Let's get this out of the way first thing: yes, the YouTube video for this song (which is a highlight video for the 2009 version of the Little League team "Waitt Interactive Navy Seals"*) is more than four years old. But the song is brand-new to me, having just been brought to my attention by Mike Bates of NotGraphs. So if it's news to me -- the scientifically-proven "most culturally-informed man of all time"** -- I'm assuming I'm far from the only one who has never heard the song before. So I give the gift to all of you. Let's dive deep into this amazing track together. Click the play button on the video and let's go exploring.
This track is actually by The Leonard Lothen Band and comes from their 2006(!) EP America Loves Baseball! You can buy the EP on the iTunes store for just ... let me check here ... four comma ninety-five euros. That's probably cheap! 2006, wow. Okay, so this song has been out for seven years. This is a real Van Gogh situation here.
We begin with some jaunty Hammond organ, not unlike "Center Field" or ANY OTHER SONG ABOUT BASEBALL EVER. But it's clearly a mid-tempo rocker and the musicality isn't important. This deep cut is all about the lyrics, man.
YOU'RE GOD DANG RIGHT. Man, already this could be a Toby Keith track.
It's the greatest game that's ever been played
That's right, I said it and I won't take it back
Don't care whatcha say because I'm givin' you the facts (Jack?)
SPITTIN' HOT FIRE! That's RIGHT. He SAID it. And he WON'T take it back. This guy doesn't care who he offends! He's like the Eminem of music!
????? they think I'm the ?????
And what I'm saying will make you kinda furious
But baseball is the number one sport
lol sure it is buddy
????? dribble up and down the court
This singer isn't always the easiest to understand, but it's clearly he's giving the stink-eye to basketball. That seems unnecessary, dude. Make a song about baseball all you like. It doesn't have to be a diss track for other sports.
(I love baseball)
I REALLY REALLY LOVE THIS GAME
(I love baseball)
ONCE YOU PLAY IT YOU WILL NEVER FEEL THE SAME
Don't oversell it, dude.
At home when I'm watchin' my teevee
Baseball is all I ever wanna see
So please leave me alone, HEY! GET OFF THAT TELEPHONE!
who ... who are you talking to
are you ... can you see me from the past
So I can get into my baseball zone
It involves taking your pants off, right? We've all been "in the baseball zone" if you know what I mean.
My friends think that I'm goin' a little crazy
But they don't seem to understand
My wife thinks that I've gotten real lazy(?)
But I'm a certified baseball fan, 'cause
How does one become a certified baseball fan? Is there a test involved? Is there a fee? They probably kick you out if you start talking about how RBI and batting average are overrated stats.
(I love baseball)
IT'S A GAME I LOVE TO WATCH AND PLAY
A double threat!
(I love baseball)
DON'T CARE WATCHA THINK, I DON'T CARE WHATCHA SAY
Whoa dude, I'm respecting YOUR opinion. Way to be closed-minded.
Then things devolve into a sort of crowd-hype bridge and a BLISTERING guitar solo that is almost certainly accompanied by tremendous guitar face.
If you want to have a good time
If you want to get a little crazy
If you want to holler, scream, or shout,
Strike one, strike two, strike three YOU'RE OUT!
Points to this part in the video for being synced up to shots of children hilariously whiffing. But I'm not sure what they're getting at here. Are they suggesting that one of the selling points of baseball is screaming "Strike one, strike two, strike three YOU'RE OUT!"?
GET OUTTA HERE! I love it when they say that!
Oh, they're just enthusiasts of umpires. Well, do you love baseball or do you love umps? I guess Bud Selig is right: they're an integral part of the game. They're America's loveable screw-ups!
From there the song just repeats the backup singers intoning "I love base ball" as the lead singer does the soft-rock equivalent of scatting over it. Then there's a chord change and the backup singers sound like they're in the chorus of a revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A fitting way to end the song.
And yes, I'd say it's probably the best baseball song ever written. It certainly captures everything great about baseball:
- The ability to watch AND play it
- It being baseball and not another sport
- What the umpires say
Wait, this song isn't really about baseball so much as it's about the guy singing the song.
Well, at any rate, it's still better than Alabama's song about baseball. And that's what really counts here.
* Holy crap, you can have a Little League team called "THE NAVY SEALS"?! When I was a kid, we would have KILLED to have been able to make up our own name. A local middle school when I was a teen was thinking of changing its mascot, so my friends stuffed the ballot box and the winner of the student body suggestions was "THE BOUNTY HUNTERS." The school decided not to change the name after all. My point is that when I start coaching Little League, I will insist that my team be called THE PREDATORS or THE XENOMORPHS or THE JEAN-CLAUDES VAN DAMME or THE UNSTOPPABLE MAULERS or something as cool as THE NAVY SEALS. Thank you, proud grandfather's YouTube video, for being an inspiration to us all.
** This might actually not have been "science" and instead "a dream I had."***
*** By "dream I had," I of course mean "thing I made up."