From “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” to “Meet The Mets,” baseball has a history filled with music and fun associated with our national pastime. But some rise above all the others…
John Fogerty, the driver of Creedence Clearwater Revival in the 1970’s innocently wrote a song he titled “Centerfield,” which has become the calling card for fans of baseball who need a little charge in the waning weeks of winter, or as a sing-a-long when played between innings at ballparks across America.
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play recalls the urges and pleas of so many fans of baseball who relate back to the days when they (too) could shag a few balls in the outfield as well as anybody. Filled with dreams and images of wearing a major league uniform, of which the lyrics accurately recall that anyone can understand.
In 2009, The Yankees opened their new version of Yankee Stadium in April, and as always they did it right with a never-ending parade of former Yankees introduced to the crowd, of which I was part of on that historic afternoon.
Towards the end of those introductions, my attention was diverted to a gate opening on the left field warning track, and a man is striding towards a microphone waving and carrying what appeared to be a violin. Training my camera’s zoom on the man, I realized the violin was really a guitar and the one John Fogerty used for only one song in his prodigious repertoire. Instinctively and to no one in particular around me, I announced with a shout, “He’s gonna do Centerfield.” The first chords brought a tear to my eyes.
It’s sometimes that way too when the first notes of “Glory Days” by Mr. Springsteen hit the airwaves in the car, and that first verse tells a story that brings high school days of innocence when I was that speedballer back in vivid color. Oh, glory days.
Back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
But all he kept talking about was
And then from the 1950’s, we have the all is wonderful idol worship of Theresa Brewer’s “I Love Mickey” YouTube clip (Don’t laugh – this was big back then). Heck, even Bob Dylan has his version of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” (Have a glass of wine to get in the spirit first).
But the unification one night during a concert by Springsteen with John Fogerty, who was unexpectedly called to the stage on October 5, 2004, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, with that trademark guitar, to perform baseball’s anthem is the ultimate reason for this post…
The energy of the whole band that night reminds me the excitement associated with the 2018 baseball season poised just around the corner…can’t wait. I’m sure you’ll understand.
Bonus Links To Enjoy
Here’s an ingenious clip from YouTube that combines the audio from a live performance of “Centerfield” with the lyrics presented as background. (Listen And Watch Here)
Twenty-three million have viewed this video of the original Springsteen “Glory Days” video, but just in case you missed it, here it is.