Sunday, July 31, 2016

212. The Baseball Project

Normally when I go see a concert, it’s easy to explain what sort of concert it is. If it’s a popular band, most people will know it. You’ll discuss the music and the venue. It’s pretty simple. It’s not all that simple with The Baseball Project.

The Baseball Project consists of Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon. They’re a supergroup that’s been a part of multiple bands, including R.E.M. Their songs are unique in that they only sing about baseball. I know that brings out thoughts of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” (which they do a cover of) but they are so much more than that.

They’ve done songs called “Ichiro Goes to the Moon”, “The Panda and the Freak”, and my favorite, “Please Don’t Call them Twinkies.” They’re fun songs about a sport that does its best to limit fun. I can’t remember how I got into them, but I remember listening to their CD’s in my car while I lived in Maryland. (Come to think of it, I probably heard Craig Finn singing the Twinkies song and then I just went from there.)

I went with my friend Mike to The Turf Club in St. Paul. I’d never been to the venue. It was small and its main function was a bar and restaurant. I don’t appreciate those sorts of places enough.

Prior to the show we went to my favorite place in the world, The Neighborhood Cafe. It was fairly quiet, but I guess the 6:45 p.m. dinner on a Saturday isn’t the most busy time. We still had some time to kill before the show so we went to another dive bar down the street. I didn’t remember the name, but it was nice that two beers only cost $7.50

A funny sidenote to this story. Mike and I were sitting near the back at a four-person table. A couple walked in just before the opener came on and asked if they could sit with us. Since we’re not jerks, we said yes. The couple was apologetic and nervous and offered to buy us drinks. Both Mike and I said it wasn’t necessary, but they insisted.

Turns out they were on a first date. Both of them were in their mid-forties. They said they had met on The woman was a short, blonde nurse, while the guy looked like Hank from the show Breaking Bad. Being on many first dates myself, it was kind of funny to witness the process among two people who were a little nervous about it. They left after about 30 minutes.  

The show itself was a lot of fun. I knew about 80 percent of their songs and made sure to sing along. My favorite was singing Ted #$*@($& Williams at the top of my lungs.

After my Friday night that involved just watching Netflix on the couch, this whole evening was a nice change of pace. It was nice to be out, drink beer, observe the world, and sing songs about baseball. The world isn’t such an awful place all the time.

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