Baseball returned this week and appropriately the band The Baseball Project released their third album, named Third. The Baseball Project seems an unlikely collaboration of 80s rockers including two members of R.E.M – Peter Buck and Mike Mills. Good songs about baseball are few and far between with the typical lyrics being cheezy tributes to some moral ideal of the game or a hagiography of great players (see Terry Cashman). The Baseball Project is better than that as the music varies from punk rock to country twang and even talking blues on “The Baseball Card Song.” Lyrically, they celebrate the good and bad of baseball, most vividly in “They Played Baseball” which lists a gallery of baseball’s worst rogues, who someone ended up loving anyway, because, well it’s in the title. Similarly, the troubled life of Lenny Dystrka – one of my favorite Mets when I was a kid – is summed up in “From Nails to Thumbtacks.” Players like Dock Ellis, Alex Rodriguez, Dale Murphy, and the entire Oakland A’s also get their own songs. Then there’s “Extra Inning of Love” which makes baseball metaphors far more sexy than Meat Loaf could ever hope to.
It’s a fun album, worth checking out if you like baseball, good music, and good stories.
“They Played Baseball”
“From Nails to Thumbtacks”
“The Baseball Card Song”
“Extra Inning of Love”
Check out Desert Island Mix Tape for another review of this album.