While Sam Frank believes a comment like “of all the songs ever written about baseball, at least nine of 10 are anthems by middle-aged heartland rockers mourning their lost youth in maudlin terms,” is a slap at Peter Gammons, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman has some interesting selections for an arbitrary list of “five songs about baseball that are really worth hearing.” Along with picking Belle & Sebastian’s “Piazza, New York Catcher” (claiming that Stuart Murdoch “clearly knows nothing about baseball”), Marchman offers considerable praise for Murdoch’s onetime label mate, the Large Professor.
If you have any ear for hip-hop and you’ve never heard Main Source’s 1991 album “Breaking Atoms,” you really need to do so: People are making money shamelessly stealing this album’s ideas to this very day. One of the highlights is also one of hip-hop’s great contributions to baseball. “A Friendly Game of Baseball” is an unhinged protest against police brutality that takes the conceit that the whole world is a ballgame. The group gets surprisingly clever about it over a disorienting beat courtesy of the legendary Large Professor. The conceit breaks down quickly – if you figure out what “a walking gun with a shell in his hand is their mascot” means – but this remains a classic.