The High Point Rockers baseball team has only been playing ball for about a week but already the team has skyrocketed into the national limelight.
Though not exactly for the reasons the team’s backers might have hoped: The Rockers are getting tons of press and attention right now because of how badly the national anthem was sung at a game at BB&T Point stadium on Sunday, May 5th.
Video of the rendition was exploding on the internet on Monday after singer Chuck Hayworth, who performed the anthem at the game Sunday, sang off key, stalled out completely in parts and forgot many of the words as the crowd supporting the brand new team watched on and tried hopelessly to sing along.
One writer, Rebecca Fair, commenting on the sports website 12up.com – which also posted a video of the musical train wreck – wrote: “Ever been to a ball game and the National Anthem singer messes up the words, sings one part out of tune, or doesn’t hit that high note at the end? Yeah, well we found someone who did all of that and then more. This quite possibly could be the worst National Anthem of all time.”
And that was one of the kinder comments on the internet.
According to Christian Heimall, the assistant general manager for the Rockers who handles the team’s publicity, the Rockers used “a last-minute fill-in” to sing the anthem on Sunday after the singer slated to do so fell ill.
The reaction to the performance on local social media, as well as national media sites, prompted a press release from the Rockers on Monday afternoon. That statement explained some details regarding the situation.
“The performer volunteered to fill-in on short notice following a last-minute audition,” that statement reads. “Unfortunately, due to a combination of factors, the rendition was not up to organizational standards. The High Point Rockers regret the incident and apologize to any and all Americans.”
At one point during the performance, Hayworth started to get the words wrong, realized he was doing so and then stopped singing and essentially asked the crowd to bail him out. “Let me hear you, people!” he called out, trying to get them to sing the words that were obviously escaping him at that moment.
In the press release Monday, Rockers management stated that it’s possible fans could see Hayworth again later in the season.
“The Rockers also believe that second chances are uniquely American and thus are offering that opportunity to the performer,” the release states. “Since Sunday night, numerous voice coaches have reached out to the performer and the organization, offering their services to help redeem the last-minute performer. As a result, the team will strongly consider having the performer back later in the 2019 season, based upon a consensus opinion of the voice coach, organization and performer. Any update will be released at a later date.”
That move is likely not just an act of forgiveness and kindness on the team’s part but is also a wise public relations decision: If Hayworth does sing at a future game, a lot of people will no doubt come out to hear how he does the second time around.