Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Woo, woo, woo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away
Fifty years ago today, Simon & Garfunkel’s song, “Mrs. Robinson,” debuted on the Billboard charts. The iconic lyrics referencing Joe DiMaggio have been much discussed. In fact, after DiMaggio’s death in 1999, Paul Simon wrote about the meaning of the lyrics and the impact of DiMaggio on the nation. Simon’s words still ring true today: “In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about private sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence.”
Seems like there are no MLB games scheduled for tonight. It’s been two days since the All-Star game, and the Triple A and Eastern League all-star games were yesterday. So what are we supposed to do tonight?
There are probably chores to do, books to read, or other things that we could be doing. But if you need a baseball fix, why not listen to The Baseball Project? (One of the most awesomest bands ever!) Since the All-Star Game was in Miami, and since Pitbull sang before the home run derby, I figured the Baseball Project’s song about Cuban baseball defectors was appropriate.
My last post about walk-up songs got me thinking about music and baseball more generally. Obviously, music is an important part of the baseball experience. But baseball has also had an impact on music – and still does.
It is estimated that more than one thousand songs have been written about baseball. The very first one may have been “The Baseball Polka,” composed in 1858 by J.R. Blodgett. Sure, some of these are from are from by-gone days, but many have been written by guys we’ve actually heard of, too, like John Fogarty. Ok, perhaps that’s still the olden days for some of you. However, baseball’s presence is still felt in today’s music. Though presumably not about baseball at all, the title of Death Cab for Cutie’s “No Joy in Mudville” clearly pays homage to the classic poem, “Casey at the Bat.” Then there’s “The Best” by Five for Fighting, which was on the sound track for the 2006 animated baseball movie, “Everyone’s Hero.” It gets to the true essence of baseball:
What kind of love is the best kind of love?
The one above all the rest of the loves?
Grab a hat, a bat, a ball and a glove
It’s the love that I feel for you.
Now if this isn’t a clear indication of the great sociological impact of baseball, I don’t know what is. I mean, how many songs have been written about golf?
“… the walk-up song is also an essential part of a player’s brand and, along with this batting stance, a chance for personal expression. Thus, the music played when a home players walks to the plate can be an explanation of self, audition for support, anticipation of the moment, exhibition of beats, proclamation of faith or fodder for pranks.” ~ Joe Lemire, Sports Illustrated
Lately I’ve been contemplating the sociology of the walk-up song. I have to admit, I tried to identify the Orioles’ walk-up songs when I was at Camden Yards a few weeks ago, but couldn’t quite figure them out. Fortunately, other writers and bloggers have that covered. With just a little Google-ing I found out some of the walk-up songs for the Orioles, the Reds, and the Red Sox.
I’m not sure when I first recognized the fact that there were walk-up songs. And no one really knows when the tradition started, though some say it was made popular by the movie, Major League (in which Charlie Sheen’s character made his way to the mound to the song, “Wild Thing”). Yet clearly there are sociological and psychological impacts of one’s walk-up song choice. The song a player selects represents who he is, or at least helps psych him up for his job. Choosing the right song is essential. Some players, like Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies, even turn to their fans for suggestions.
Many of us go through life imagining our theme music playing in the background. If I had a walk-up song, it would be “She’s a Rebel,” by Green Day, or maybe “The Last of the American Girls.” What’s your walk-up song? And what does it say about you?