'Dogs' Having Their Day At The Games Make No Bones About It: The Baha Men Have Sports Fans Barking Along.

Posted: November 07, 2000

Woof! America's pro teams are going to the dogs.

That's, well, the sound of things anyway. Sports fans everywhere - from baseball to hockey, football, and now basketball - are bark, bark, barking to the island/hip-hop beat of the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out."

The pop sports anthem is scoring with fans (and the charts) like Allen Iverson on the courts. Who let the dogs out?/Woof! Woof! Woof! is the latest rallying cry for a team on the move.

Six-year-olds are growling the tune. In the dog-eat-dog world of Wall Street, brokers shout the words when they score big.

And the Baha Men are talking with Super Bowl promoters about performing at that mega-event, according to the band's label.

The stadium exposure, in particular, has landed the once-struggling group a live gig on ESPN's Sports Center as well as appearances in recent days on Good Morning America, 20/20 and The Tonight Show.

The song shows no signs of fading, with the coming Rugrats in Paris movie featuring it on the soundtrack.

"It's a great song," said Mark Wyatt, who plays the recorded music for Philadelphia's pro teams and favors the yelp-inducing tune. "It's just the latest in a long string of interactive fan songs."

Never mind that the song is intended as a lament by women at a party where the men are, well, dogs. "Get back gruffy, mash, scruffy/Get back you flea-infested mongrel," shouts one part.

In the scripted arena of pro sports, the music playlist has become nearly as important as the play on the field. A song that pumps up an audience, gets it dancing and singing, can quickly rise to anthem status.

"It's become sports entertainment," Wyatt said. "People come for a well-rounded experience."

In other words, a chance to bark is a definite bonus.

During the Phillies' season, the song played almost nightly. It is continuing its sway over sportsdom at Phantoms and Sixers games.

The Eagles, though, muzzled the song after the home opener against the Giants. "As you know, they lost," Wyatt said. "The players thought it brought them bad luck." He didn't play the song again until Sunday's game against Dallas, and then only because the Eagles cheerleaders requested it. Given the Birds' win, "maybe the jinx is lifted," Wyatt joked.

That's certainly true for the nine-member band from the Bahamas.

"It's a great Cinderella story," said Steve Greenberg, whose S-Curve label signed the group.

The Baha Men had toiled for years over six other albums. The group, near national heroes back home, did crack the Japanese market, with platinum sellers there, but bombed stateside.

Still, Greenberg was convinced that the band's style of music - the island rhythms of junkanoo, traditionally played on goatskin drums and cowbells, mixed with Western pop - was a winning combination. He went so far as to launch his own label, S-Curve, and sign the band.

"It's just an up-tempo, feel-good chorus," he said of the song's charm. "It suggests being on the march, on the move, on the rally. It's time to take over."

The label smartly marketed the song as a sports anthem.

Who Let the Dogs Out (the song and album have the same name) debuted in the United States in July, climbing into the U.S. pop-chart ether (No. 5 on Billboard's album chart), winning over the pups watching Nickelodeon's music videos, and rocking the major leagues.

Now fans are woofing from coast to coast.

"It's really kind of wacky. It's a little off-center," said Tom Burgoyne, a "friend" of the Phanatic, the wacky, little-off-center mascot of the Phillies who incorporated the song into a hot-dog shtick after the fifth inning.

"Anything that gets people woofing," he said, "is a good thing in the Phanatic's eyes."

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