A song cycle telling the history of baseball. Pastime was written and recorded entirely within the month of February 2008 as part of February Album Writing Month (FAWM.org) and Record Production Month (rpmchallenge.com). Complete liner notes are available at http://www.rossdurandmusic.com/pastime.
Baseball did not start out the way we were all told it did.
The first official game played under what would be come the rules of baseball was played between the Knickerbocker club and the "NewYork Nine" at Elysian Field in Hoboken New Jersey (see cover image). By 1870 there was a Professional Players Association and by 1903 there was a World series between teh two major professional Leagues.
Dirt on Your Sox
In 1919, eight members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with professional Gamblers to throw the world series, which they were heavily favored to win. That years eam has since become know as the Black Sox, first made familiar to me the through the film Eight Men Out, based on a notable book of the same name. "The greatest umpire of all" line is purportedly from Shoeless Joe Jackson's last words, he denied having thrown the games till his death, although he did accept money.
Satruday at Fenway
Not a lot to say here, just meant to conjure the era. It was written in response to the week one challange at FAWM 2008, which was to include a day of the week in a title.
What to say about Babe Ruth? There are many references to facts and quotes here. Errata: I goofed on my words when I did the recording - I should have said he made more than the President, but said "mayor." To be fixed in a subsequent recording.
FRom 1887 -1947 blacks were generally not allowed to be members of professional baseball clubs. Black teams did play white teams in post-season barnstorming tours and won by a large margin.
Rookie of the Year
Jackie Robinson was the first black player in the modern major leagues and the first ever rookie of the year. He had been discharged from the army for refusing to sit in the back of the bus and survived a season of unbeievable racial insults on the diamond. "Put your arm around him" is a reference to the action of a fellow player Pee-Wee Reese memorialized by this statue. #42 is retired in all of professional baseball as a tribute to Jackie Robinson.
This call is just too famous to not include, yet I couldn't see how lyrics could possibly add to it. The call is the famous one by Russ Hodges from WMCA-AM. The Giants had staged an amazing season comeback to beat the Dodgers that year.
It Even got to Me
All of this is true.
Out to the Ballgame
In 1979 or 1980 I recall LA Dodger caps being sold at the local Safeway market, but labelled as "Fernando Valenzuela Hats." Although baseball has been commercializing since the first time money was collected as admission for a game - the 80s and 90s seem to have been especially rich in this area.
"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by Jack Norworth, 1908.
Ease up on the Drugs
This was a Songfight! title for the first week of February, 2008. Not much to say here, expect it obviously is in reference to the steroid scandal. I know they are not usually taken with a pill - it just worked better words-wise.
It seems that no matter what strikes baseball - cheating, the war, racism, betting, strikes, steroids - each new season is greeted with optimism. Heck, even the Red Sox finally won the series.
this book-end just made sense.