Music and Baseball………Fantastic!

 

 
           
 

 
Music plays a big part of  a major league baseball game. Not only do we have the singing of the “National Anthem” before the first pitch of the game, but we have music before , during and after the game. It is a natural part of the game, and considering we are now a multi-media entertainment culture, it is only going to grow and become more of the fabric of the game.  When we arrive at the ballpark, there is usually some kind of music or noise to entice us into a state of excitement about the upcoming contest. Be it an old tune like “Centerfield” by John Fogerty or even just a local song written for you team like “It’s Our Season” by Tampa Bay artist Cristol.

Music has always been a part of the current environment of baseball. Take the player’s music as they walk-up to bat, or the celebration music that is played over the public address system when they score or even win the game. Every team has their favorites from Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, The Village Peoples ” YMCA” or even the odd favorite “Cotton-eyed Joe”. All these songs are pretty much guaranteed to be lay at least once a game in certain ballparks, no matter who you are playing.
 

But what is it that makes a artist want to write about a player? I know some of the players of the past deserve songs, but who in the present would you event think deserves or even should be considered for a song or parody. I am still waiting for a  hip-hop song about Coco Crisp or Jimmy Rollins,or J-Roll as some people know him.  Who is going to pen the ballad on the pitching of Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee., Or maybe we need a hard rock or alternative beat about the hitting of Josh Hamilton or Ryan Braun. Each could be a musical tribute to their favorite baseball player. It has been done in the past, why not today?
 

I mean sometimes songwriters do get bored and lack inspiration from daily events and their own lives, why not just dive into the baseball digest and write a three verse song on A-Rod, or even the rise and fall of the Detroit Tigers.  They do not always have to write about romance, or a cheating girlfriend, or even a tragedy.  I mean the past has brought us some great baseball related songs. They have been used to excite us, entice us and build the entire stadium into a melody of cheers and jeers for the songs. So who have produced songs in the past that have vocally immortalize players, well I have least five that I can think of right off the top of my head.

 

                  
 

Warren Zevon did a song entitled ” Bill Lee” about former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee who claimed he liked to sprinkle marijuana on his pancakes. They called him the Spaceman because he was so weird. As Zevon put it, “You’re supposed to sit on your *** and nod at stupid things, man, that’s hard to do.” Then again, it depends how much they pay you.  It was a very eccentric song about an extremely eccentric figure in our baseball past. Lee still does baseball signing and appearances. He did appear at a Rays 2008 contest and sign for the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. He was sitting their flanked by his kids as he signed photos and baseball for the fans.
 

Belle & Sebastian. I find it kind of odd that this Scottish group even knows a thing or two abut the sport of baseball, much less the abilities and the talents of  the former L A Dodger and New York Mets catcher. But “Piazza, the New York Catcher” is an actual song, and Belle & Sebastian are a true  group, so maybe they had a vision upon taking in one of America’s favorite games in a city where he was playing during his career. But this is the same Belle & Sebastian that wrote a song about John Wayne Gacy junior, and to think they also used Piazza on this album is a bit creepy, disturbing and fundamentally wrong.
 
 

But leave it to rock ballad singers Soundgarden to romanticize the deeds of one of the games meanest players in “Ty Cobb”.   Yeah, leave it the grunge gang  to immortalize one of the dirtiest, unrepentant players in the game. You knew upon seeing the title that it was not going to be a love song about how Cobb liked to spike his opposing players and send them to the hospital where without medical insurance these young ball players were certainly in harm’s way. He was also considered not such a nice guy in matters of race, money and progressive taxation. I can not imagine even  New York Yankee Shelly Duncan having this song on his I-pod.

 
 
                                  http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.editAlbumPhoto&albumID=1050264&imageID=14585744″>

 
But then you have a group like S. F. Seals, who did a little serenade about the famous pitcher Dock Ellis . Come on, the guy’s name makes up Ellis-D and some say he pitched a no-hitter tripping on the stuff. Perfect. So the song, “Dock Ellis” is also included on the groups short lived Baseball Trilogy EP. The group’s even named after a minor league baseball team.  I did get to see Ellis pitch once in a MLB Alumni game in St Petersburg back in the the early 2000’s. And by that time he was not looking like a cult hero, or even a pitcher as time and a bit of the abuses he held close to him during his life must have taken a lot out of the man. But considering his groups name is a minor league baseball team out of the San Francisco area, can’t get more conceptual than that.

 
 
         
 

But last, but not least I am going to visit the styling of a famous folk singer, Bob Dylan as he tells the tale of one of my favorite pitchers of all time Jim “Catfish” Hunter.  In the song ” Catfish”, I suppose you could assume this is actually a song about fishing but it isn’t. Unlike “Hurricane” or “Joey,” Dylan stuck this tribute to Oakland A’s and Yankee pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter on his outtake box many years after the man’s prime. So any accusations of Dylan jumping on the Catfish bandwagon are misinformed. Just as I’m sure Dylan’s “George Jackson” single was not originally to be titled “Reggie Jackson” despite rumors to the contrary.
 
 

We all know of local artists that have done poetic justice to our baseball heroes. These are just a few of the ones that I know about. I did not include Simon and Garfunkel because everyone knows they penned in a line for Joe DiMaggio, but I wanted to include five songs here you might not have ever heard, or even realized lived in the musical annuals. Music is sacred to some baseball fans.  I truly love a great baseball song.  Over the last year there have been well known alternative groups like “We the Kings” who have paraphrased the Rays accomplishments on their own musical scores. But what other songs are out there that have been written for your team, or even it’s player that no one might know about, or should here…………..Let me know?

 
 
 
Photo credits:  1) www.raysbaseball.com/shop
                       2) www.morethings.com
                       3) www.vh-1.com/S.F.Seals
                       4) www.hangoutmusic.seesaa.net

 
 

18 Comments

There was a Blue Jays song “let’s go blue jays” that mentioned all their players and several teams. It was done by a group called the Bat Boys. I would say it would be 2-3 years old probably.
And one of my favorites is the Whiskey Falls song “Load up the bases.” It is done in two different versions. One is a standard baseball – no teams – lyrics. The other lyrics are made for the Red Sox.
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

I forgot about that Warren Zevon song! ’75 world series – I was in 6th grade – we would cheer the last minute of each day of the series – “Fiske is good, Spaceman’s Great, It’s Cincinnati that’s second rate!” Great memories Rays! It’s always good to remember!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Five very excellent choices. Think I’ll go listen to “Ty Cobb” right now. Thanks!-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

Canuck,
I had never heard of those songs before. I am going to have to do some musical research tonight and check those out.
Thanks.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Hi Renegade! I can’t think of any songs off the top of my head that are about the Phillies, but non-baseball-wise I am reminded of the song “Magic Johnson” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on their album “Mother’s Milk”.
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

There are a lot of songs about Grady Sizemore. You can find one at Cause He’s Grady. It is pretty cool. A ballad about Cliff Lee would be awesome though.
Melissa
http://clemosngirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

I never knew about that Bill Lee song until someone told me about it about 6 years ago.
That is one of the fun things about sports, the songs ans little diddys that come out to kind of seal the song and the event in our minds…………Priceless

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Renegade, I just wanted to warn you that my blog entry for today contains another giant Coke bottle. You know I would take a picture of a giant Pepsi bottle if there was one!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

I like Soundgarden, but that song was over the top. But then again, there is a group on here who wrtoe a song about a serial killer too.
I could not imagine a player acting like Cobb did today. Not only would his team mates castrate him on his racial and on-the-field antics, but they would be sure to educate him oin the fans too.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Nothing wrong with a baseball song either. But I had to pick a baseketball song, it would be “Basketball Jones” by Cheech and Chong.
Sorry that is just the way I am. If it doesn’t have humor, it is not a great song lol.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Thanks Mellissa.
I thought there were a few “Grady” songs wandering out there somewhere, but I could not find them before. I will go check that site out and listen to a few of them.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Damn Coke bottles.
I know they think they own the world, but we own Florida lol. That is fine, I can not destroy everything coke-related in the world.
People would kill me if I touch a white hair on those polar bears fur.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Song that comes to my head is “We are the 9ers..don’t get in our way. Team of the 80’s and we came to play! lol Ronnie Lott gave me my tape of that song they made. My mom know’s Ronnie and some of the old 49ers.

~ King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

Ronny Lott,
There is a name I know really well.
I remember that song. It had a nice little melody to it, plus the words did get kind of addictive.
Every team has some sort of song. The Rays have that short diddy, “Feel the Heat”, but I do not consider that a player’s song. But it does get some crowd interaction.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I’m Back! The oriolesh vae a lot to do with music, one we shout O! during the SSB and it was written across the street from the yard. The orioles have 2 team anthems so to speak. Thank God I’m A Country Boy at the stretch. I have no idea why, were not in dang Texas! And Orioles Magic which they now play after a win, like the Cubs do GO CUBS GO!
Thank God I’m A country Boy:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGJrcASUFJY
O’s Magic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8BMYo3Z7mc

Thanks Orangebird,
I would never of thought of John Denver during a Orioles game. Thanks for the link to “Orioles Magic” That is a catchy little tune that could creep into the back of your mind with no problem.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I had no idea that Dylan had a song about Catfish! Boy, do I have my head in the clouds. Thanks for the info and another great post.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Thanks Jane,
Sometimes having your head in the clouds can be refreshing. I did not know about a few of the songs mentioned on this blog by the other posting authors, but I have heard them now.
Just do that thing that you do so well, and we will always be there to read you.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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