The smell of the grass, the crack of the bat, the aroma of hot dogs and brats, the taste of a cold beer on a hot day, these are things I love about baseball. I know football (American style) is the more popular sport these days here in the states, but call me old fashioned, but there is just something about baseball that I love. I’m not sure what drew me to the sport at an early age. I don’t know if it was crawling up in my old man’s lap and watching a Braves or Cubs game on TV when I was barely old enough to understand the sport, or the fact that I started playing baseball when I was 6 and continued all the way through High School, when my bad attitude (I once told a coach to fuck himself, not good), grades (I was a snot nosed punk my Freshman and Sophomore years) and arm injuries finally caught up to me and kept me from going on to college on a scholarship.
I know a lot of people don’t care for it, but to me it’s a game of immense skill (ever try hitting a fastball coming at you at 85 mph, let alone the 90′s most MLB’s see with a stick?) and a game of logic. You have to try to out think the pitcher, is he brave enough to throw you a curve on a 3-1 count? Watching all the little match ups within the game is incredibly exciting to me. For me, there is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than at the ball park with a buddy or two, tossing back a few cold ones and scarfing down on some of the most expensive hot dogs you will ever find.
I would be lying if I said one of the reasons I chose to move to Denver to finish my degree wasn’t the fact that they had a MLB team. Growing up where I did, there wasn’t any close MLB teams. We did have a short season Rookie League team, which is great as well, but growing up, I desperately wanted to see an real MLB game. It wouldn’t be until ’97 that I would get my chance. My then g/f (and future baby’s mother) and a couple buddies drove from Salt Lake to Denver to catch a Pirates (my favorite team) and Rockies game. The Pirates would lose and ironically what I didn’t know at the time, I would be going to Rockies game on the regular in about 8 years, but it was an incredible moment for me. The second game I caught was with my current g/f in Los Angeles for a Dodgers and Cubs game. Funny thing about that, we didn’t get to the game until the second inning because we were…..uhhh….doing things that caused us to be late and the only run scored that game was a Sammy Sosa solo shot in the first inning.
I moved to Denver in Jan of ’04 so I was PUMPED to hit up opening day for the first time in my life. For those of you who don’t live in a baseball town, opening day might as well be a holiday. People go crazy. That first year, I had only lived here a few months and didn’t really know anyone and I’m not so self conscious that I won’t go do something by myself, so that’s what I did, went by myself. I had a good time and yes, it would have been more fun going with someone I knew, but I busted my Opening Day cherry and that’s all that mattered. The next year, I had a test on opening day, so I couldn’t make it, but a buddy and I headed over to an Old Chicago across from the Auraria Campus and catch the game in the fourth inning. That was the year the Rocks came back in the 9th inning against my “second favorite team”, the San Diego Padres (my g/f is from San Diego, so by default, I have to yell for them to keep the peace, except when they play the Pirates). My friend and I got so trashed while watching the game, then attempted to ride his Vespa home after the game….NEVER put two drunk people on a Vespa, you are asking for trouble. We went home and drank a case (24 beers) while watching the NCAA championship game.
This year, I meeting up with L-Cruz, my “hispanic causing panic” buddy, who luckily lives with in walking distance of the staduim. I’m looking forward to it. I’m supposed to be at work at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning, but I’m trying to switch it to the afternoon shift, cause Tuesday morning has the chance of being a little rough, but I’m only going with a couple Peter Gammons errrr Andrew Jacksons in my wallet, so it’s going to be a little more difficult to over indulge.
Hip Hop is not really on the baseball thing. I was going to try to wrestle up some baseball related hip hop tracks, but only really three tracks came to mind, so I’ll share those with you and throw a couple other “grand slam” tracks (yeah, corny, I know).
No shit, THAT Ken Griffey Jr. Kid Sensation was down with Mix-a-Lots ECP (Emerald City Posse for ya SUCKAS!) posse back in the day and recorded this song for Kid Sensation’s “The Power Of Rhyme” back in ’92, well being from Seattle it was only natural that “The Kid” Griffey, who was playing for the Seattle Mariners and a self professed hip hop head would collaborate with the other “Kid”.
While it is what it is, which is another athlete playing rapper, it has a little something to it. The violin sample that Kid Sensation used on the beat is rather ill in my mind. As far as Ken Griffey Jr as an MC, I’ve heard worse in both the terms of athletes on the mic (Shaq anybody?) and MC’s (Paul Wall anyone?). It’s still basically a novelty act, but it’s kind of cool to hear a baseball player embrace the Hip Hop culture. Not many baseball players promote the hip hop culture. The only one I can think of is Royce Clayton who once got in a fight with a teammate for turning off his hip hop in the dug out once. I think he also might have a label of his own.
Pete Nice & DJ Daddy Rich – Rap Prime Minister (original version of “Rat Bastard” from the “Dust To Dust” LP).
Why am I putting this track in a collection of baseball tracks? Well for those of you who don’t know, my man Peter Nash aka Prime Minister Peeeeete NIIIIIIIIICE nice nice nice (KICK ‘Em THE GRILL PETE! Sorry couldn’t help myself) is a rather famous baseball historian these days. Pete was a jock before his rap career in the first place, playing basketball for Columbia U back in the day as a point guard, which is also where he got his start in hip hop, hosting a radio show with Clark Kent.
After Pete put down the microphone, he would move to Cooperstown, New York, where the baseball Hall Of Fame is located and opened a baseball memorabilia store that is rumored to be the second largest in the world. Pete Nice also became Peter Nash, author, as he would write three baseball based books.
Main Source – A Friendly Game Of Baseball (Remix 1)
Not necessarily a traditional baseball song, but hey it incorporates baseball termanology, so we’ll go ahead and use it. I first really got into this song from it’s appearance on the “Boyz N The Hood” soundtrack.
This is the alternate version found on “Breaking Atoms”. Large Pro equates the treatment of blacks by the police departments around the nation as a game of “baseball”. Not exactly “Fuck The Police”, but one of the more powerful anti police songs that are out there.
Ultramagnetic MC’s – Saga of Dandy, The Devil, & Dandy
This song is actually one of my favorite Ultra tracks basically because it covers a topic in baseball that not many touch on, the black baseball leagues of the past. Before Jackie Robinson and the whole civil rights ear, blacks were not allowed to play baseball, so they had their own leagues. It was both a travesty and an injustice that this happened. I’m sure if blacks were allowed to play, the MLB record books would be totally different.
Ultra covers the black league heroes, such as Josh Gibson, who might have been one of the best players in the history of the sport, Satchell Paige and others. It’s a history league that needs to be kept alive so as people don’t forget the importance of these players.
Some Free Stuff
Yeah, it’s ironic that I’m offering free music, when, well basically thats what most of us bloggers do anyway, but there are some legitimate “free music” being dropped around this week and I thought I’d help you all out with finding it.
JJ Brown presents Re-Release Therapy
We know by now that I am a fan of Louis Logic and part of that reason is the production of JJ Brown. Unbeknown to me, Ludacris released the accapellas for his Release Therapy LP, which I don’t know enough about to comment on really. Since I had an unhealthy obsession with the Jay-Z black album remixes, I thought I’d check this out.
I haven’t had the chance to really go through it, but my initial impressions were pretty good. Brown uses Jackson Five samples through out the whole project and it seems to work pretty good. None the less you can download it for free without having a guilty conscience (yeah right).
DJ Illipse Presents Uncommon Mixes: A Blends Collection
As far as I’m concerned, DJ Illipse is one of the better dudes in the game when it comes to mixtapes. I always try to check anything dude drops because he always comes correct. Well he has a free blends collection out for free download and I’ll always help this guy promote his shit and get his hustle on, so be sure
to check out, it’s worth the time to download. Some nice stuff so check it out.
01. Ludacris – The Red Light District Intro
02. Clipse – Cot’ Damn
03. Big L, Jay-Z & Obie Trice – 3V
04. Nas ft. Ludacris – Virgo
05. 2Pac – Me Against The World
06. Obie Trice – Shit Hits The Fan
07. AZ & Genetics – Never Change
08. Clipse – Mr. Me Too
09. Mos Def & Black Genius – Ms Fat Booty
10. Big L – Flamboyant
11. Clipse Ft. Slim Thug – Wamp Wamp (What It Do)
12. Common – The 6th Sense
13. Nas – Nas Is Like
14. Lil Wayne – Hustler Musik
15. AZ & K. Slack – The Come Up
16. Eminem – Without Me
17. Outkast – Wheelz of Steel
18. Nas – Hope
If you like it, be sure to drop him a line on myspace
Neblina Records is one of the hardest working and most generous labels in the game today. Jerry Juliano puts in a lot of work promoting the likes of Abstract Mindstate, Chapter 13 and this artist, who I believe is also part of Chapter 13, Rashid Hadee. The music is on some smooth soul shit, which is perfect to throw in the box, sit back with your favorite mind altering substance and listen to the mellow cool vibes.
Be sure to check out Neblina’s website for some more free music in the same vein.
Trav’s Top Spins Of The Week
My fascination with this release continues. I’m still not completely sure if it was El-P that changed or my own personal tastes or maybe both. I’m still not fond of his lyrics, but his style fits the beats well, so it’s great to me. You might want to watch falling asleep with it playing, because you get some weird ass dreams, I found that out this afternoon.
2. Evidence – The Weatherman
This release is starting to sound better and better all the time. Alchemist really does a better job on this release than what he did on the Prodigy album, but thats all good. This shit is really starting to grow on me
3. Prodigy – Return Of The Mac
I’m still listening to it, and, eh, it’s growing on me…..
4. Native Nuttz – The Nuttz Are Restless
I was looking for this release for so long, I forgot I was looking for it. My man Dread came through once again with this shit. Shit is fucking great well worth the download. And remember, the password for it is: bustthefackts, for all you suckas!
5. Ultimate Force – I’m Not Playing
Another lost classic. Diamond D, Master Rob and even some apperance from Fat Joe make this album a great listen. One has to wonder what it would have been if it was released when it was intended to.
That is all……