Album: The Baseball Project, Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails (Blue Rose)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Baseball shares with cricket the ability to rouse untold depths of passion.

The Baseball Project realises a shared obsession of Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey from REM's tour band, who drafted in Peter Buck and drummer Linda Pitmon to perform their songs about iconic figures from baseball history, in styles ranging from glam-punk and garage-rock to Tex-Mex croon and country-rock. Wynn and McCaughey divine the symbolic weight of figures like black baseball pioneers Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, Mark McGwire's steroid-assisted plunge from hero to pariah, and, in "Ted Fucking Williams", the way a brilliant hitter's arrogance left him less celebrated than more genial players of lesser talent.

Sometimes, they could be singing about football: listen to the subject of "Gratitude (For Curt Flood)" regretting the legal action that killed his career but enabled subsequent generations of players to grow wealthy and charmless.

Pick of the album:'Ted Fucking Williams', 'Sometimes I Dream of Willie Mays', 'Gratitude (For Curt Flood)'