I’m a huge baseball fan, seriously, like more than I am willing to admit here. My love for the national pastime started way before I was serious about music and it continues to this day (I’m a huge Reds fan), at times running neck and neck with my music obsession. So when I received the album called The Baseball Project, I was cautiously optimistic. After all, The Baseball Project is an album done by a band of musicians I already enjoy, most of whom have put out some great albums under the moniker of The Minus 5.
And so when Peter Buck of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey (The Miracle 3, Minus 5), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), and Linda Pitmon put their stamp of approval on this album about baseball, I lept to the top of my stack. Then I remembered that there are hardly any good songs that are not straight up parody driven crap that have come out in the past 25 years or so. It seems like either you are really into baseball, but have little to no musical relevance(see John Fogerty), or you are a somewhat relevant musician, but know little to nothing about baseball and just happen to drop in a reference to the game or use it for a song title. (i.e. Piazza, New York Catcher – Belle and Sebastian)
But this record seems to meet everyone in the middle. It has enough quality musicians backing it to keep my musical side entertained, and plenty of baseball knowledge to feed my sports nerd side. With songs like “The Yankee Flipper”, which tells the story of Jack McDowell, former White Sox and Yankees pitcher, (who was a musician himself) and the story of his now famous flipping of the bird to the crowd after giving up 9 runs to the White Sox one day at Yankee Stadium.
Another great song tells the story of Mark McGwire, and is aptly titled “Broken Man.” Of course Big Mac was an American hero after his homerun record chase and was later embarrassed in front of the nation iduring Congressional hearings regarding steriods in baseball.
And really, each song tells a story, and I really love all the name dropping of famous players from Pete Rose to Harvey Haddix, this album has it all. Look, its not gonna set you on your ear musically or from a sports perspective, but the combination makes this album the best Baseball themed record in recent memory, (or maybe ever).
In additioni, just to prove their love for all things baseball, get a look at the bands fantasy baseball rosters right here, very cool!
Check out the guys doing the song “Past Time” on Letterman….