The death of Aretha Franklin on Thursday has spurred an outpouring of love and tributes for the legendary Queen of Soul. She wasn’t just a singer, but a musician, a composer, a businesswoman, an activist and that’s only a few out of a very long list. And while she graced baseball with her glorious renditions of the national anthem several times, it’s hard to think of a way for baseball teams to pay tribute to such an icon, since she really had nothing to do with baseball at all.
But the Detroit Tigers found a way. Franklin made her home in Detroit, and the Tigers did her proud. They incorporated some of Aretha’s greatest hits into their game notes, and even kept each one thematically appropriate for the section.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 16, 2018
As Jason Beck, MLB.com’s Tigers beat writer, said in his tweet, everyone in the Tigers’ PR department outdid themselves on this. They paid tribute to the Queen of Soul without even mentioning her name! Here are a few highlights:
“You Send Me” heads a section about putting pitcher Artie Lewicki on the disabled list.
“Rock Steady” is about the consistency of Nick Castellanos.
“Respect” leads the section about Victor Martinez’s recent hot streak.
“Until You Come Back to Me” is the title they used for a section about Daniel Norris’ rehab start.
The best one? “It Hurts Like Hell” for the section about players on the disabled list.
It’s such a sweet yet smart way to pay tribute to a music legend and a Detroit legend. But there is one other thing they could have done, though. They could have cued up this video to play during the seventh-inning stretch.
In the early 1990s, Aretha Franklin did a TV promo with Tigers players, and blessed the world with her own version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It remains unparalleled to this day.
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