Pearl Jam will be the soundtrack to this year's World Series. As Billboard reports, Seattle's living grunge legends have licensed 48 songs — including all 12 from their newly streaming Lightning Bolt — to Fox Sports for the network's coverage of Major League Baseball's championship battle, running October 23 to 31. The selections hail from across the band's catalog, touching on every one of their studio albums except 2002's Riot Act, which took aim at President George W. Bush and "hollow patriotism." Weird that Fox wasn't on board with that.
Eddie Vedder and the gang have been known not only for a left-leaning worldview over the years, but also for eschewing corporate team-ups. Their manager Kelly Curtis told Billboard this was a natural fit: "There was a period of time when we didn't license much music, but for the past many years, we consider licensing requests using the same criteria we do for everything else: Do we like it? Would the fans like it? Does it provide a different forum for fans to hear the music? Is it something we can get behind? The band loves baseball, so this one was a no-brainer."
That much is certainly true. Pearl Jam played Chicago's Wrigley Field (against inclement weather) back in July, and Vedder is apparently a lifelong Cubs fan. Meanwhile, back in June, guitarist Mike McReady kicked off a Seattle Mariners game (against Vedder's Cubs, in fact) by shredding the national anthem at Washington's Safeco Field. Billboard explains that Vedder has also cultivated a strong friendship with announcer Joe Buck, and that Buck will provide much of the voiceover work that accompanies the band's music during the programming.
The deal is extensive. Fox will be using songs like "Even Flow," "Animal," "Better Man," "Black," and "Blood" in their lead-in teasers to games, in their bumpers in and out of commercial breaks, during gameplay montages, and in other promotions to be determined. Network CP Janine Kerr summed up Fox's side of the story pretty neatly: "[Pearl Jam] said, 'What songs would you want?' I said, 'How many can I have?' So we gave them a wish list and they said 'yes' to all." So at long last, we'll be able to answer the timeless question, "What the Fox Say?"
It goes a little something like this: