Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His memoir, It's So Easy (Simon & Schuster) is out now.
Ah... it is finally that time


Hey, Let's Play Ball (And Some Local Music While We're At It)

Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His memoir, It's So Easy (Simon & Schuster) is out now.
Ah... it is finally that time of year. Spring training is well under way in Arizona and Florida and, at long last, the official regular season of America's favorite pastime will soon be under way. It's Baseball season!!

If I haven't been clear of this before, it should now be clearly known that I am an avid Seattle Mariners fan. I have a Mariners sticker on my touring guitar, and a compass rose tattoo'd on my right arm. I go to as many games as I can, and have the MLB package on DirectTV so that I can watch the games through SlingBox whenever I am away...which is often.

I am in no way alone amongst touring rockers who live and die with every pitch. Dudes from Death Cab to Soundgarden to Alice In Chains to Mark Lanegan all count themselves as Mariner fans. And beyond our local team, it seems that a conversation is easily started if it's about baseball. I can be anywhere it seems. Baseball fans of every team tour around like I do, and we often end up going to some game together, whether in Boston, Chicago, Anaheim, Texas, or wherever an ump cries "Play ball!"

As a traveler who has gone to baseball games in different locales, it has become apparent that the music being played at the baseball stadiums is getting rather homogenized and 'samey'. You've got the opening riff of of Ozzy's "Crazy Train," the whole "Who Let the Dogs Out" thing, and an opening riff of some song called "Welcome To The Jungle" being played in every stadium (for all of you Mariners fans, truth be told, "Jungle" WAS meant for our team, and not the Brewers or the Yankees or the Dodgers, or whoever. At least that is how I like to tell the story...).

And more to that point:

I remember going to Sonics and Mariners games in the 80s and 90s, and the music being played in those places was WAY more provincial then. You'd hear a Soundgarden song, followed by a Pearl Jam song, into a Nirvana thing, and then some Sir Mix-A-Lot. Looking back, it all seems so damn quaint; but why would we have ever thought that it'd be different? I mean- of COURSE they should play local music in your locale, right? Somewhere along the line, everything just got big and national music-wise at these stadiums.

Sure, in the '90s, some of the most popular bands in the world were coming out of Seattle. But it's not like we haven't had plenty to celebrate, musically - if not in the park -- over the last decade. We should celebrate our unique local music at the park. And, you know what, I think we may be able to celebrate our team this year, too.

Yea. That's right. Maybe we'd got something with all of these new young kids coming into the Mariners program. Sure, they've yet to prove themselves. But the competitive canon is rife with tales of unproven athletes overwhelming expectations.

Just consider the way the small-market Tampa Bay Devil Rays have put together a team from scraps and pieces and prospects and hope that has regularly gone on to compete against mega-payroll teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. There is talk about our newest version of the Mariners becoming a Tampa Bay-esque competitor.

On the Yahoo! Sports, Todd Pfeipher had this to say:

"On paper, there is potential in the Mariner lineup. Despite a dreadful offense over the last couple of seasons, fans can be optimistic about players like Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp and Jesus Montero. Again, potential means nothing until the team starts hitting somewhere far north of .233 for the year. If Michael Saunders continues to hit like he has during the spring and Munenori Kawasaki turns out to be a solid contributor, this offense could actually have a bright future. Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace?"

We in Seattle have learned to thrive on words like 'optimistic, potential, and bright future'...

It COULD happen. And if it does, I say we start rocking music from our own city at our hometown park again. I can hear it now. Some Death Cab For Cutie, Long Winters and Fleet Foxes, some Chasers, Vendetta Red...and yes..of COURSE some Loaded.

Play ball!

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