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John Legend to Sing National Anthem at World Series; Rooting for Yankees

Tonight marks the second game of the World Series, which pits the New York Yankees against the Philadelphia Phillies. And to open up this evening’s game, MLB couldn’t have picked a more appropriate chanteur to belt out the national anthem than singer-songwriter John Legend who, after attending college at UPenn, has lived in New York City for the past decade. But while you’d expect him to remain faithful to his alma mater’s hometown, Legend will instead be cheering for the Yanks.

“I’ve got a lot of love for Philly, I spent a lot of time there and wrote a lot of songs there. But I’ve lived in New York for 10 years now,” he exclaimed while riding in a car on his way up to Yankee Stadium. “I’d like for the Yankees to win. But like I said, I’m a transplanted New Yorker now, so I’m gonna root for the home team.”

Legend doesn’t consider himself an avid baseball aficionado, branding himself more a football and basketball fan. But like the millions of viewers that only tune in for the big shebang, Legend gets in the Major League spirit when it’s down to the wire.

“I always pay attention when October comes around,” he said. “I watch a lot of the baseball playoffs and the World Series, so I’m definitely excited to be part of the World Series and how big of an event it is.”

Before the players take the mound, Legend will serenade those in Yankee Stadium and the millions of pairs of eyes watching around the world with his rendition of the patriotic tune. And though performing in front of millions of viewers must be old hat for Legend by now, he still plays it safe, explaining that he ran through the standard a few times so that he doesn’t trip up when he takes the mic.

“Well I practiced it a few times, but I’ve done the song many times in my life,” he stated. “I used to sing it at my high school basketball games when I was a kid. But when I found out I was going to do it, I ran through it a few times and started mentally preparing. I’m just going to go out there and give it my best.”

As for the game itself, Legend has high hopes that the Yanks will take home the gold, but after the beating that the team took last night, he’s still a bit cautious about who he thinks will actually win the showdown. “I haven’t made any predictions, but Philly put a whipping on the Yankees yesterday. It really depends on how the pitchers compare I guess, because they’re really good offensive teams. But it all depends on how the pitchers perform tonight. We’ll see how Pedro does. I don’t know who’s pitching for the Yankees, but it should be interesting.”

“It’s a pretty exciting combination of teams,” he said, “so this is very cool for me, I’m excited.”

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