Happy Opening Day, everybody! For those of us baseball fans (me among them), it’s a glorious holiday. I can now start checking the sports page every day for box scores and standings, mostly to find out how many games out of first my New York Mets are.
And at the very least, it gives us all something to argue about for the next six months.
Inspired by this, I put together a list of the very best of baseball songs, some old, some new. Enjoy the list and listen to the music. Then, add your own in the comments.
(Also, at the very bottom, you can check out the very worst baseball song of all time.)
“Don’t Call Them Twinkies” by Craig Finn of the Hold Steady and the Baseball Project
Finn’s known for his Twins fandom even if he doesn’t live in Minnesota any more. Some of those team nicknames stick, but Finn’s not a fan of the one for the Twins.
“Centerfield” by John Fogerty
It’s the classic song, and maybe an obvious choice, but still a great tune about wanting to get in the game.
“All The Way” by Eddie Vedder
“Don’t let anyone tell you it’s just a game.” Damn right, Eddie. Apparently, Vedder wrote the tune about being a lifelong Cubs fan.
“We’re Talkin’ Softball” from “The Simpsons”
One of the funniest episodes of “The Simpsons” ever was “Homer At The Bat” from the cartoon’s third season. The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant needs a softball team, so Mr. Burns hires some ringers in the form of ’90s-era greats like Darryl Strawberry, Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith and others. Some crazy stuff happens to the players, which is captured in the closing song, “We’re Talkin’ Softball,” a parody of Terry Cashman’s song “Talkin’ Baseball.”
“Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” by Billie Bragg and Wilco
Bragg and Wilco’s recording of the Woody Guthrie tune is all banjo and baseball.
“Take Me Out To The Ballgame” by The Hold Steady
Sure, we’ve heard the original a few times, but The Hold Steady put their own little spin on it. Of course, it has to do with the Twins.
“Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf
Sure, it’s not exactly a song about the game, but the play-by-play by Phil Rizzuto is a great metaphor for trying to score with your girlfriend.
“Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)” — The Treniers
Definitely the best big band tune about baseball and Mays actually appears on the song and sang backup.
* * *
The worst baseball song of all time? That would have to go to one about my Mets – “Get Metsmerized,” a poor attempt by the World Series-winning team to capitalize on the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle.”
How bad is it? Take an excerpt from “The Bad Guys Won,” Jeff Pearlman’s excellent book about the ’86 Mets team: “Picture Vanilla Ice on crack, MC Hammer with half a tongue, and Kurtis Blow without one iota of rhythm. Now put them all together and subtract any remaining shreds of harmony, flow, cadence and talent. Oh yeah – make sure the lyrics don’t exceed a second-grade reading level. That’s ‘Get Metsmerized.’”
It truly is atrocious. But you should listen to it if only for hilarity’s sake.