Walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge tonight, marveling that it was 58 degrees out, and had the inevitable thought.
Y'know, I've sat through three-hour games in far worse weather than this. Why the heck isn't there a game on? Slackers.
When there is (not too long from now), how about some musical changes at the old ball yard? Something to shake up the usual tired blend of screech metal, whompin' jingo-country, chugga-chugga hip-hop and hyperactive salsa, leavened with novelties and hits o' yesteryear accompanied by really easy trivia questions. (If you hear “Born in the U.S.A.,” the hint will be something like “It was the year right after 1983….”)
It's not that all the music is terrible, though most of it is, but that with the exception of the salsa none of it moves. The players' music is mostly young aggro stuff for young aggro guys, and it kind of cuffs you around, but the players get what they want, within reason. (I still wanna know why Braden Looper kept coming out to “Lightning Strikes,” an obscurity from the years in which an Aerosmith show was Steven Tyler falling down onstage while hired guns waved over the EMTs.) But you get whiplash when these various concussions are followed by lowest-common-denominator tunes that sheepishly alternate three years ago's marketing with bleached-out oldies. There have been songs I've heard at Shea and come to like, but usually only because they accompanied good things happening on the field in the late 1990s. I heard “We Like to Party” or “Let's Get Loud” or “Stop the Rock” while we were winning baseball games back then and now I'm as helpless as a dog responding to the bell that he's learned precedes chow. But that's not the same as actually liking these songs — in fact, I can only think of two songs I first heard at Shea and legitimately like in any context: “Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)” and the original, Slade version of “Cum On Feel the Noize,” which was inexplicably popular a couple of years back.
If I was musical King for a Day at Shea, things would be different. Here's a handful of songs I'd love to hear instead of the usual parade of pablum. (Links will lead you to streaming Amazon samples in WMA format. They're supposed to open in their own windows, but that's not happening for some reason that's beyond me.)
* Steve Earle, “N.Y.C.” — More a stomp than a groove, but it would kill as the soundtrack for a video montage for a new player from the sticks. Here's the chorus:
I'm going to New York City
I never really been there
Just like the way it sounds
I heard the girls are pretty
There must be something happening there
It's just too big a town
The camera operators could objectify cute women for the “girls are pretty” line (inevitably freezing their image just after some mook sticks his Yankee hat into the frame), and the song's readily adaptable to a certain gloating over one's own town, which is perfectly honorable in this context. But the clincher? It's the narrator telling the song's hero: “Billy, give 'em hell!” How can this not be Billy Wagner's song?
* The Sugarhill Gang, “Apache” — Here's an experiment. Go to a Sunday matinee at Shea, then head out to Keyspan Park for a Cyclones game. It's just sad how much cooler everything is at Keyspan, even considering there are dizzy bat races and God knows what between innings. (Unhappily, “God knows what” has sometimes included the mascot being rude to my child.) But the Cyclones have more fun, keep the crowd more entertained, have better food and better music. Much better music. Like “Apache.” Scientists have actually proven it's impossible to be completely unhappy as long as “Apache” is playing over a PA system. “Lazy Mary,” on the other hand, has never been cool. Not for a nanosecond.
* The Hives, “Hate to Say I Told You So” — I don't know how a bunch of Swedes managed to pen the perfect song for taunting the opposing team after a manager's visited the mound, left his pitcher in, then had to return to get him after he's given up the big hit, but they did, and we ought to take advantage. (The sample doesn't quite get this across, but trust me.)
* The Figgs, “The Daylight Strong” — Give me a Met highlight reel, this song and access to the Diamondvision and I will create power-pop heaven and an immediate surge in record sales for a criminally unappreciated band: Mets hitting drives on the drum parts, going deep, flexing, etc. There's even a “watch it go round and round” line that would sync perfectly with footage of an umpire signaling home run. Then pair it with the same band's “Reaction,” a song made for alternating shots of good things happening on the field with fans going nuts in the stands.
* Earth, Wind and Fire, “September” — A month of happiness packed into three minutes and 36 seconds. Play it after every September win with pennant-race implications and let karma take over.
Of course it's January, and right now I would pay an inordinately large amount of money to watch us lose 7-2 to the Brewers and wouldn't complain if the PA played a rotation of “Lazy Mary,” “The Best,” “The Final Countdown” and “New York State of Mind.” (OK, maybe not “The Best” — though losing 7-2 to the Brewers would presumably keep it from rearing its gloppy little head anyway.) But summer's coming, and while I can't wait to get back to Shea, I can definitely wait until I have to endure the Blackout Allstars yet again.