October is over, and so is baseball season. CMP was barely aware of this since we stopped paying attention once our teams were all eliminated. Nevertheless, here’s our World Series playlist for those who are still cracking open Buds and cheering on the Phillies (or that other team CMP refuses to acknowledge):
Trace Adkins – “Swing”
This is the new country baseball classic, a favorite at minor league ballparks since its June 2007 release. It’s tough to go wrong with this one, with Adkins’s sultry sneer and the baseball-as-flirting metaphor, not to mention the delightful cross-generational shenanigans in the video. And the infectious hook –– a must for any baseball song –– is as hard to miss and unusually lovable as Adkins’s ponytail.
John Fogerty – “Centerfield”
The original…and rightly so. I have seen this song used in so many wedding/graduation/birthday/bar mitzvah slide-shows as the soundtrack to pictures of the celebrant’s Little League years. The “Casey at the Bat” references, the synthy handclaps and of course Fogerty’s oh-so-distinctive wail throughout…the only proper way to describe it is “American.”
Kenny Rogers – “The Greatest”
Rogers’s slice-of-life baseball anthem is on this list with the same general principle as “Centerfield.” It’s about living the American Dream, the fantasy, being an eager kid ready to follow in the footsteps of the greats, a hearkening to the days back when baseball had creatine-free heroes. The simple plucking, Rogers’s tender harmonies…I’m sure a few tears have been shed to this one.
Billy Bragg & Wilco – “Joe DiMaggio Done it Again”
Actually a cover of an old Woody Guthrie song from the Billy Bragg and Wilco collaborative “Mermaid Avenue” sessions, but the gang brings it with banjos and mandolins for a brief (2:32) bluegrass stomper about one of the greatest men to ever play the game. We especially love this one at CMP.
Dropkick Murphys – “Tessie”
We don’t usually cover bands like the Murphys on CMP, and quite frankly, we’re not the biggest Red Sox fans either. But the bombastic beat, Irish-tinged riffs and drunkenly shoutable chorus are all nice reminders of what baseball still is to so many people, Bostonians or not: a communal experience, a double-shot of civic pride and a raucous good time.
Todd Snider – “America’s Favorite Pastime”
We love Todd Snider. We love the 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates, because of Willie Stargell, their persistent upbeat demeanor and use of sing-a-longs like “We Are Family.” We also love Todd Snider’s tale of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who pitched a no-hitter while tripping on acid. Seriously. We can’t make this stuff up.