What do a-ha and baseball have in common?

An outfielder named Michael Morse who plays for the Washington Nationals.

Let’s back up a bit – 79 years, in fact. On October 7, 1933, the Washington Senators hosted game five of the World Series, and lost to the New York Giants. That was the last time Washington, D.C. hosted a post-season baseball game; 28 years later the Senators moved to Minnesota, and there was another franchise in the city for about a decade – and then Washington was without a baseball team for 33 years. The Washington Nationals arrived in 2005, to a town that had been eagerly waiting for a team it could embrace.

Fast forward to present day, and the Washington Nationals are as we speak playing their fifth post-season game – their third at home in Washington, D.C. – and the ‘Nationals fever’ that has been building all season has reached new heights.

One part of this season’s excitement has built up around an unlikely team ‘battle cry’: a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’. Earlier in the year, Morse chose this song as his at bat music, and when he steps up to bat late in the game, the song plays in the stadium, and the fans sing along with gusto. The crowd energy around the song has become known throughout the league; leading up to the playoffs, USC site NeonTommy.com said:

It’s going to be real interesting to see what the national media makes of the D.C. Faithful. (Be sure to listen for their rendition of the chorus of a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ when Michael Morse comes to the plate.)

The story also reached San Antonio, and inspired this writer to go back into the newspaper archives and dig up the review of a-ha’s 1986 concert in San Antonio.

A couple of weeks ago, when the Nationals playoff berth was clinched, Washington Post reporter Chris Richards reached out to a-ha to let them know about this phenomenon and ask what they thought about it. Read this article from earlier this week to find out what Magne and Morten had to say.

On Wednesday night, the Nationals played their first home post-season game against the St. Louis Cardinals:

The 45,017 who crammed themselves into Nationals Park on a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, though, could yell, scream and sing along to ‘Take on Me’ when Michael Morse stepped to the plate until their vocal chords were damaged.

Although they didn’t win Wednesday’s game, the Nationals were victorious on Thursday night, and you can hear the crowd singing ‘Take on Me’ in this highlight clip from DC Sports Nexus:

And here is another clip, from another part of the ballpark:

As we speak, the Nationals and Cardinals are tied in the ninth inning, and the winner of this game will move on to the next round of the playoffs. You can follow the excitement via the Nationals Twitter feed or with hashtag #NATITUDE.

EDIT: Unfortunately, the Nationals did not win the game tonight, but it was a great season for them! Congratulations to the Washington Nationals!

Related Links:

‘Take On Me’ becomes a Nationals battle cry

Nats’ “Take on Me” fans aren’t afraid to take on the high notes

Michael Morse and A-ha strike up Twitter friendship

A look at some of Nationals Park’s quirks

An encore performance of Michael Morse singing “Take on Me”

‘Take On Me’ band visits S.A. in 1986

2012 Washington Nationals Playoff Preview Q&A

Nationals Clinch Division as D.C. Gets Ready for First Playoff Appearance Since 1933

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I’d like to be there!!! That’s amazing! Love u all.


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