Things You Could Have Done During the All-Star Break
by Scott Long
I worry about some of the readers here during the Monday and Wednesday of the All-Star break. Here are a few things that you could have done to keep your sanity during the summer days without a ballgame.
Let's start with a baseball book. You should read Buzz Bissinger's (yeah, that guy) Three Nights in August. It's not a perfect book, as Bissinger's dislike of Moneyball elements demonstrate. Even if you have a sabermetrical view of the game, it is hard to deny the charms of the story he tells. His access to Tony La Russa provides for insight in the game I've never read anywhere else. While both Bissinger and La Russa have in common one majorly flawed viewpoint, (hatred of bloggers and delicious meat products, respectively) they are very talented people at what they do best. (NOTE: I listened to this as a book on CD and here's the beef. The author should listen to his narrator's work before it is released. In it, Bruce Sutter has his name pronounced like Sutter Home wine. I listened to a John Feinstein book on CD where the narrator made numerous mistakes, including referring to Jay Bilas as Buy-les. These are well-known sports figures, so before you hire some Broadway actor type to narrate, consider that they might need a spotter.)
Finally a music release that even Bob Timmerman could pull himself away from his blog to listen to. A new supergroup called The Baseball Project. If you were looking for songs about Harvey Haddix and Curt Flood, here is your band. Has a late 80's alternative sound to it, which is what you would expect when you have guys from REM, Young Fresh Fellows, and the Dream Syndicate coming together.
While not singing about baseball, noted Minnesota Twins fan's The Hold Steady just released their newest and you should definitely download it. I'm guessing it will be in my Top 10 at the end of the year. The greatest bar band in the World!
Can you be funny and sound good. Rarely, but here are 2 videos that do. I'm not as big of a fan of The Flight of the Conchords as many other hipsters are, but I do really dig the 70's soul vibe on Ladies of the World. The Floaters meet Ween? Maybe. The other cool video I ran across was from the Band of HorsesNo One's Gonna Love You. The broken bottle slap-stick of the video doesn't exactly fit the Flaming Lips-like tune, but it works for me.
I would guess that most here would hate the new Showtime reality show, I Can't Believe I'm Single, but I find it fascinating. The show follows the incredibly self-absorbed world of writer/actor/director Eric Schaeffer, who shares details about himself that he really should resonsider. (Read his blog if you want to get a taste of what I'm discussing.) I might be one of the few people who even saw his failed show on FX, Starved, but I really dug it as well, because he shows a side of men that you never see on TV. This being the bulimic, tranny-lovin', colonic-addicted, neurotic and self-absorbed straight male. Come to think of it, maybe you don't see a character like him because he is the only person on the planet that has all of these traits? Just another example of how Showtime is killing HBO with its original programming.
I realize that the games start back on Thursday, so you probably don't have enough time to check these suggestions all out, but take a little time away and think about something besides just baseball. Really, it's healthy. Joe Buck wasn't completely wrong.