My Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview issue arrived this week, so even though there is still plenty of Madness left to enjoy (Go Cardinal! Go Blue Devils!), some of my thoughts are turning to baseball.
I imagine that most of us can (and do) sing along to “Centerfield” by John Fogarty, and I suspect nearly all of us know the utterly depressing saga of the The Boss’ former high school pitcher friend whose “Glory Days” are behind him. But if you’re looking for some new tunes to get pumped up for Opening Day 2012*, below are some of my favorite lesser-know songs about baseball. Additional suggestions welcome in the comments. And of course, Go Giants!
- Catchers Drummers Anchormen (Amazon sample, or buy it for $0.89) by Eddie from Ohio: I didn’t actually see Carlton Fisk’s famous 1975 World Series Game 6 homer, but this song makes me feel like I did. “In ’75, oh, what a beautiful sight; the flight of a Spalding on an October night. The iron man Fisk hit a prayer in the air; and with a wave of his arms, he kept it fair. And with a wave of his arms, he kept it fair.”
- Empty baseball park by Whiskeytown: Not really about baseball, but it does have the lyrics “Stumble into empty baseball park. Strike one and strike two… I guess we’re both out.” And I dig Ryan Adams, especially his stuff with Whiskeytown.
- Catfish by Bob Dylan: This song, about Hall of Famer Jim “Catfish” Hunter, was originally supposed to be on Desire, but ended up on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991. I couldn’t find an online version of Dylan singing it, so the link above is a Townes Van Zandt cover version.
- Joe Dimaggio done it again by Billy Bragg and Wilco (lyrics by Woody Guthrie): Straight up celebration of the great Joe Dimaggio–“Clackin’ that bat, Gone with the wind! Joe Dimaggio’s done it again.”
- Cheap Seats by Alabama: A lovely ode to the joys of minor league baseball. Since my sister and her husband are co-owners of the Haymarket Senators of the Valley Baseball League, I have to agree that “there’s nothin’ like the view from the cheap seats.”
- Bill Lee by Warren Zevon: A delightfully trippy little song about Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee.
- All the way by Eddie Vedder: The Pearl Jam vocalist, a lifelong Cubbies fan, recorded this song in 2008; putting to music Cubs fans’ hopes that “Someday we’ll go all the way, Yeah, someday we’ll go all the way”.
*Opening Day 2012 includes both Opening Night on April 4, 2012 (St. Louis Cardinals v. Miami Marlins), and Opening Day games on April 5, 2012.