Look, it’s been slow blogging the past week or so. I could break down the Zack Greinke extension, but I don’t exactly see that drumming up hits. Instead, I figured I’d take the opportunity to share my thoughts on a cool song.
Much has been said of baseball as a vehicle for political and social change, or at the very least a mirror of our society. We all know the stories of pioneers like Jackie Robinson and Curt Flood. I believe it was Gerald Early who said in Ken Burns’ Baseball that America will be remembered for three things: The Constitution, jazz and baseball. That quote always stuck with me for some reason.
Let’s face it, though: For whatever reason, our affinity for our national pastime has not translated well onto record. Most baseball-related songs are corny, dated, unforgettable, or any combination therein. I don’t mind saying Life Outside the Diamond Is a Wrench borrows its title from one of the better baseball songs ever written in my not-so-humble opinion (Belle & Sebastian’s “Piazza, New York Catcher”), and it’s not really a baseball song at its core — the way Field of Dreams is perhaps not really a baseball movie.
Well here’s one that is decidedly not corny: Main Source’s “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball.” Well, maybe it is corny in that ironic way that early ’90s rap has not aged very well. The rhymes are rudimentary and the beats are not what you’d hear The Neptunes churning out.
But it’s something of a social protest song, with rapper Large Professor calling out the injustice of police brutality, gun violence and poverty with clever double entendres. It speaks to some very real issues that, unfortunately, are still relevant today nearly 20 years after its recording.
Truth be told, you’re going to hear this one at the ballpark during the seventh-inning stretch. Like the short-lived group that penned “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball,” the song has been lost in history’s shuffle, nothing more than a choice cut by a cult-favorite rap act. But it’s a thoughtful song, one a baseball fan will appreciate for its clever extended metaphors.
Next on my rainy-day review list will be The Baseball Project’s Volume I: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails.
Actually, this is not a reintroduction, nor is my name Hov.
Welcome to Life Outside the Diamond is a Wrench, the official blog of yours truly, MLB.com editorial producer Dan Mennella. If you’re wondering exactly what it is I do, I suppose I would best be described as a copy editor for the 21st Century. I edit stories for accuracy and style, write headlines and lead-ins, cut photos, and handle a variety of similarly editorial tasks.
After toying with the idea of launching an MLBlog for a handful of months, I bit the bullet. So, here I am. I won’t provide much here in the way of scoops pertaining to transactions and the like — I’ll leave that for the experts who cover MLB’s 30 clubs — and what little I am privy to before it’s public knowledge, I’m usually embargoed from discussing. So, for the sake of my job security, don’t expect any hot news.
What I hope to post though, are my thoughts, musings and analysis of many things baseball and much more, including (but not limited to) movies, books, television and enertainment in general. As far as I can tell, I’m the first EP to launch an MLBlog, so hopefully I can provide a unique perspective.
If you’re wondering about the blog’s title, it’s a reference to Belle & Sebastian’s “Piazza, New York Catcher,” from 2003’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress. It’s a great indie folk song, one well worth a listen in my not-so-humble opinion. Its lyrics are fun to decode, with oblique references to love, baseball, history, pop culture and much more. As Shrek might say, it’s layered like an onion.