Play Ball! Baseball Songs Even A Non-Sports Fan Can Love
Sports aren't really She Said's thing, though she does like to watch games where there's a lot at stake emotionally (Super Bowl XLIV) and she nearly always roots for the underdog. Mostly, she really enjoys the speed of college basketball, and the nostalgia of baseball. She Said's dad is by no means athletic in the traditional sense, but he was a kid in the 1960s, a time when baseball represented everything that was wonderful about America, and She Said can picture so clearly her dad as a blonde, buzz-cut boy, baseball in hand. It's one reason she loves the movie The Sandlot so much -- it's like a secret glimpse into her father's early life. He loves it too, by the way. For She Said, baseball represents America. It represents summer. It represents the simpleness of earlier times. Next week is the 'Stros 2010 opening game, which illustrates another aspect of baseball - the idea of hope. By all accounts, this year will be a... how shall we say... rebuilding year. In other words, don't get your playoffs hopes up. But lo, how many Cubs fan sat in abject horror as year after year the Curse of the Goat got their goats. Houston will always love the Astros, no matter how many new players join the Killer Bs. Perhaps it the hope of baseball or its intrinsic Americana that has led so many bands to write music about the sport. She's sure they exist, but off the top of her head, She Said can't think of a single song about football or basketball. During a brainstorming session with He Said, the following exchange took place:
He Said: I think the Hold Steady have some baseball songs. She Said: "Some"? What kind of band writes more than one baseball song?
Simon & Garfunkel, "Mrs. Robinson": This song about innocence lost is exactly what She Said was talking about. The Joe DiMaggio line is a tribute to a simple and humble man who represents the purity of a previous time. DiMaggio is a kind of Byronic hero for She Said -- his quiet demeanor, his Doonesbury nose, his conservation nature, and the way he continued to mourn Marilyn Monroe after her death despite the fact that their marriage lasted less than a year and she'd married Arthur Miller afterwards. For 20 years he kept her grave freshly supplied with red roses. Bob Dylan, "Catfish": Dylan's best-known sports song is "Hurricane," but "Catfish," about A's and Yankees pitcher James "Catfish" Hunter, was unreleased until Dylan's bootleg series. The song practically smolders. It gives She Said chills. Dylan did an entire episode of Theme Time Radio Hour dedicated to baseball.
The Treniers, "Say Hey": This song's as fun as playing catch on a spring Saturday. The "say who?" refrain is reminiscent of Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on first?" Count Basie & His Orchestra, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball": Simply put, Jackie Robinson is She Said's favorite baseball hero. Natalie Cole recorded a version of this song for the original soundtrack of Ken Burns' documentary Baseball. The Mountain Goats, "Cubs in Five": Despite the name, it's not really about baseball, but it's catchy as heck and could it be no coincidence that a song about the Cubs is song by a band with the word "goat" in their name?
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