Relive a night with the band The Baseball Project at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. The venue was filled with the electric energy of baseball enthusiasts and indie rock fans. The Baseball Project, known for blending indie rock with baseball lore, gave a memorable performance.
Warming Up the Crowd: Josh Kantor’s Leadoff Single
The evening began with the iconic sounds of Fenway Park, but we weren’t at the baseball stadium. Instead, the familiar tunes came from the talented fingers of Josh Kantor, the renowned organist for the Boston Red Sox. As he played, the atmosphere in The Sinclair transformed, evoking the feeling of a sunny day at the ballpark.
Kantor’s set wasn’t just about the music; it was a performance in its own right. His witty commentary between songs had the audience in stitches, creating a perfect blend of nostalgia and humor. And just when we thought his set was over, Kantor surprised everyone by joining The Baseball Project for a few songs during their main performance. The fusion of his iconic organ sounds with the band’s indie rock beats was nothing short of magical.
Stepping Up to the Plate: The Baseball Project Hits the Stage
For the uninitiated, The Baseball Project might seem like just another band, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a supergroup with a passion for baseball that’s as deep as their musical roots. With members like Peter Buck and Mike Mills, both of R.E.M. fame, alongside Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, and Linda Pitmon, the band boasts an impressive lineup.
The inception of The Baseball Project can be traced back to R.E.M.’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. It was during this event at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City that McCaughey and Wynn, fueled by their shared passion for baseball, envisioned a unique musical collaboration. They soon roped in Buck for bass duties and Pitmon on drums. By the end of that year, they had recorded their debut album. Their first public appearance was a memorable one, gracing the stage of the Late Show with David Letterman in June 2008, even before their album hit the shelves.
Unwrapping the Future Stars
The back of their baseball cards being sold at the merch table reveal even more intriguing tidbits:
- Steve Wynn: Not just content with breaking musical barriers, Steve once played a single song onstage for 40 minutes, smashing the indie rock record. Off-stage, his Tacos Per Tour (TPT) average was the talk of the town in 2011.
- Scott McCaughey: Scott’s baseball prowess dates back to a memorable 1964 Peewee League All Star Game, where a swinging bunt and a series of errors saw him circle the bases, much to the crowd’s delight.
- Peter Buck: His induction with R.E.M. into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was memorable, not just for the honor but for his audacious act of pitching a Vox AC30 amp into the box seats.
- Mike Mills: Beyond his R.E.M. fame, Mike, affectionately known as “El Presidente,” leads his own band, Mike Mills & The Millsmen featuring Mike Mills.
- Linda Pitmon: Linda’s early tryst with baseball involved a bat, her mouth, and an unexpected visit from the Tooth Fairy.
The Slugging Soundtrack of The Baseball Project
The Baseball Project’s unique blend of baseball-centric themes and indie rock has carved a niche for them in the music world. While some might hastily label them a novelty act due to their thematic focus, a deep dive into their discography reveals a band that’s as serious about their music as they are about baseball.
Their debut album, “Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails,” set the tone for what was to come. It wasn’t just an album; it was a statement. Just listen to “Ted Fucking Williams” or “Gratitude (For Curt Flood).” A declaration of their love for the game, intertwined with the raw energy of indie rock. Songs from this album resonated with both baseball aficionados and music lovers, establishing the band’s unique identity.
Long Before My Time – A song about Sandy Koufax
Following their debut, “High and Inside” further solidified their reputation. The tracks delved deeper into baseball’s rich history, touching on tales of legendary players (like “Ichiro Goes to the Moon”), iconic moments (like “1976”), and the personal connections many of us share with the sport.
“3rd,” not just the base, but their third album, is a testament to The Baseball Project’s musical evolution. With tracks like “¡Hola America!” highlighting the sport’s global reach, “Monument Park” honoring its legends, and “The Baseball Card Song” capturing the nostalgia of collecting, the album offers a rich exploration of baseball’s impact on society. The album wraps with a nod to tradition, featuring a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Their fourth album, appropriately named “Grand Salami Time” after a 4-RBI home run run was released on June 30, 2023. It’s not just an album; it’s an experience. Tracks like “The Yips,” and “Disco Demolition,” and “Screwball” exemplify their knack for blending compelling baseball narratives with infectious rock rhythms. The album’s reception in the indie rock scene has been phenomenal, with critics and fans alike praising its fresh sound and captivating storytelling.
A Band of their Own: The Baseball Project Experience
The Baseball Project is more than just a band; they’re a bridge between baseball’s rich history and indie rock. Their songs dive into the heart of the game, capturing legendary moments and the emotions they evoke. While they resonate deeply with hardcore baseball enthusiasts, their appeal extends to anyone who appreciates compelling stories set to catchy rhythms.
Attending their concerts is akin to being at a vibrant baseball gathering, where music and nostalgia intertwine. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just someone who enjoys lively indie rock, The Baseball Project offers an unmatched musical experience.
Make a Plate Appearance
If The Baseball Project is performing in your city, secure your tickets, wear your cherished baseball cap, and brace yourself for an evening where music and baseball narratives intertwine seamlessly.
Stay updated on The Baseball Project and their latest ventures, delve deeper into their journey, and see what city the band is playing next.
Brett Rudy is a trailblazer in the world of baseball. As the founder of Baseball Is My Life and co-founder of Charity Hop Sports Marketing, he’s dedicated to elevating the sport and supporting the athletes who play it. With a passion for making a difference, Brett has created successful philanthropic initiatives like Charity Wines and 100 Innings of Baseball for ALS. He’s also the mastermind behind the Corked Bat Collection, Cooperstown Classic at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Winterball for Toys for Tots. When he’s not working to improve the game, Brett can be found playing outfield in the Boston Metro Baseball League, living and breathing the sport he loves.