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The Baseball Project
Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails

01. Past Time

When Campy Campaneris played all nine positions in a game.
When Pete Rose demolished Ray Fosse he was never the same.
31 wins and an album on Capitol for Denny McLain.

So long ago,
so long,
Pastime,
are you past your prime?

The DiMaggios(1,2,3), Shoeless Joe, Minnie Minoso, Yo La Tengo.
Luis Aparicio and Nellie Fox made the Sox go go.
The sideburns of Pepitone and Oscar Gambleís afro.

So long ago,
so long,
Pastime,
are you past your prime?

One thing you can say about time is that it always passes.
One thing you can say about the game is that itís not getting any faster.
You can get tangled up in a ball of rubber bands and twine,
the cowhide and pine tar, snuff, spit and chalk dust lines.
Two round-trippers and a nohitter, thatís Rick Wise (not Bobby Wine).

So long ago,
so long,
Pastime,
are you past your prime?

02. Ted Fucking Williams
Everyoneís so kind and humble. Donít you know that I can see right through it?
Keeping all their comments down. You know it ainít a boast if you can do it.
And everyone says ďSay Hey
And everyone says ďdid you see that kid play?Ē
Iíve got to give the kid a hand but thereís nothing that he can do better than I can.

Iím Ted Fucking Williams!

People say itís hard to like a man who doesnít fail and show heís a human.
But failureís not a sign of grace. It only means you donít know what youíre doing.
And everyone says ďhey Mick
Mantle this, Mantle thatóit makes me sick.
Itís just so hard to see. Why do they like him better than me?

Iím Ted Fucking Williams!

And everyone says ďhey Duke!Ē like everything I did was some kind of fluke.
I gotta give the Duke a hand but thereís nothing that he can do better than I can.
Iím Ted Fucking Williams!

03. Gratitude (for Curt Flood)
Now everyoneís walking like theyíre rolling in dough.
Throwing all their money around just for show.
Acting like everything is coming to them and knowing that more is just around the bend.
But Iím the one who paved the way and laid my body in the road so you can walk on it today.
I stood right up when they tried to put me down.
Youíre so high up, you forget to look down!

You call that gratitude?

Iím the well-paid slave and the roads that I paved took my career, thatís just what I gave.
Five years later they were rolling in clover but nothing for me, my career was over.
If Iíd been born just a generation later I could have settled up with an arbitrator.
Iíd be wearing fur coats if I were rich with a ďbum-bum-bitty-bitty-bumĒ

You call that gratitude?

On the day that I died and they laid me in the ground where was everybody?
They couldnít be found.
Iím gone and they donít know my name.
No plaque, no speech, no hall of fame.
A-Rod, Zito, Posada, Tejada, Johan, Manny, Maddux, Mussina.
Whoís the one who paved the way with blood?
Go say my nameóitís (Flood!) Curt Flood!

You call that gratitude?

A-Rod, Zito, Posada, Tejada, Johan, Manny, Maddux, Mussina.
You call that gratitude?

04. Broken Man
We all need to gain the upper hand.
An edge to do even better than we can.
No one seemed to care when it brought back the fans.
It’s a broken record, strike up the band for the broken man.

A crowd so loud and a son so very proud.
The powers that be counting money, handing me a crown.
Only now they decide that it’s time to take a stand.
It’s a broken record, strike up the band for the broken man.

You can say I cheated; prop me up defeated.
Take a swing at me and the others too, if you’ve got nothing better to do.

There’s a street not far away that’s named after me.
But my present and future is a gated community.
Leave your past behind if you really want to understand.
It’s a broken record, strike up the band for the broken man.

You can say I cheated; prop me up defeated.
Take a swing at me and the others too, if you’ve got nothing better to do.

We all need to gain the upper hand.
An edge to do even better than we can.
No one seemed to care when it brought back the fans.
It’s a broken record, strike up the band for the broken man.


05. Satchel Paige Said
Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
Satchel grew up in a shotgun shack, and he had a pile of shotguns too.
He carried so many bags on a pole that he looked just like a satchel tree.
Satchel Paige and the Brown Bambino – that’s an everlasting battery.

And we don’t look back.
We don’t carry on.
And we don’t sit still or we might rust, but at the same time, we don’t run.
And we don’t look back.

Satchel Paige said “I could never be late.
They could hardly start the game without me.
”Satchel Paige didn’t get riled up, though his stomach surely had the miseries.
So if you follow these few simple rules, you might have a long productive run.
Satchel pitched about a million games.
No one ever did what he has done.

And we don’t look back.
We don’t carry on.
And we don’t sit still or we might rust, but at the same time, we don’t run.
And we don’t look back.

And we don’t look back.
We don’t carry on (in society).
And we don’t sit still or we might rust, but at the same time, we don’t run.
And we don’t look back.

06. Fernando
Yo trabajo en Chavez Ravine donde mi gente perdieron sus casas vente anos pasado.
Y ahora todo el mundo me quiere pero nadie sabe lo que yo hablo despues del partido.

Fernando, Fernando!
Te necesitamos ahora.
Ahora, ahora.

Dicen que fue un mania--Fernandomania!
Y por que me quiere tanto cuando hoy no le gusta mi gente cuando no estan jugando el juego Americano.

Fernando, Fernando!
Te necesitamos ahora, ahora.
Ahora, ahora.

Le gente dicen, ďdevuelvenseĒ y por que cuando hemos vivido aqui por tantos anos.
Pero en Ď81 me quiere, me quiere y ahora que ha cambiado.
Quiero saber.

Fernando, Fernando!
Te necesitamos ahora, ahora.
Ahora, ahora.

Fernando, Fernando!
Te necesitamos ahora, ahora.
Ahora, ahora.

07. Long Before My Time
The summer game has let me down, standing lonely on the mound.
A crossroads only I can see between oblivion and destiny.
My mind and body say Iím done but something says I must go on.
Conventional wisdom does implore you give it all and then give some more.
Summer slowly turns to fall.
Itís so hard to walk away from it all long before my time.

My agent says I need to move.
What do I have left to prove?
I falter when I hold my ground.
For a couple of bucks you can keep me around.
Youíre only young just once,
I know but history will always show you pad your best days with the chaff--A faded tarnished photograph.
Summer slowly turns to fall.
Itís so hard to walk away from it all long before my time.

I stop and change my mind most everyday,
It's better to burn out or fade away.
Dandy Don and Warren Spahn tell me that I must go on.
I must go on, I canít go on, I must go on, I canít go on.
Summer slowly turns to fall.
Itís so hard to walk away from it all long before my time.

08. Jackieís Lament
If I ever get the chance Iíll let them know just how I feel.
Iíd like to speak my mind but that just wasnít in the deal.
Itís never easy being first to walk down any road.
Iíd trade the glory just to crawl out from this heavy load.
You should hear the things they say behind my back
and when I turn the other cheek, they only sharpen their attack.

If I ever get the chance Iíll let them know just how I feel.
Iíd like to speak my mind but that just wasnít in the deal.
I run the race but now i find the race is running me.
I try to keep my cool but all this heat wonít let me be.
No matter how hard or well I played, I can tell you that I never had it made.

I only want to play the game.
I only want to make my name for others who never had the chance.
Laid out like some sacrificial lamb,
a long and lonely road until I steal my way back home again.
If I ever get the chance Iíll let them know just how I feel.
Iíd like to speak my mind but that just wasnít in the deal.

And hereís to you, Mr. Robinson!

09. Sometime I Dream Of Willie Mays
Itís 1965.
Me and my Dad, Mac.
50 miles to Candlestick in our green VW van.
A Giants-Dodgers pennant race.
Mays and Koufax face to face.
Sometimes I dream of Willie Mays and tell him I was there.
Sometimes I dream of Willie Mays, and the sun comes out and the fog lifts and heís there.

Now itís 1973, right across the bay.
Playing right field for the Mets, a ball goes through his legs.
I cheer the Aís to victory, but that was something I never wanted to see.
Sometimes I dream of Willie Mays and tell him I was there.
Sometimes I dream of Willie Mays, and the wind dies down, and the sun comes out, and the fog lifts, and heís there.

In 1954 I was born into this dream.
The kind thatís always black and white, like an old news reel Iíve seen.
A mile away in the Polo Grounds, he pulls it in and spins himself around.
Sometimes I dream of Willie Mays and tell him I was there.
Sometimes I dream of Willie Mays, and the wind dies down, and the sun comes out, and the scoreboard works, and the fog lifts, and heís there.
And Iím there.
And heís there.
And Iím there.

10. The Dzath Of Big Ed Delahanty
Sometimes, hungover, he might lose a pop fly in the glare of the Washington sun.
And yes, he swung at bad pitches, and let the Irish in him sharpen up and boozy-bloat his tongue.
Nights on the road he led a bachelorís life, with the bright short blaze of a shooting star.
But he soaked some homersóyeah, four in one game--when the ball was dead and the fences far.

Big Ed donít let them weigh you down.
Big Ed donít let us weigh you down.

In July 1903 he was hitting .333; for him that was a little bit under par.
On the 2nd he jumped the team and jumped a train from Detroit to New York, went straight for the dining car.
He was boozing it up good, they say, making trouble, cursing, shouting, Delahanting in the bar.
At Fort Erie, Ontario, he was bumped from the train, wandered out on the international bridge but he didnít get too far.

Big Ed donít let them weigh you down.
Big Ed donít let us weigh you down.

The night watchman said heíd seen a man, ended up wearing his bowler hat; he heard a splash but he didnít see him fall.
For a week no one found a clue of him.
What goodís it do to question death when it makes a bad call?
But I donít think he killed himself. I think some strange notion drew him to Niagara Falls,
across the curve of day and night, like the perfect arch of a high fly ball.
11. Harvey Haddix
May 26, 1959 in Milwaukee on the mound.
Harvey Haddix of the Pirates was mowing Ďem down.
27 up, 27 gone.
Nine innings in the book and not a man had gotten on.
Now, in history only 17 have thrown a perfect game.
A most exclusive club and a most exalted fame.
But after nine the Pirates hadnít scored.
A perfect game and still old Harvey had to pitch some more.

David Wells, David Cone, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Tom Browning, Charlie Robertson.
Don Larsen in the series in 1956.
Why donít we add old Harvey to that list?

10th inning down, 11th inning down, he moved on to the 12th.
Three straight outs and the fans were pinching themselves.
The best game ever pitched and still a scoreless tie!
Poor Harvey had to carry on and give it one more try.
Thirteenís never lucky so you can guess the rest.
Harv gave up a hit and then he lost the whole contest.
I wonder how he slept that night knowing how close he came to a most exclusive club that should include his name.

David Wells, David Cone, Randy Johnson, Addie Joss, Kenny Rogers, Mike Witt, Dennis Martinez.
Don Larsen in the series in 1956.
Why donít we add old Harvey to that list?

The search for perfection is a funny thing, at least as Iíve been told.
It drives you nuts, it makes you curse and eats away at your soul.
Sometimes better isnít better, sometimes justice just ainít served.
Sometimes legend isnít laid where itís most deserved.
But humanity is flawed as the losers will attest.
Weíre drawn to tragic stories, the ones that suit us best.
But for 12 innings on that fateful day, old Harvey was a God.
A perfect game if nothing else because perfectionís always flawed.

David Wells, David Cone, Lee Richmond, Monte Ward.
Len Barker against the Jays and Catfish for the Aís.
Don Larsen in the series in 1956.
Why donít we add old Harvey to that list?

David Wells, David Cone, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Tom Browning, Charlie Robertson.
Don Larsen in the series in 1956.
Why donít we add old Harvey to that list?
Why donít we add old Harvey to that list?
Why donít we add old Harvey to that list?

12. The Yankee Flipper
Heís a friend of the Smithereens, an old pal of Eddie Vedder.
For a good few years there werenít any pitchers better.
He loved R.E.M. and he played a Rickenbacker guitar,
but for a night on the town with Mike Mills you get hit pretty hard.

Mike and I met up with Dennis Diken and Black Jack somewhere.
As this was New York City, you may have heard they have a few bars there.
Jack loved the Replacements, and we drank enough that we became them.
Two guitars, bass and drums--yeah our line-up was the same then.

He was crowned the Yankee Flipper by the foul ball of fame.
He gave 50,000 fans the finger, but weíd like to share a little bit of the blame.
It was Spike and Mike and Black Jack and me.

Iím told Jack ended up on the cold tiles of the floor,
with his mom who was visiting banging on the bathroom door.
Next time he took the mound was not a pretty sight,
and Iíve always figured it had a lot to do with that night.

He was crowned the Yankee Flipper by the foul ball of fame.
He gave 50,000 fans the finger, but weíd like to share a little bit of the blame.
It was Spike and Mike and Black Jack and me.

The photos filled every front page of the morning editions.
Now heís the poster boy for a grand baseball tradition.
Templeton, Tejada, Billy Martin and Albert Belle--from old Hoss Radbourne all the way to David Wells.

He was crowned the Yankee Flipper by the foul ball of fame.
He gave 50,000 fans the finger, but weíd like to share a little bit of the blame.
It was Spike and Mike and Black Jack and me.

13. The Closer
I sit on my ass and watch the game like everybody else.
And when itís on the line, thatís when they take me down from the shelf.
You think this kind of pressure is easy?
Youíre just kidding yourself.
All my heroes had colorful names and a bad attitude,
short-lived fame with an even shorter fuse.
Everything to gain and nothing to lose.

If youíre only in it for a little while youíd better make it count.
If you canít stand the heat youíre gonna have to get out.

Iíd pitched 5 days straight.
They didnít want to bring me in.
My arm was hamburger meat.
They didnít want to bring me in.
Bases loaded, nobody out, they had to bring me in.
Some hot-shot rookie!
They didnít want to bring me in.
Switch-hitting batting champ!
They didnít want to bring me in.
MVP! Strike 3!
My work was done again.

If youíre only in it for a little while youíd better make it count.
If you canít stand the heat youíre gonna have to get out.

If you want to hate my guts, thatís all right by me.
If you think youíve got my number, thatís all right by me.
But youíre gonna have to stand in against me, and then weíll see.

xx. Blood Diamond

 
xx. Golden Sombrero

 
xx. The Ballad of Mike Kekich And Fritz Peterson

 

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