THE BASEBALL PROJECT, ALL FUTURE NO PAST, FREE MP3
Sometimes in this day and age, it’s hard to remember the purity and innocence of baseball. Now, I’m not acting like baseball just became a dirty, corrupt game over night. Hell, half the beauty of the game is cheating, and it always has been. From the backyard to barn-stormers to the modern majors, baseball has always been about playing dirty. But somehow, Ty Cobb sharpening his spikes or Mike Scott hiding a nail file in his back pocket doesn’t seem as bad as Sammy Sosa eating a gorilla’s pituitary gland and smoking crystallized adrenalin rock. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.
But, if you follow the season through the Baseball Project’s songs this year, you may grow a little less disenfranchised with Major League Baseball. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super pissed about the DH, and if you ask me about the wealth of the Yankees organization versus the cost of attending a game or even mention the Marlin’s being allowed to wear teal and the Rockies, purple, I’m likely to type the kind of things that would get me banned from every Major League stadium in American and probably a few Foot Locker locations too. BUT, this project could pull me back in a little.
The Baseball Project are a sort of alt-folk supergroup, composed of Peter Buck (REM, the Minus 5, and a bunch of obscure but cool side projects) Scott McCaughey (also REM, the Minus 5, and a bunch of even more obscure but cool side projects), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), and Linda Pitmon (not really sure who this broad is, but if she’s playing drums with these guys, she’s all right with me). In 2008 they released Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quail, which was a collection of songs about baseball legends like Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, and Ted Williams.
However, this year they’re up to something a little different. They’re going to be releasing new songs throughout the season, based on what’s going on. It’s kind of a musical blog following Major League Baseball, and of course, it will appear on ESPN.com
I know it can seem like “new media” has gone too far when menu items at Del Taco have Facebook pages and White House pets have youtube channels, but a musical blog following Major League Baseball by some really talented musicians who love the game for its stifled soul actually seems pretty cool.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to get involved enough to join your fantasy league, so please stop asking. (Last year, by the time we hit the All Star break, 1/2 of my roster was playing for the Richmond Braves and a couple were even down in Macon), but this does seem like a pretty badass merger of both modern and classic communication and the timeless connection to baseball. Plus, you don’t have to deal with multimillion dollar advertising campaigns for $200 Nikes or fake viral videos of Ochocinco running naked through the park—just some really talented guys who love the game of baseball, singing about it.
In fact, I think I’m actually going to cheer for the Cubs this year, on the off chance that if they do well, Jeff Tweedy may sing on one of the songs, given his involvement with Buck and McCaughey in the Minus 5.
I know what you’re thinking, “well, if Peter Buck and that other guy from REM are doing it, what about Michael Stipe?” Well, Michael Stipe’s down for a lot of weird stuff, but it would appear writing an album’s worth of songs based on current events in Major League Baseball is not one of them. Perhaps an EP based on the goings-on in experimental independent German cinema studying adolescent use of eye makeup expressed in interpretative dance, but not baseball. By the way, Stipe’s EP would rock too.
You can pick up the song for free here.