The Rangers engineered a rapid turnaround this season, improving from 68 wins in 2022 to 90 in 2023. After starting the postseason on a tear, can rock band Creed take Texas higher?
Bruce Bochy’s team has sought inspiration from a band that made its name more than two decades ago, and it’s hard to argue with the results. The Rangers swept the Rays in their Wild Card Series and kept the momentum going by sweeping the Orioles in the ALDS.
By winning Game 1 of the ALCS in Houston, the Rangers gave themselves a real chance at their first World Series appearance since 2011, where a Phillies team also motivated by music lingers as a potential opponent.
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Here’s a look at why the Rangers are listening to Creed in the clubhouse, as well as where else Creed has become involved in sports.
How Creed became Rangers’ unofficial soundtrack
Rangers pitcher Andrew Heaney casually mentioned that the team was listening to Creed in an interview with radio broadcaster Jared Sandler before Game 2 of their ALDS series against the Orioles, explaining that Texas overcame late-season struggles by “having fun and playing Creed before games.”
Shortstop Corey Seager called the tradition “kind of just a random thing that everybody started singing to one day,” and rookie outfielder Evan Carter — who was born three years after Creed’s hit “Higher” was released — revealed that the Rangers listen to the band on the team bus.
By Game 3 of the ALDS, the Rangers’ Creed tradition became so well known that all of Globe Life Field sang the band’s signature song, “Higher.”
Creed’s “Higher” singalong! #GoAndTakeIt pic.twitter.com/KpSTyyEEeB
— Jared Sandler (@JaredSandler) October 11, 2023
Creed picked up on the buzz, tweeting its support for the Rangers after Heaney’s comments.
Let’s go Rangers, let’s go!https://t.co/bcESXi2Xle#NeedForCreed
— Creed (@Creed) October 9, 2023
Rangers fans haven’t seen their team in the ALCS since 2011, so regardless of how much they like Creed or not, they will gladly sing along if it means winning games in October.
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How exactly the tradition originated is unknown, but don’t credit Bochy with the idea. “I don’t know a lot of their songs, to be honest. I do know we’re playing a lot of Creed. … So I don’t know where it’s coming from,” the veteran manager said during the ALDS.
Heaney first asked for the Globe Life Field crowd to sing along to Creed during the ALDS, and he got his wish. Could the band make a comeback and perform in the stadium when the Rangers host their portion of the ALCS in Arlington? That might be just what Texas needs to get over the hump and into the World Series.
Creed’s history in sports
Often times, a band or song utilized during a team’s playoff run has no obvious connection to sports. Part of the reason Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” or Calum Scott’s “Dancing On My Own” became such popular layoff anthems for the St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively, is that the songs didn’t conventionally fit with sports.
Creed, however, has found itself at the heart of the sports world before. In fact, the Rangers apparently aren’t the only team listening to Creed right now.
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins said Minnesota took a page out of the Rangers’ book and listened to Creed before a Week 6 win over the Bears.
“Garrett Bradbury, in the locker room pregame, took a clip from the Texas Rangers and made sure that Creed got played before we went out on the field and I felt like that may have made the difference, so we got that going for us,” Cousins told reporters.
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Creed’s most memorable sports moment arguably came in 2001, when the band performed the halftime show during the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game against the Broncos.
The performance has gained attention on social media in recent years purely due to the absurdity of the show. Between shirtless dancers flying through the air and lead singer Scott Stapp belting out music that was so early 2000s it hurts, this was an American moment we might never get back.
Since Kirk Cousins brought it up …
Let’s run it back to when Creed performed “Higher” at the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving halftime show on Nov. 22, 2001.
The shirtless dude flying through the air on drapes really tied this whole bonkers performance together. 😂
(🎥: @NFL) pic.twitter.com/3u9s0gK7xL
— Sportsbook Review (@SBRReview) October 16, 2023
The Cowboys, who now play a stone’s throw away from the Rangers’ home at Globe Life Field, lost that game with Ryan Leaf at quarterback. The Rangers are hoping Creed can have the opposite effect and inspire them all the way to their first championship.
Is the band Creed from Texas?
Despite his connection to the Dallas area thanks to the Cowboys and Rangers, Stapp himself is actually a dedicated Marlins fan. He threw out the first pitch at the Marlins’ home opener in 2008 and, in 2010, actually rewrote Creed’s “You Will Soar” and turned it into a Marlins anthem.
The song itself is a wild ride. Stapp blurts out random baseball plays and accomplishments at two different points, even mentioning a perfect game (the Marlins have none in their history).
“Another playoff race, yes, World Series champs we’ll be,” Stapp sings. At that point, the Marlins had gone six consecutive seasons without a postseason berth, and they wouldn’t return until 2020. As for the 2010 Marlins themselves, they went 80-82 and fired manager Fredi Gonzalez mid-season.
Even outside of the Marlins, Stapp is a lifelong baseball fan. He was the best man at David Wells’ wedding and sang “God Bless America” before Game 4 of the 2004 World Series. Nearly two decades later, Stapp might get the chance to sing again before a World Series game.
The Rangers have already gotten deeper into the postseason than the Marlins have in the last 20 seasons. If they soar to the first championship in franchise history, Stapp might have a case to get a statue outside of Globe Life Field.