The musical "keynote" address was delivered by four-time Grammy award nominee, pianist/composer David Frishberg. This was a big treat for me, especially when Frishberg played my favorite baseball song, the nostalgic "Van Lingle Mungo," which is simply the names of players from the '30s and '40s sung to a haunting refrain. I had first heard the tune in the early '70s when I was a TV sportscaster, and I rounded up baseball cards of all the players in the song, shot film of them being shuffled by a kid, and edited the film to match the song. I always played the piece on Opening Day of the baseball season. Of course, I'd sent Frishberg a copy. And it was wonderful to see him after all these years.
Jim Bouton - the first fandom vidder...
And some quippage from the same book:
Joe [Klein] was the manager of the Texas Ranger farm team in Pittsfield when I had that tryout at Wahconah Park back in 1972.
"I don't know why the hell you didn't sign me up that day," I said to Joe. "Nobody even reached the warning track off me."
"Right after you left," he said, grinning, "we released the six guys you pitched to."
Dave Studeman takes a look at the Dodgers and Angels over at the Hardball Times today, and the contrasts are striking. The Dodgers really have been playing well (Tomko's bombing by the Braves last night not withstanding).
Ten Things About Los Angeles Baseball
Ken Arneson had a great piece over at his Catfish Stew blog (an A's blog) that starts off with Michael Barrett's coldcocking of A.J. Pierzynski at home plate last week, but winds up as a discussion of the use of intuition versus logic in making baseball decisions. Really good stuff.
A Good Haymaker
Speaking of Michael Barrett, he was suspended for ten games for punching Pierzynski. He's said he will appeal the decision. There's absolutely no truth to the rumor that Barrett's defense will be that even Pierzynski's mother wants to punch him out...
Bouton's story about "Van Lingle Mungo" reminded me that I'd never gotten around to posting the baseball mix I put together last year. Here it is behind the cut for any who are interested, along with the track listing, some liner notes, and a special bonus track.
It's My Game
1. "Play Ball!" -- Bill Kirchen
2. "Where’s That Hit" -- Hoodoo Gurus
This is a great track that hecubot sent me awhile back.
3. "Baseball Blues" -- Claire Hamill
4. "You’ve Got to Hit the Right Lick" -- Big Bill Broonzy
Ray Davies' favorite blues man sings about the Babe.
5. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" -- Bruce Springstone
No one seems to know who this "Bruce Springstone" character actually is, but whoever he was did a great job of applying the Boss's style to the classic baseball song.
6. "I Was Right on Time" -- Buck O’Neil
I could listen to Buck talk about baseball forever.
7. "The Secret to Life According to Satchel Paige" -- Bob Bossin
Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.
8. "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball" -- Count Basie Orchestra with Taps Miller
9. "The Ballad of Eddie Klepp" -- Chuck Brodsky
Eddie Klepp is one of those footnotes in history, the kind of story that makes you go "Huh?"
10. "Heart" -- Damn Yankees, Original Broadway Cast
To paraphrase veejane, just imagine ARod and Gary Sheffield kick-stepping through the Yankee locker room while singing this song. Actually, I could totally see Joe Torre singing the manager's part.
11. "Baseball Theme" -- Vince Guaraldi
12. "It's My Game" -- Humphrey Bogart
13. "Willie, Mickey & The Duke" -- Terry Cashman
Cashman's paean to baseball in the early fifties, inspired by an old-timers game introduction of the three great centerfielders of the era, all of whom played in the same city at the same time. The old argument always went something like "How can Mantle be the best centerfielder in baseball when he ain't even the best centerfielder in New York?" Cashman later shamelessly adapted the song for practically every team in existence (including the Springfield Nuclear Plant softball team).
14. "Van Lingle Mungo" -- Dave Frishberg
See the Bouton anecdote above.
15. "D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song" -- Danny Kaye
Just another typical day in the life of the '62 Dodgers. The Dodgers and Giants eventually finished the season tied for first, but the Jints won a playoff for the NL pennant. Danny Kaye later went on to be one of the original owners of the Seattle Mariners.
16. "My Favorite Spring" -- Tom Paxton & John Gorka
My all time favorite baseball song.
17. "Centerfield" -- John Fogerty
Put me in, coach...
18. "Right Field" -- Peter, Paul & Mary
Please don't hit it to me...
19. "7th Inning Stretch" -- Gin Blossoms
20. "Baseball Boogie" -- Mabel Scott
21. "A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request" -- Steve Goodman
Both funny and sad, the saddest thing about this song is that it was recorded not all that long before Goodman himself died of leukemia in 1984, a week or so before the Cubs played in the post-season for the first time since 1945. His best known song is probably "City of New Orleans."
22. "For the Love of the Game" -- Semisonic
23. "Piazza, New York Catcher" -- Belle and Sebastian
I originally left this out of the mix because I'd used it in a couple other mixes I'd done around that time. The thing is, I love the song, so it's back in the lineup.
24. "The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" -- Lou Gehrig
25. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" -- Dr. John
26. "Pete Rose Affinity" -- Summer Hymns
Just for Teppy.
The whole roster, along with the cover art, can be found here: It's My Game - Part 1.zip and It's My Game - Part 2.zip
Finally, A's fans are rejoicing today as last night Jason Kendall hit his first home run since July 2004.