “Bye, Bye, Bye”||‘NSYNC|
|18. “Livin’ La Vida Loca”||Ricky Martin|
|19. “Closing Time”||Semisonic|
|20. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”||Wham!|