Case: Decades later, ‘Orioles Magic’ song still resonates

From Wesley Case at the Baltimore Sun on October 13, 2014:

Facing a daunting 0-2 deficit in the American League Championship Series, the Orioles will need more than a little luck to make it to the World Series. They need some magic.

For more than three decades, the team’s penchant for comebacks has been captured in a song many fans still sing today. “Orioles Magic (Feel It Happen)” has accompanied the O’s through the heyday of Wild Bill Hagy, through a 1983 World Series championship, through Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,632-consecutive-game streak and through a 14-season playoff drought that ended in 2012. Now fans hope the anthem can help the team achieve the improbable by beating the Kansas City Royals.

Those fans might not know they have the Royals to thank, in a way, for their enduring anthem.

In the late 1970s, a jingle writer from Cleveland named Walter Woodward was hired by Kansas City to write a song called “Royalmania.” It caught on quickly, and teams wanted their own — including the Orioles, who were riding the momentum that won them a trip to the World Series in 1979. Al Harazin, then an Orioles executive, invited Woodward to Baltimore after the 1979 season to discuss the magic that kept occurring at Memorial Stadium, and to see whether he could capture it in a song.

“We came away from that meeting having a sense that something was going on in Baltimore that was awesome,” Woodward, now a University of Connecticut professor and the state historian of Connecticut, said on the phone from his Columbia, Conn., home last week. “Could we get it on music? I loved that challenge.” …

Jacob Pomrenke, a staff member of the Society for American Baseball Research, said there was a trend in the early 1980s of teams adopting theme songs similar to “Orioles Magic,” but nearly all eventually fell out of favor with fans.

“Generally, those songs are short-lived,” Pomrenke said.

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Originally published: October 13, 2014. Last Updated: October 13, 2014.