Musician: John Dance
Why he loves the Braves: “Growing up in Atlanta in the early ’90s was every little leaguer’s dream! The Braves could do no wrong to any of us. I remember fighting over which one of us kids would get to wear Dale Murphy’s number three on the back of our uniform every spring! Every year, our beloved Braves made the playoffs, and needless to say we became spoiled with the success of our team. Last year was the end of an era for baseball fans in Atlanta. Bobby Cox, the 25-year manager for the Braves, finally retired, taking the Atlanta glory years with him. Thankfully, during his last season, all the Ponderosa boys got to see several summer afternoon games when we were home from tour. It was the end of an era for our town, but the beginning of another for us…”
Number of wins Bobby Cox amassed with the Braves: 2,149.
Musician: Scott Stapp
Why Stapp loves the Marlins (and fans hate him): Last year, the Creed frontman sincerely wrote “Marlins Will Soar” —a song that debuted at the team’s 2010 home opener. Besides the fact that Marlins don’t exactly soar (since they’re fish…), Marlins and baseball fans alike threw up in their mouths a little upon hearing it. Sports website Deadspin semi-jokingly claimed that “Scott Stapp Ruin[ed] Baseball.”
Example of Stapp’s lyrical mastery: “Let’s play ball, it’s gameday. We want strikeouts, base hits, double plays.”
New York Mets
Musician: Ira Kaplan
Band: Yo La Tengo
Why he loves the Mets and how Yo La Tengo got their name: The story dates back to the 1962 Mets. We’ll let Ira tell the tale in this video.
Musician: Daniel Balk
Band: The Postelles
Why he loves the Mets: “Yes, the Mets continue to collapse at the end of every season, just missing out on the playoffs year after year. It’s also true that they continuously overpay for mediocre players, while the owners complain about bankruptcy. But I still love them, like a father loves a son who comes home at the end of every school year with Cs and Ds on his report card. I admit I scream at my television all too often and I’ve also spent too much money at the bar at Citi Field in order to numb myself from the pain of watching the Mets make a 20-year-old no-name pitcher look like Sandy Koufax.
Yet I still watch every game, even if I’m on the road and have to pay for a yearly subscription to watch them on my laptop. I can guarantee I was the only person in London watching the Mets as I sat in my hotel room, hoping for a win during our last U.K. tour. Though one night comes to mind as I think about how the Mets have directly affected my music career: As we played one of our first shows in New York City in a tiny Lower East Side bar, I spent our entire 30-minute set watching my Mets on the tiny bar television across from the stage. In between songs I’d clap as the Mets crossed the plate to take the lead. This of course looked like I was clapping for my own band’s achievement of finishing a song. I smile as I remember all the great memories the Mets have brought me and I hope they bring many more.”
Balk’s least favorite recent transaction by the Mets: Oliver Perez’s $36 million contract.
Musician: Steve Berlin
Band: Los Lobos
Why he loves the Phillies: “I lived through as an eight or nine-year old the infamous collapse of ’64 when they were nine games ahead with 12 to play and lost to the Cardinals. I remember vividly going to school and praying that Philly didn’t lose that day, and they did. It’s a lifelong connection—the first game I ever went to with my dad was one of the longest games ever…it was like a 22-inning game against the Cubs at Connie Mack [Stadium], which really dates me, but fuck it.
I remained a lifelong fan—I remember in ’80 when they won it all, it was so overwhelming that they actually won that oddly enough…nothing else in my life had been as powerful or intense as the idea that the Phillies finally won a World Series. Instead of it making me happy…stuff that I used to enjoy wasn’t as much fun because it wasn’t as cool as the Phillies actually winning this thing. It took me a while to get my head right, it was just so intense…so yeah I’m fan.”
Why Berlin thinks that Scott McCaughey is nuts and Stephen Malkmus is a bastard: “I’m in the league with the rest of the guys from The Baseball Project…Mike Mils, a couple R.E.M. guys, Stephen Malkmus, Steve Wynn, myself—all musicians who are completely obsessed. The way most people play which is trading, waiving, picking up, dropping…well Scott McCaughey from R.E.M. is infamous having made something like 800 moves last year—so much that we actually had to limit the number of moves this year. He would literally waive and trade, and the pick up the same player like twice in one day. But Stephen Malkmus of Pavement, the bastard that he is, crushed everybody with basically the same team…The mission this year is to take down Malkmus.”
Musician: Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner)
Band: Man Man
Why he loves the Phillies: “I was a military brat, so I moved around all the time. I was a constant fan of Nolan Ryan as a little kid. I sent him birthday cards and stuff and would get autographed pictures back. My father was a lifelong Cubs fan—a lifelong sufferer. I grew up watching the Cubs and was a Ryne Sandberg fan. But then I moved to Philly for school and that’s when I became a Phillies fan.
[The Phillies] are just fucking tough dudes. I love their pitching staff too, obviously. Most of the team is home grown, and the Phillies just sucked for so long…It was the Philly curse, because they weren’t supposed to build any buildings taller than City Hall. Once they did, that’s supposedly when the curse happened and no team would ever win a championship…until we finally broke it.
Even my band name is baseball-related…when I was a kid I remember hearing this story and was probably total bullshit. This kid, the same age as me, was digging for worms in an abandoned lot and came across a coffee tin. And in the coffee tin was rubbish and baseballs cards, and lot a of them were mostly deteriorating except for a Honus Wagner card…When it came time to make up a bullshit pseudonym, non de plume, I just went back to that story. It was twofold—one, who the hell names their kid Honus? Second, I never thought I would be in a band for starters, it was something I stumbled across I guess like a coffee can in an abandoned lot.”
Favorite all-time Phillies player: John Kruk
Why he loves the Nationals: When The Nationals signed Jayson Werth this offseason to a monstrous, head-scratching $126 million, 7-year deal, it must have included a lifetime supply of Nats hats for Wale. Even though he’s from Washington D.C., we can’t think of any other reason why the rapper would continuously rep that embarrassment of a team.
National player who picked Wale for his at-bat song: Ryan Zimmerman.