Billy Joel is set to sing the national anthem to open World Series Game Three Friday night at Citi Field, but that won't be the last you'll hear of Joel during the game.
The Mets have been using Joel's classic "Piano Man" as a crowd sing-along during the middle of the 8th inning this season and that new tradition will continue through the World Series.
"Billy Joel's music is part of the soundtrack of every New Yorker's life," said David Newman, the Mets' senior vice president of marketing and communications. "He's an iconic New Yorker. We wanted him to be part of our playlist during the games."
Joel and the Mets have had a good relationship for years, including his "Last Play at Shea" shows which were the final concerts at the historic stadium in 2008. Before the season, the Mets reached out to Dennis Arfa, Artist Group International CEO and Joel's agent since 1976, to ask if they could use Joel's music regularly during the games.
"We gave it a try," Newman said. "We wanted something that would work organically."
Using "Piano Man," which is part of the cultural fabric of New York at this point, made the most sense. "The response has been terrific," Newman said. "When we've been winning in the eighth inning, people have been really getting into it. Even when we're losing, people are singing the song."
For his part, Joel has been rooting the team on all season, even playing "Meet the Mets" during his concerts at Madison Square Garden to celebrate their playoff wins. When the team was clinching its first World Series berth since 2000, Joel even showed bits of the game on his stage screens and offered score updates.
Newman says "Piano Man" will be part of the eighth inning break at this year's World Series home games. "The song has been part of what has been a magical season for us," he said.
And the Mets faithful are certainly hoping that by the time the eighth inning rolls around Friday night that the team will once again have everyone in the mood for a melody and feeling alright.