Tonight is one of my favorite nights of summer. Tonight in Kansas City, the best of the best in Major League Baseball will face off in the midsummer classic – The 2012 All-Star Game. Why do I love it so much? From the storied history of teams that have existed for over 140 years, to the finesse of a curve ball, to the smells of the baseball stadium (the grass, the hotdogs, the hot summer sun), it’s safe to say I love just about everything about this game.
Maybe it’s just because I grew up about an hour away from the actual cornfield-baseball field from “Field of Dreams” in Iowa, but I love that movie because it reminds me that “the one constant through all the years… has been baseball.” Even though we may watch the games in HD from our satellite dishes and smart phones instead of listening on the radio, the game itself has stayed the same. Just as fans did 100 years ago, I jump to my feet at the crack of a bat against a fastball, I cheer a runner home from third, I feel the power of the crowd, 40,000 strong, on a full count pitch.
So many of my baseball memories are intertwined with music, and when I first started working with orchestras I sought out The Baseball Music Project who hold concerts celebrating this “unique love affair” between music and baseball. They explore the history of baseball and music, which “have been indelibly intertwined since the sport’s inception.” Did you know that over 2,500 songs have been written about baseball? And did you know that Babe Ruth was a pianist? And that Bronson Arroyo plays the guitar?
In honor of the midsummer classic, I wanted to share a few of my favorites baseball music:
Robert Redford hitting a homerun into the lights at the climax of “The Natural” just wouldn’t be the same without Randy Newman’s score.
As a Cubs fan, I am bound by my allegiance to my team to share a Harry Caray rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”
The great John Fogerty’s “Centerfield,” with the great chorus “Oh, put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today, Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today, Look at me, I can be centerfield.”
Terry Cashman “The Balladeer of Baseball” famously sang “Talkin’ Baseball,” and has re-recorded it with lyrics for most major league teams. My favorite version combines three of my favorite things – baseball, music and “The Simpsons.” In this parody, “Talkin’ Softball,” he references the baseball players who lent their voices and likenesses in the episode “Homer at the Bat.”
For those Red Sox fans out there (BEAT THE YANKEES!) “Tessie” by The Dropkick Murphys.
And just because I love that old-timey, big band baseball music, here’s a short little version of Johnny Frigo’s Chicago Cubs fight song from 1969, “Hey Hey Holy Mackerel”
What are YOUR favorite baseball tunes?