The Baseball Project
Ad-hoc adult-alt rock foursome the Baseball Project -- comprised of the Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, fellow journeypeople Scott McCaughey and Linda Pitmon, and whoever comes along to barnstorm -- write and sing songs strictly about baseball. They are certainly the only band ever to open an album -- 2008's Vol. 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails -- reminiscing about the time Bert Campaneris played all nine positions in one game, and then lamenting Joe Pepitone's sideburns and Oscar Gamble's Afro. That debut disc mixed power pop, garage and folk-rock in service of songs about, for instance, Curt Flood's reserve clause controversy, Harvey Haddix's missed perfect game and Big Ed Delahanty's mysterious disappearance from Earth. On 2011's Vol. 2: High and Inside, guests from The Hold Steady, Yo La Tengo, The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie and Los Lobos helped the main lineup tackle topics ranging from Mark Fidrych to Reggie Jackson. Basically the Baseball Project are like Dan Epstein's book Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s, set to really catchy music. And now and then they throw in other decades as well.