The Bay Area sometimes seems an odd place for baseball to have taken root.
(Hear me out.)
While I’m by no means an authority on the subject (my first and last brush with baseball came at age 8, when I took a softball to the face during community league practice), I think I know why San Francisco strikes some as a strange baseball town: More than most other major-league sports in America, baseball conjures up some serious nostalgia: Creaky municipal stadium seats. Playing catch in the backyard. The Sandlot, “Casey at the Bat,” the long summer evenings of your adolescence. It’s not that we don’t have those things here, it’s that we are an area that revels in its iconoclasm (and where new sports stadiums look more like Google campuses). To some, baseball and its associated old-time charm seem just a little out of place.
And yet, even though we’re not exactly American-as-apple-pie out here, baseball allegiances still run deep and strong in the Bay. This extends to a large percentage of your favorite local bands. Not only will they proudly rock their team’s gear on stage and in press photos, some have become nearly synonymous with local teams. The first in a two-part series, we caught up with some of the more prominent “baseball bands” of the Bay Area to talk team pride, game memories, and a healthy amount of smack talk. First stop: Oakland.
State your team: Oakland A’s
How and when did you become baseball fans? I became a fan about six years ago, because I was interested in why the A’s sucked so much after reading Moneyball…Shortly after, I began playing in the Pacific Coast Hardball League. Now we all play for the Daly City Brians in the PCHL, a team I affectionately named after myself.
How, if at all, has your fandom affected your songwriting? Probably not the music at all, but lyrically I think Burd just writes about things on his mind…we’ll write a song and all of a sudden it’s a baseball song because Burd’s been watching the Pete Rose reality series…(so) occasionally our fandom sneaks in there.
How about touring? Ever take time out for games/make pilgrimages to ballparks? I flippin’ tried pushing for that. Our penny-pinchin’ drummer thinks games cost more than his addiction to weed, so our stadium tour/tour never manifests.
Let’s say you wanted to add a new member to the band who was perfect in every way…except they were a Giants/rival team’s fan. Dealbreaker? Absolutely. My mom forces me to go to AT&T Park once a year. HELL ON EARTH. (It’s like) seeing Bieber in a Vegas nightclub—lots of drunk chicks. I don’t care if you grew up in Brisbane and snuck into Candlestick when you were a youngster. That was a different reality.
The game memory you’ll never forget: Justin Duchsherer’s 1-hitter against the Red Sox in 2008. The crowd was 90% in navy and red, 10% empty, then there was Burd and me. David Ortiz hit a jam-job bloop that fell in a triangle and ended the bid, but we still whooped their fuckin’ asses and Burd and I yelled at all the bandwagoners on the way out.
What song of yours should your team enter to? I’d have to go with “Prove It.” Get everyone all pumped up.
State your team: Oakland A’s
How and when did you become baseball fans? My dad…worked for the A’s when I was growing up, so I was a fan from day one. There’s actually a photo somewhere of my name on the scoreboard the day I was born.
How, if at all, has your fandom affected your songwriting? Not directly. Our songs do tend to be emotionally bittersweet, however, which is kind of the definition of being an A’s fan: There’s the high of making the playoffs frequently as a have-not in the baseball landscape, and the thrill that comes with believing this year might be the year…until we lose in 5 games in the first round again. But then you look back and realize what an awesome ride it was.
How about touring? Ever take time out for games/make pilgrimages to ballparks? I wish! That is a good idea, though…
Let’s say you wanted to add a new member to the band who was perfect in every way…except they were a Giants/rival team’s fan. Dealbreaker? I have a lot of friends who make questionable life choices (like being a Giants fan), and we’ve all somehow managed to work through it. But the theoretical new member would have to be pretty awesome to make up for it!
The game memory you’ll never forget: Two recent ones definitely stand out. One was being at the games in 2012 where we erased a pretty significant deficit in the division and clinched a playoff spot and the division title on consecutive days by sweeping the Texas Rangers. My boss at the time was (is!) a huge baseball fan, and (let me ditch work) to go to the clincher…thanks Vickie!
The second was listening to Dallas Braden’s perfect game on the radio with my brother, Gregory, in 2010. It was the day after I graduated from college, so I had a car full of shit and was moving home. My parents were trailing behind in another car full of my possessions, and we were talking back and forth over the phone as the game progressed. Greggy is the biggest baseball fan I know, and it was cool to experience that with him and my parents in two cars on I-5.
What song of yours should your team enter to? I love their entrance music, so I wouldn’t change a thing! If they had to, there’s a track called “A Million” on our upcoming album that’s pretty high-energy.
Check back next week to find out which bands are behind your 2015 San Francisco Giants.