Archive for the ‘The Baseball Project’ Category

The Baseball Project – High and Inside (Review)

April 14th, 2011 No comments

The Baseball Project – High and Inside (2 Stars out of 5)

The Baseball Project contains a lot of things that I like.

1)     Baseball

2)     Scott McCaughey – Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows

3)     Steve Wynn – Dream Syndicate

4)     Peter Buck – R.E.M.

5)     A previous album that I enjoyed

So why could I not get around this album?

I have made my thoughts known and will make them known again about great baseball songs. One of the greats, Steve Goodman wrote a couple songs about the Cubs, and yet many Cub fans have no idea who he is. He’s that guy that wrote “Go Cubs Go”, the Budweiser-gulping song written out of spite after Dallas Green, the then general manager called “A Dying Cub Fans Last Request” too depressing.

As a White Sox fan from the other side of the city, I have total respect for Steve Goodman. Goodman’s song sparks that innate aspect of what it means to be a true fan. And yes, it’s depressing sometimes. The “Go Cubs Go” fan isn’t allowed to boo the Cubs and have been successful in marketing the team as a non-baseball entity. “Go Cubs Go” is about as close to baseball as a rectal examination and wouldn’t be a song that I would want on an album.

Now the problem with the album of songs that are written by these boys is that they write a lot of depressing songs that seem to miss the heart of the matter.  They have almost been written in that “Go Cubs Go” mentality and when a couple baseball fans took romantic stories and somehow made them unromantic.

‘1976’ starts off as a name dropping song backed by a pretty average song. True, 1976 had it’s share of characters like Mark Fidrych, but the Baseball Project already legitimized themselves as baseball fans so there is no shock value.

But more often it would be songs like ‘Fair Weather Fans’ that make them reminiscent of the bands that I would catch outside US Cellular Field. Most of the time it would be a second rate Elvis Cover bands, in this case the song with its cheesy saxophone makes me rather get rickrolled.

‘Don’t Call Them Twinkies’? Of course I am going to call them the Twinkies. Craig Finn, from the Hold Steady guests on this track and somehow is able to fit the entire Twins history in four and a half minutes.  Maybe if I was a Twinkies fan I would appreciate it,  but it sounds more like something created by the Twinkies PR department rather than a rockstar.

‘Buckner’s Bolero’ is one of the few and far between tracks that describes the failures of the Red Sox rather than the blame that Bill Buckner received for his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

‘Look Out Mom?’ – Is this a song that we are supposed to sing to? Here we have a song written about mom’s getting hit by foul balls: “Look out Mom! Look out Mom!” is very schlocky and you wonder if this song was written by the MLB Insurance Underwriters.

The album finally finds it’s way nearing the end of the album. It began to feel less like an album written by a band of baseball fans but rather Cub fans.  This was a huge disappointment for me as the follow-up was something that I was looking forward to.

Luckily Steve Goodman was not tarnished in the making of this album but I would consider that the makers consider his work if they plan on making a 3 album unless they are planning on calling it “Whiffed”.

Categories: Music, The Baseball Project Tags: