Everybody's done it. For an entire baseball season, people have not only been saluting "The Captain," Derek Jeter, but giving this multi-millionaire expensive gifts and tons of money. He goes to a town to play a few games, and the opposing team gives him a car, or a big check for his charity organization, or some silly space-wasting trinket like a painting of himself or a trophy.
Isn't it nice that thanks to technology and the Internet, one can give a gift that takes up no space? And costs nothing to the giver? Here ya go, Derek, a download of "Talkin' Baseball," the Yankees edition.
The song, basically just a list of player names, reflects just how deeply sports fans take their favorite game and "heroes." No matter the country, and whether it's football, soccer, tennis, or bouncing 50 feet on a race track wearing metal blades, people admire SPORTS HEROES.
Pardon me while I elaborate on how this goes well beyond a novelty song of player names.
One of the strangest things about baseball is the amount of inane souvenir-collecting and memorabilia connected to it. Go on eBay and you'll see it..."relic" cards with a piece of shirt glued to it, autographed (forged) baseballs (usually backed up by some claim of "forensics!") and sweaty crap and inert wood used in games ("authentic jersey...a bat used in the game...a glove...).
Many baseball fans are transvestites. A transvestite derives pleasure from wearing unlikely garments. Nothing is more unlikely than a fat, out of shape slob going to a baseball game wearing the jersey, or ENTIRE UNIFORM of his favorite player. What the fuck, it's not even Halloween. You're DRESSING UP for the vicarious thrill of PRETENDING TO BE WHAT YOU ARE NOT?????
Many baseball fans are latent homosexuals. Or something. Why, WHY in the world, collect little cards with MEN'S PICTURES ON THEM?? You'd think it would be a phase, and one might outgrow it, but, no, baseball cards are feverishly collected by adults, and huge amounts of money are spent on shameless fake-collectibles like "silver edition" cards, "limited edition" ones, ones with some piece of shiny shit or hologram on it, etc. The bottom line is still...the worship and fascination of collecting cards with MEN on them, often their faces. I must confess that I have some baseball cards, myself, but not the new guys. I mostly collect cards of ugly vintage players (Don Mossi is a favorite) and ones with odd names (John Wockenfuss, for example).
Totally within the bounds of a psychiatrist's couch, talking about odd names...is the warm, fuzzy glow baseball fans have in just SAYING THE NAMES OF THEIR FAVORITE PLAYERS. It's almost pornographic. If a woman set up a "dirty talk" phone line, and merely purred, "Van Lingle Mungo..." she'd make a fortune.
Van Lingle Mungo, a little known player, was made famous via a mournful jazz-pop tune that collected player names. This led to "Talkin' Baseball," an irritatingly catchy Terry Cashman number that bounced along with nothing but the names of players. Few of them were particularly amusing, like Herb Hash. It didn't matter. And it led to the piece below, the YANKEES edition.
All seriousness aside, I was vaguely caught up in the 20th, and last season of Derek Jeter. I made sure to catch his last game at Yankee Stadium. In one of the most famous storybook endings in baseball history, reliable David Robinson managed to blow a save (that's a term, not a person), gave up several homers (none of them Simpson) and set up the "bottom of the ninth" for Derek to win the game. Nevermind that the Yankees, yet again, didn't make the playoffs. It was a triumph for Derek Jeter, who certainly is a classy guy. I mean, he gives autographed baseballs to the chicks who happily do a one-night stand with him.
The good thing is that for 20 years, Jeter never flaunted his enviable sex life, was NEVER thrown out of a game for arguing with an ump, and quietly tallied up remarkable stats that will be in the record books and "Hall of Fame" forever. My favorite thing about him, is that he insisted on playing a tape of Bob Sheppard when he came to bat. Sheppard, "The Voice of God," was the Yankees stadium announcer for probably 80 years. He had a distinctive voice. If not the "Voice of God," it could've been the voice of St. Peter announcing people through the pearly gates. When Bob died, and a new, boring announcer arrived (same situation recently with Don Pardo being replaced on "Saturday Night Live"), Jeter didn't allow it. He went with Yankee tradition. Sheppard's voice, on tape, continued to announce, "Now batting for the New York Yankees, Number Two, Derek Jee-ter."
It's kind of odd how something as unimportant as a "game" can become inspirational, and such a part of life (even in the off-season). It's downright peculiar that singing a bunch of baseball player names can bring a smile, an almost post-coital satisfaction to some people. Including you? Download this and find out...