Sep 20, 2023 - Sports

Cubs organist takes fans behind the scenes

Photo of a man posing for a camera in front of an organ at a ballpark

Cubs organist John Benedeck at Wrigley. Photo: Jeremiah Paprocki , courtesy of Benedeck

Wrigley Field organist John Benedeck is showing fans how he provides the soundtrack for Chicago Cubs home games.

What's happening: Benedeck and fellow organist Josh Langhoff have been recording their game-time performances and posting them on social media.

Why it matters: The Cubs are a team of beloved traditions, and the organist helps connect fans to the action, including accompanying the singalong of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Flashback: During his first season in 2019, Benedeck recorded himself playing "Never Gonna Give You Up" by the inimitable Rick Astley and posted it to TikTok. It was a viral hit.

  • Since then, posting performances has become part of Benedeck's routine.

We asked Benedeck about the most requested and wackiest song choices he's received over the years:

  • Most requested song he can't play: "Three Blind Mice" after a bad call by the umpire. (He says playing that is a good way to get fired.)
  • Crowd favorites: "Centerfield" by John Fogerty, "As It Was" by Harry Styles, "Down on the Corner" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • Clever riffs: "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer when pitching coach Tommy Hottovy heads to the mound is one Benedeck stole from co-organist Langhoff. Benedeck used to play the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars when former Cardinal Harrison Bader was at bat.
  • New favorite: "Mess Around" by Ray Charles, which Benedeck came up with while watching John Candy's iconic performance in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

What they're saying: "A lot of parks have brought back the organist, because there is a value to being able to play something off the cuff that you couldn't just look up on YouTube," Benedeck points out.

What's next: Hear Benedeck on Wednesday night when the Cubbies play at home against the Pirates — even if you're not at Wrigley.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Harrison Bader used to play for the Cardinals (not the Cubs).

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