I once named one of my jerkball teams “Monty Stratton Got A Raw Deal”. #stand
Mike Mills rose from a chair and strolled out to his car, but not to fetch a musical instrument to perform songs from the catalog of R.E.M., his seminal alternative-rock band. A fantasy draft of Masters golfers, involving Mills and a dozen others at a house not far from Augusta National Golf Club, had just concluded. And with baseball games in the East winding down, Mills was retrieving a laptop to take stock of his fantasy teams.
All six of them.
...Most of Mills’s fantasy leagues are operated on the Yahoo! Sports site, which awards “trophies” for each championship. His computer page offers irrefutable evidence of his expertise. “Here’s my virtual trophy case,” he said, pressing the arrow-down button on his keyboard. A sizable stack of hardware rolled down the screen.
Rattling off baseball players’ names with the familiarity of a general manager, Mills participates in leagues with friends and strangers. Two leagues are made up of musicians. One commissioner is Ben Gibbard of the alt-rockers Death Cab for Cutie.
Typical of fantasy players, some of Mills’s team names are pun-based: Upton No Good is drawn from the brothers Upton, B. J. and Justin of the Braves. Big Bopper is a baseball-music double entendre. Team logos are chosen with forethought: Ruthian Blast is accompanied by a mug of Babe Ruth.
Mills wheeled through every team, checking its place in the standings, which invariably was at or near the top. Twice, he said, “I’m killing it in this one.”
“Boy, the music is loud,” said Vin Scully with some apparent irritation as the Dodger broadcast came back from commercial tonight, before following with his usual geniality, “Let’s get back to this one.”
It was the top of the sixth inning – typical storytelling time for Scully – but one of two things happened. Either the telecast came back too late to capture the bulk of a story for which “Boy, the music is loud” was the punchline, or the music was just so loud that no one could think straight.
It doesn’t really matter, because this much we know: The music at Dodger Stadium is loud.
And here’s the thing. One assumes the music is loud because loud equals fun in the modern-day math. But what I don’t understand is whom they’re making it loud for.
In general, older people a) don’t want loud music and b) have more trouble hearing than younger people. So if the music was a touch softer, it would still be plenty loud for the hipsters, and the old folk would be just as happy.
Rays manager Joe Maddon is excited for the Sunday and Monday pregame performances of the B-Street Band, the long-running Bruce Springsteen, right, tribute group led by his childhood buddy Willie Forte. Maddon’s favorites of their covers? “I like their Jungleland, and their Spirit in the Night is pretty good,” he said. Though it has been suggested, Maddon will not be singing. “I can’t,” he said. “Plus, it’s pregame, so that’s another reason why I can’t.”
Spring training is for experimenting in lots of ways. On Friday the Rays took the field to Bang a Gong (Get It On), which manager Joe Maddon heard on his iPad last week and wanted to try as an intro song.
Sock It to Me Seger! Not quite the Debbie Harry/Ted Bundy removed VW seat..uhh, story…but this Ted Simmons/Bob Seger riff is pretty sweet.
As Ted and Maryanne hitchhiked alongside U.S. 23 North coming out of Ann Arbor, a van pulled over. Ted helped Maryanne into the front passenger’s seat, then climbed into the back.
“I get in, all the seats had been removed, and there was a full drum set in the back,” says Simmons, now a senior adviser to Mariners general manager Jack Zdurencik after a long pro career as a player.
As the van rumbled off into the night, Simmons told the driver how much he appreciated him stopping.
“Where ya going?” the driver asked.
“Detroit,” Simmons replied.
The driver explained he was headed for Interstate 96, but then he was heading west toward Lansing instead of east toward Detroit.
“I’ll drop you, and you can pick up another ride from there,” the driver said.
That settled, Simmons mentioned the drum set and wondered if his ride was a musician.
The annals of rock music’s history are filled with legendary stories of bands’ backstage antics. But Rush bassist and singer Geddy Lee, who’ll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April alongside his band-mates, has a habit that seems particularly unusual for a rock star – if all-too-familiar to baseball fans.
“We do an intermission between sets,” he said Tuesday while visiting MLB.com’s studios in Manhattan, “and the first thing I do is check box scores.”
...Lee’s growing interest in the sport led him to the work of sabermetric guru Bill James and, ultimately, the fantasy-baseball addiction that has him checking box scores between sets.
“I started reading Bill James quite early on – not when he was first doing his pamphlets, but when he first started doing the Baseball Abstracts, I was right there buying them. I still have all the old baseball abstracts. So that got the wheels turning, and my friends and I used to talk about those stats.”
Lee’s dynasty keeper league assigns point values to nearly every event that happens on a baseball field, and employs a system he jokingly compared to socialism wherein the worst teams are allowed to keep more players for the next season than the highest finishers. The league even includes defense, assigning point values to double plays, outfield assists, errors and passed balls, and features – in Lee’s words – “an ongoing conversation about how the league should be run” that “can be very heated at times.”
“I would be embarrassed to admit how much time I spend on it,” he said. “I scour the box scores and I scour websites looking for players.”
Not only was Count Matchuki a better DJ…he had a much better pitcher’s name!
By night, in the offseason, he is Mazr the deejay, standing in front of the microphones in the clubs of Seattle. Come baseball season, he is Trevor May, pitching prospect extraordinaire for the Minnesota Twins. He is a hard-throwing right-hander who walks to the mound with just one intention: strike out the hitter.
“That’s kind of my thing,” he said. “It’s like in high school where you try to strike everybody out.”
...After his workout at Hammond Stadium, May planned to head back to his room and morph back into Mazr.
“I’ll be out of here about 12:30 today and I’ll have 10 hours before I’m in bed, so there’s not much to do,” he said. “I have been producing a little bit down here because it is fun. I’ve got my computer with me. It’s just off-the-field stuff. I don’t do it much doing the season.
“In the offseason I work with a group of guys that put on events. They do a monthly thing and I help them out when I’m home. I mix on turntables and play, opening for bigger guys.”
It’s a hobby that emanated from offseason boredom.
“I play electronic music, house,” he said. “I’ve always really liked house. We get bored at the end of the season. I saw a little toy, a turntable thing. I mess around with it. In the offseason you have so much free time. I got more and more into it, and I met some guys in Philly who taught me some stuff.”
That looks like a concert stage at Wrigley Field. (Duh.) Conclusion drawn: Pearl Jam might be playing a concert at Wrigley this year. Note the hashtag #StayTuned, which also appears on this tweet from the official Cubs Twitter account:
...“Our diamond, our jewel” are lyrics from Eddie Vedder’s Cubs song “All The Way”. (Yes, I know some of you don’t like that song. Personally, I do.) Eddie already played on a Wrigley stage last September with Bruce Springsteen, but not with his own band. In any case, this all looks pretty obvious to me; I’m sure it does to you, too. However: There’s been no official announcement. I asked the Cubs for comment and they said “No comment.” I’ve heard a further rumor that these shows (and the hints are pretty blatant) could be held September 13-15, while the Cubs are in Pittsburgh.
MLB.com asked Major League Baseball players for their favorite holiday songs, and in Barry Zito’s case, there could be only one at the top of the charts. The Giants’ pitcher is listening again to Nat King Cole’s time-honored classic, The Christmas Song.
“We listened to it my whole life,” Zito said, “and it is the most warm and nostalgic version of any song for me because he was my dad’s best friend.”
...Explaining his choice of White Christmas, Reds reliever Sam LeCure said: “The person I like singing it is Elvis Presley and the Jordanaires. It’s like a gospel group singing. I like how they do ‘White Christmas.’ I got that CD the other day.”
... Finally, we have this exchange between Indians rookie reliever Cody Allen and MLB.com Indians beat reporter Jordan Bastian:
Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
“That’s a tough one, because I honestly don’t like Christmas music. I mean, I like Christmas, but I don’t like Christmas music. Probably the only one I can bear is the Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas tape. Remember that one?”
You don’t like Christmas music, but you like The Chipmunks’ songs?
(Laughing) “I was young, man. I was little. That was funny to me! All the other ones, I didn’t like. Actually, Jeff Foxworthy’s song, Redneck 12 Days of Christmas. That one is pretty good.”
When music journalist and WFMU deejay Jesse Jarnow decided to write a biography of Yo La Tengo, he realized that he needed to tell more than just the story of a rock ‘n roll band. So the book became Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & The Rise Of Indie Rock, and included carefully researched details about the birth of Hoboken’s music scene in the early Eighties.
But Jarnow went even further, and started his book by writing about baseball and the role that Hoboken played in the birth of America’s national pastime.
...“The story of Maxwell’s just intrigued me so much,” Jarnow said. “About how and why that happened, and why it happened there as opposed to anywhere else. And part of it is the separation from the city. And then the baseball thing came up. McCarty’s would have been about where the end of 12th Street is now. So there’s this huge coincidence – or maybe it’s not a coincidence – how these two bars separated by over a hundred years played this huge role in changing not just a city, but American culture. There’s just so much to the story of Maxwell’s, and you do just naturally come to Yo La Tengo at the end of it. So working backwards, it really made me curious to dig deeper into the history of the bar and the coffee factory and Elysian Field, and how all those pieces fit together.”
“The more I researched, the baseball part of the story became a little bit of an obsession,” he continued. “I actually found the expired insurance maps from the 19th Century to try and figure out exactly where McCarty’s stood and where Elysian Field was. That map is hanging on my wall now, but I’ll be taking it down and bringing it with me to the museum so people can see it when I give my talk.”
Brian Evans should have made the Basketball Hall of Fame before Jim Rice made the…huh? wha??
Boston Red Sox legend Jim Rice, a member of The Baseball Hall of Fame, has just completed a new TV commercial which will promote the new single “At Fenway,” now on sale at Best Buy and Amazon.com.
The song, written and recorded by crooner Brian Evans, was produced by multiple Grammy Award winning producer Narada Michael Walden…
After debuting at #3 on Amazon.com, astonishing given the single was released in November, during football season, the commercial was filmed last Monday at The Groveland Diner in Groveland, Massachusetts.
...“Red Sox Nation is everywhere. This has truly been a D2F (Direct to Fan) campaign at this point, and we’re blown away at the response to the song,” says Evans.
ESPN The Magazine’s Steve Wulf wrote about Rollins’ experience with the kids. Not surprisingly, the trip seems to have meant as much to Rollins as it did for the kids, who will hopefully get a nicer ball field due in part to Jimmy’s efforts.
The whole story is worth your time, for sure, but we thoroughly enjoyed one nugget in particular. Jimmy was pulled onto a stage during a lunchtime gathering on Martin Luther King Day and busted out a freestyle rap that went something like this, according to ESPN:
“One two one two, in Uganda baseball comes through
Big D Lee in the house and so is me doing it everyday casually
Because we like to play and get down, Uganda, Nsambya, the big towns
I’m not done, we get it down, we get it too, I stand up and push, it’s on you
Theo Epstein, the former Red Sox general manager, will return home this weekend to help host the semi-annual “Hot Stove Cool Music” charity concert that launched 12 years ago.
Legendary baseball journalist Peter Gammons and a slew of musical performers will join Epstein, a Brookline native, at the Paradise Rock Club in Allston for Saturday night’s fundraiser – three months after he resigned as general manager of the Red Sox to lead baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs.
...Boston-native actor Mike O’Malley, who plays a regular role on the TV series “Glee” will emcee the gathering that includes scheduled performers: Grammy award-nominated, Boston-native Susan Tedeschi, Boston rockers The Remains, Grammy award-winning guitarist Derek Trucks, indie folk band Deer Tick, indie rockers Mean Creek, garage punk band The Sprained Ankles and the “Hot Stove All-Stars” featuring Gammons, Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz, indie rocker Kay Hanley, J. Geils Band’s Seth Justman, folk rocker Robin Lane, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Tanya Donelly and more, organizers said.
Q: Probably not a lot of 50-something former MVPs can say they’ve been getting into Wilco and other bands, huh?
A: Well it’s been fun, and I think that’s the fun of Twitter – this intersection or cross-section of diverse people and interests, and you connect in ways … it’s been fun. In fact, I did a [online interview] with Peter Moylan, and he was asking me about music I listen to. And he and Chipper [Jones] were wondering who half the bands were that I named…. [Laughter.] I’m going to have a contest on Twitter and say the first hitter that walks up to [to the plate] with Wilco or something like that playing, I’m going to get him [a prize].
Q: OK, let’s change gears a bit. Murph, has this time of year become frustrating for you because of the annual Hall of Fame voting announcement? Or do you still allow yourself to be optimistic about your chances?
A: I’m always kind of optimistic. Not really frustrated, I think because my percentage [of votes] hasn’t really been knocking on the door, you know? I think if it’d been at 60 percent or something for five years, it might be different. I mean, I always try to be optimistic. I know my percentage is pretty low and you need 75. And I’m not really close. So in that way I’m not really frustrated.
To be honest, I thought my percentage would be higher over the years. It hasn’t been high. I tend to feel like I’ll get a bump this year. We’ll see. There’s been some talk about guys that played in the ‘70s and ‘80s, that there might be some revisiting of their careers [by voters], and I have some people that have been supportive. So we’ll see. I appreciate the support and I try to stay optimistic.
$300 to see Kenny Cheney and Tim McGraw? That’s the shitkickingest thing I’ve seen since Elton Britt ran for President in 1960!
If taxpayers pick up the tab for a new sports stadium which later hosts a concert, where does that money go and does the public get a kickback for their investment? That’s a question currently occupying many minds after the first concert at Target Field sold out in only four hours.
FOX 9 News reporter Tom Lyden began looking for the answer after a viewer e-mailed, asking if the team pockets all the profits from the concerts held at the ballpark—but when it comes to the money trail, there are few simple answers with public stadiums.
Baseball may be the game of the summer, but Target Field is now proving that there’s big money to be made beyond baseball. Soon, about 39,000 country music fans will pack the house to see Kenny Cheney and Tim McGraw. Some fans even shelled out $300 per ticket.
So who gets that money? Twins spokesman Keven Smith says he wishes they did, but the concert promoter and performers take in all the money generated at the gate. The Twins keep the concessions cash—but they don’t know how much that will amount to.
“We don’t know how concessions go,” Smith admitted. “We run a baseball team, not a concert venue. Not yet.”
Nickelback? Foo Fighters?.....You’d think Moylan would be touting the Mangel Wankers or something, but nooooo.
Embattled rock band Nickelback have found themselves in the middle of another sports controversy—a Twitter fight with Peter Moylan, a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves baseball team.
Moylan threw the first high heater after attending the Foo Fighters’ Dec. 2 show at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, tweeting how much more he liked Dave Grohl’s band than Chad Kroeger’s.
“Note to @nickelback please attend a @foofighters concert. That’s how’s it should be done chad,” he wrote.
Nickelback, who’ve been drinking their fair share of haterade lately on account of their unpopular football half-time shows, were quick to respond with kind words for the Foos and a baseball-savvy burn for Moylan.
“@PeterMoylan Foos are killer for sure. We’re doing just fine too thanks. ? for you Pete, is watching Kimbrel better from the bench or on TV?” the band tweeted.
Billy Joel? Elton John? Paul McCartney? Screw the wrecking ball…bring in the mofo Wrecking Crew to tear these MOR (Middle Of the yellow brick Road) ####-tinklers down!
Combining the life stories of Billy Joel and Shea Stadium with a minor-key glimpse at the relentless, Robert Moses-driven suburbanization of Long Island, Last Play at Shea captures a moment of bittersweet transition that valiantly attempts to valorize a world that is falling apart. (In the case of Shea Stadium, of course, this is literally true: within six months of Joel’s two concerts there in July 2008, the facility would be demolished.)
Though we were steadfastly resistant to Joel’s music during its heyday, the passage of time has softened the edges of his work: like Elton John (with whom he began touring after giving up songwriting in the 90s), his gift for melody ultimately forgives many sins. If one had to knock down Shea Stadium, Billy was indisputably the man to give it its sendoff.
The filmmakers knew they were creating too many narratives for their film to escape a feeling of it being neither fish nor fowl, so they found a fourth strand that gives it a semblance of narrative drive—they relate Shea Stadium’s history to the iconic event of its youth, the 1965 Beatles concert.
This fourth layer provides a musical link between Joel and the Moptops, and injects suspense into the unfolding story: will Paul McCartney find a way to appear at Joel’s farewell to Shea? Will things come full circle before the wrecking ball?
Tell me when it’s over, Steve…please tell me when this is all over.
Among those rooting for the Brewers to reach the World Series may have been the band, the Baseball Project. While none of the members are Milwaukee fans (or Cardinals fans), they did have a gig lined up for the Milwaukee if the Brewers made the World Series—but you know the rest of the baseball side of the story.
The group—made up of indie rock veterans Steve Wynn (the Dream Syndicate), Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey (the Minus 5) and Peter Buck (R.E.M.)— wrote some songs for the folks in Milwaukee that went unused. Still, the group did release a song from that planned set on its website. The song, well, the title speaks for itself: “C’mon Prince (Stay In MIlwaukee).”
You’ve got to give the guys credit, they’re right when they point out to Fielder that he’s “got nine more years of Ryan Braun hitting right in front of you/You think any other three and four hitters can do the damage you two will do” and “You’ll have have money coming out of your ears/Even if you sign for just five years.”
The band’s website says its working on an alternate version: “C’mon Albert (Stay In St. Louis).”
Ugh, more crapthetic tie-in crap…meanwhile Shiitty/Awesome gets passed over again!
Game 7 of the World Series is slated to air on Friday night, and for the second time during the baseball classic we are going to have an “American Idol” alum performing the National Anthem.
Who is it going to be? According to reports, Chris Daughtry is going to be taking to the field in order to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” just a week or so after season 10 champ Scotty McCreery performed the same song. Daughtry is also the third artist with direct Fox ties to perform, as “New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel has also taken on the anthem.
Who would you rather party with—the 1969 Mets or the 1986 Mets?
Oh, the ‘86 Mets. They’re closer in age to me. ... My idea of partying is sitting at a bar and nursing a beer for two hours and talking baseball. I did that in Pittsburgh once. I was with Ed Lynch and Keith Hernandez, and for about three hours we went through two beers and 50 years of baseball. That’s my idea of partying.
Keith Hernandez is great to talk to. He’s my favorite announcer. He’s articulate. He’s intellectual. He knows the game. He comes from a side that’s not a real jock side. He’s got a style, and I really enjoy his approach to the game. You know what Keith Hernandez once said? He said he couldn’t get interested in the game until his team was losing by about three runs. He didn’t think the game was interesting until then. Isn’t that amazing? That’s a champion. Joe Montana didn’t start playing [hard] until the fourth quarter, when his team was down by two touchdowns. Keith’s brain would wake up down by three runs. He’d say, “Now the game’s interesting to me. If we’re up 10-0, it doesn’t mean anything.” That’s a real gamer.
Do you have any baseball mementos or memorabilia?
All my memorabilia, and all my cherished things are in my heart and in my brain—although I do have a baseball cap that was autographed by both Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. That’s the only thing I got—only the two greatest players who ever played. (Laughs.) I don’t believe in collecting things. I’m fond of saying, “It’s not the things that touch your hands that matter, it’s the things that touch your heart.”
WATCHING I like music documentaries. I just recently saw “We Jam Econo — The Story of the Minutemen,” who were a California punk band from the ’80s. The Minutemen were one of those bands that didn’t really catch on in the mainstream and yet was incredibly influential on other artists that did make it.
The other one that I saw was “Hype!,” which is about the Seattle grunge scene. It has great archive footage of bands like Nirvana and Sound Garden and also Alice in Chains playing in the Seattle bar scene. It’s interesting how clusters of bands develop in certain areas.
LISTENING I listen to a lot of podcasts. My favorite is World Football Daily. It’s a two-hour soccer podcast. It’s got a lot of correspondents from all over the world who cover soccer. My go-to band is Oasis, but I have a friend in the music business who keeps me up to date with newer stuff, some of which I like, some I don’t. He recently introduced me to Glasvegas and Cold Cave.
“Derek, I’ve got a screw loose for you…” (cue Jaye P. Morgan gongflash)
As organizers of “The Derek Jeter Plays” can attest, not just theatrical characters find “El Capitan” inspiring.
“Basically, [actor] Wende O’Reilly came up with this fantastic idea to promote Derek Jeter by way of plays. So she wanted an evening of plays, actually she would be the only one, with her and Derek Jeter to be with her in it,” says producer-actor Joan Pelzer. “But we decided, let’s make it a big evening and have other people involved.”
So Algonquin Seaport Theater put out a call and got more than 30 submissions. The seven plays selected are part of an evening of one-act plays called “The Derek Jeter Plays,” and they all involve baseball and the Bronx Bomber.
As for O’Reilly, she’s thrilled to play alongside her favorite guy, at least on stage, in “Pasta Diving Jeter,” about a crazy fan like herself.
“I haven’t been arrested or, you know, have any restraining orders out or anything like that, but I would consider myself more fanatical then fan,” says O’Reilly.
Closers need these songs more than anyone. Pitching just one inning to end the game, they rely on elements of intimidation that workhorse starters can’t sustain over six or seven innings. Closers are performers in the full sense of the word, and their entrance music is nearly as much a part of their personas as a filthy slider or 97-mph fastball. Yet few understand what makes a good entrance song. They have much to learn. Most of which, incidentally, can be found in the following guide.
¡Oye como va! It’s not hard to make out the blurry figure with his arms raised behind the percussionst. That’s St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa providing a little backup for legendary musician Carlos Santana at a recent show.
Citizen Ben Weixlmann thought that some might not believe him, so he tweeted a photo of La Russa, (pretty much) plain as day on stage at the historic Fox Theatre in St. Louis during Santana’s concert Tuesday night. La Russa reportedly scooted over there after his postgame media session at Busch Stadium concluded.
And there he is, just like the ocean under the moon! He’s even smiling, which is not something you usually see from The Genius.
Along with his 26 bombs, Trumbo has driven in 80 runs, collected 55 extra base hits and has a .486 slugging percentage percentage, leading the team in all four categories. And he came up with probably the Angels’ biggest hit of the season against the Rangers on August 18, when he slammed a two-run homer off reliever Mike Adams to give his team a 2-1 win, and keep them within six games of the leaders. Without the shot, LA is swept by Texas, falls eight games out, and likely says goodbye to any post-season participation. They’ve gone 12-6 since that win, cutting 2 1/2 games off the lead. Not bad for a guy who was about to become a platoon player when he was struggling and the Angels acquired power hitting first baseman Russell Branyan in late May.
...“I’m a huge music guy,” Trumbo says, “especially any kind of Rock and Roll.” And if you’re familiar with post-hardcore music, you know that Trumbo walks up to the batter’s box to the sound of the band THRICE and their song “To Awake and Avenge the Dead.” Thrice has put out some amazing CD’s, including “The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II” in 2007 and ” Vols. III & IV in 2008. 2002’s “Illusion of Safety” contains the song Trumbo uses as his walk up tune. Overall, the Orange County group has sold over one million records and is on the verge of releasing “Major/Minor, scheduled to drop on September 20th. And just to illustrate that being a major league player does indeed allow you entrance into places most never see, Trumbo has already heard the CD. “I was really lucky to get to hear it before the release. It’s great. The fans are going to love it.”
For most of his life, my brother believed that there was a direct correlation between the Montreal Expos’ fortunes and his own. (Given my brother’s occasional happiness and success, the theory was dubious from the start, and it would finally be disproved in 2004 when the Expos were given a name-change and moved to Washington and he was not.) In 1981, the Expos made the playoffs for the first and only time in franchise history, but were defeated by the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The final game, which was played on a drizzly Monday and was decided by a late-game home-run by Rick Monday, would come to be known by Expos fans as Blue Monday.
My sister was never a sports fan. She preferred art to athletics and my earliest memories of her are my earliest musical memories: “Blue Monday” or the Happy Mondays or The Chills emanating muffled through the closed door of her room - music that has persistently shaped my understanding of how the world sounded at the time I came into it.
Ten years after Blue Monday, I cared a lot more about Fernando Velenzuala than I did about The Chills. Ten years after that, baseball had lost its appeal and music had replaced it in the forefront of my mind. Nearly ten years hence, I think about music less than I used to and baseball almost not at all, though I still derive great pleasure from The Chills and can’t help but think of Fernando Velenzuala as I listen.