It's Tuesday, and my baseball team is undefeated. So it's not too late for me to update my list of baseball songs. But first...
My very first major league baseball game(s) were watching the Minnesota Twins in the Metrodome (for School Crossing Guard Day(s). Really). So I was excited to hear The Hold Steady have recorded "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (download at their Myspace page). It's exactly what you'd expect a Hold Steady version of the song to sound like -- half-spoken/half-sung, massive guitar solo. It's also got a shout-out to the Metrodome, which is fine, but maybe Craig and the boys aren't getting the Minnesota papers in Brooklyn -- the Twins are getting a new (open-air) stadium. (Watch MTV's video of Finn recording vocals here.)
It's also a good time to mention Ben Rudnick and Friends' new sampler album The Challenger Baseball Song and Other Hits, proceeds of which will go to benefit the Challenger Division of Little League Baseball. The title track is a zippy Rudnick-ian jam, and the other tracks are a good selection of the band's music. Learn more and listen to sound clips here and here.
There are very few sports-related children's songs that come to mind. I can understand why, as sports like football and hockey require a lot of equipment and are typically for older kids (this is especially the case for football). Basketball and baseball are easier to play, perhaps -- less equipment, introduced at an earlier age. Since the major sports typically become mostly a spectator sport as we grow up, perhaps it's good that there isn't much children's music about sports since a song about watching other people do something is kinda depressing as a kids' song. (It does make me think that the genre of children's soccer songs is a niche waiting to be filled.)
-- "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (well, duh) -- try Wiggleworms Love You, from the Old Town School of Folk Music (nicely bipartisan, cheering for both the Cubs and White Sox)
-- "Baseball Dreams" -- off At the Bottom of the Sea, by Ralph's World (Cubs all the way in this one)
-- "I'm Gonna Catch You" -- off Under a Shady Tree, by Laurie Berkner (it has one relevant line -- "So I jumped into Saturday / And I had a baseball batter-day" -- yeah, I'm really reachin' here)
-- "Centerfield" -- off Centerfield, by John Fogerty (not kids' music, but a great song anyway). See also Visqueen's rendition on the forthcoming Desoto Records kidscomp Play!
-- "Talkin' Baseball -- off countless albums by Steve Cashman, who just re-records and updates his song -- baseball history lesson in 3 minutes
-- "Big Train" -- off the RTT's Turn It Up Mommy!. About Walter "Big Train" Johnson. I'd probably disagree that he's the best pitcher ever, but that's another blog. Good song.
-- "Right Field" -- Peter, Paul and Mary.
-- "Cryin' in the Dugout" -- off Daddy-A-Go-Go's upcoming Eat Every Bean and Pea on Your Plate album. A humorous song -- "Baseball Dreams" played for laughs instead of nostalgia.
-- "The Greatest" -- Kenny Rogers.
-- "Roll Around" -- Peter Himmelman, off of his My Lemonade Stand CD. A fun, rollicking song about a baseball who retires, then comes back to his calling.
-- "Baseball" -- Milkshake, off Play!. Guest-starring Cal Ripkin, Jr.
-- "The Challenger Baseball Song" -- Ben Rudnick and Friends. All about the Challenger Division of Little League, for kids with mental and physical disabilities.
-- "Baseball, Baseball" -- Stephen Cohen, off Here Comes the Band. [Good call, Gwyneth!]
And finally, an artist reviewed here on this very site wrote me to suggest four more songs, including at least one I'm miffed I forgot... the comments in quotes are the artist's, not mine.
-- "Catfish" -- off Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series. I am unfamiliar with this one. But it's Dylan.
-- "Joe DiMaggio’s Done it Again" -– Wilco and Billy Bragg, from their Mermaid Ave Vol. 2
-- "A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request" –- Steve Goodman – "Classic, and very funny." See "Talkin' Baseball," above.
-- "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" -- Brave Combo - "two very cool versions... wacky and fun." It's Brave Combo, how could it not be fun?
If any of you have more suggestions (or can point me to a family-friendly soccer song), leave me a comment.