Tomorrow, Wendy

Not much baseball in this song, but I was revising a passage in Going, Going, Gone where M.E. talks about this song. So here it is.

Obviously he’s not doing so well at this point.

He also alludes to semi-crushing on singer Johnette Napolitano. Yeah, she’s twenty years older (not that that should stop anyone), but in reality when you have a voice like hers, you’re timeless and ageless.

Concrete Blonde tours from time to time. Go see them where there’s a good sound system. (Or not. Just go see them. And tell me, male or female, that you’re not semi-crushing on Johnette afterwards.)

Detroit or Buffalo

Barbara Keith’s old song Detroit or Buffalo sums up spring training for me.

Am I going to make the club come April, or will I get sent back to a minor-league town?

I don’t mean to knock Buffalo, but in baseball it’s not the show. In reality, it’s more like the distance between the Ritz Carlton in New York and a Motel 6 in Effigy, Ohio. But this song… “and I’m taking the train to the end of the line.”

Sorry I couldn’t find a live version.

As a bonus, here’s a recording of Barbara Keith with the band Kangaroo, where she first came to public attention. The Doors were fans, and as a result she opened for The Who and The Doors at a (in)famous live show in Flushing, NY in 1968.

Why infamous? Ever heard The Who’s Sally Simpson, from Tommy? It’s based on a real incident. At that show. A girl rushed the stage trying to touch Jim Morrison, and the cops surrounding the stage clubbed her and left her bleeding, with Morrison protecting her until the band left the stage right afterwards.

Music in an Alternate Universe

Artist Dan Piraro, author of Bizarro, has tunneled his way into an alternate universe where Chuck Berry did not play the guitar.

No, this isn’t some white-guy-shows-black-guy-how-to-play-his-own-music a la the scene in Back to the Future. (Being funny and good-hearted – and the scene is both – doesn’t excuse the casual un-self-aware racism underlying it.)

Rather, Piraro has discovered a universe in which Berry played…

… (wait for it) …

…the tuba!


Click here to see the original full-size.


Baseball Music: Help

Baseball is a team game, and there is no song that cries “team” more than the Beatles’ Help (a John Lennon song).

Here’s a great live version from 1965, complete with John’s snarky intro and some great singing from “the lads.”


Baseball Season

‘Bout time it got here!

I have to say that I like the new rule about avoiding plate collisions. Yeah, I know, some folks have called it a bit wussy… but it’s not their bodies and careers on the line. Baseball may be a contact sport of sorts, but it is not, in Vince Lombardi’s immortal words, a collision sport.

Now I’ve got to find some songs that make me think of baseball and are not Centerfield or one of the endless variants on Mickey, Willie, and the Duke.

Pete Seeger

I knew Pete and had the chance to swap songs with him around… well, around a campfire might be traditional, but it was actually around these tureens of soup his wife used to make.

Who says one man can’t change the world? And change it with a song?

Miss you, Pete.

“The Professor, and Mary Anne”

The Professor, Russell Johnson, has died at age 89.

Yeah, that Professor. From Gilligan’s Island. For many of us, the only professor who actually mattered, who proved you could do the impossible with a couple of coconuts and some random stuff purloined from Mrs. Howell’s impossibly large steamer trunk.

I also know why he couldn’t fix the boat. I mean, if I were stranded on a deserted island with Mary Anne, I wouldn’t fix the damn boat either!

(Turns out he was a local guy too, living across the water from M.E. Sequoyah’s boat in Seattle.)

Rest in peace, Professor. I hope you’ve found your deserted island, that Bob Denver doesn’t share it, and that the Mary Anne of your dreams is waiting for you.

Best News of the Winter While Waiting for “Pitcher and Catchers Report”

News reports suggest that the neighborhood play will not be reviewable.

The “neighborhood play” in baseball occurs on a double play attempt when the pivot man – shortstop or second baseman – takes the throw “in the neighborhood” of the base, drags his foot somewhere near or over (or on) the base, and completes the throw to first. Umpires call the runner out even when one of the following situations occur:

  • The pivot man drags his foot over the bag slightly before catching the ball.
  • The pivot man catches the ball and then releases his throw slightly before dragging his foot over the bag.
  • The pivot man catches the ball alongside the base or behind it and then steps clear of the runner as he throws, as long as there is a point at which he controls the ball while he’s near (within a half step or so of) the base.

Why? Well, if you read Going, Going, Gone, you’ll understand. Narrator and former big-league second baseman M.E. Sequoyah had his knee – and his career – destroyed when he actually planted his foot on the bag during a pivot and the baserunner barreled into his leg. The bag is soft, and spikes get caught in it. The result is that the player’s leg bends in all sorts of unintended directions, resulting in sprains, bruises, broken tibiae or ankles, or damaged medial or anterior collateral ligaments (MCL, ACL) in the knee.

Under baseball’s new (and dumb, but that’s a story for another day) review system, managers can challenge calls, as they do in football. (Because it works so well there. Of course it does.) If umpires were forced by challenges to call the second-base pivot exactingly, we’d see a lot of very expensive ballplayers (can you say Robinson Cano?) lose at least a year and a significant amount of speed and quickness when they got hit by baserunners. I’m grateful that baseball apparently (and I emphasize “apparently,” since this report isn’t confirmed) has decided that this would be an absurd price to pay.

Mystery Song of the Day: Richard Thompson

Once again, I’m forced to return to the great mystery of Who Knows Where the Time Goes.

The late Sandy Denny wrote it, recorded it with The Strawbs in 1967, and then rerecorded it with Fairport Convention (featuring guitarist/writer/misogynist extraordinaire Richard Thompson) in 1969. Here’s Richard Thompson solo playing it live somewhere.

He throws in some interesting chords to go with his open tuning here. Damn, I wish I could play one tenth as well.

This version stands on its own.

Mystery Song of the Day: Nina Simone

Had to hit another version of Sandy Denny’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes – because isn’t that the biggest of the mysteries?

Who better to cover it than the spectacular Nina Simone:

Great song, great artist. That’s a mystery, too, how the magic flows into people like Sandy Denny and Nina Simone. Apologies for not being able to find a live video of this live recording.