NakedSunfish ~ Issue 4
Livingston, writing in today's edition of the Plain Dealer, chides Major Legue
Baseball for dropping the singing of "God Bless America" during
the seventh inning stretch. Well, Bill Livingston is never happy, so what
else is new. I, on the other hand, could not be any more pleased with the
decision--to my mind the national anthem is already more than enough. There
are lots of things that were wrong with playing "God Bless America"
at every game, not the least of which was the fact that nobody knew how to
sing it right. While I'll admit it had some power initially, coming across
as a fairly spontaneous response to the horrific events of 9/11, it is also
my observation that by opening day it had degenerated into a exercise in jingoism
rather than a show of solidarity with the victims and their loved ones.
opening day in Anaheim it seemed like MLB was trying to show the National
Football League that they could put on a militarist and, frankly, fascist
spectacle to rival the Super Bowl. To begin with, the security measures in
place at the gate made me feel like I was trying to cross a foreign border
rather than enter a baseball park with a valid ticket. After we finally got
in, they brought out the opera singing cop (who sounded kind of like a Tuvan
throat-singer to my post-tailgate ears) and an honor guard displayed a flag
that must have taken a bolt each of red, white, and blue cloth to sew together.
Which I would've been cool with if they stopped there. But they didn't; military
jets buzzed us overhead, which is somewhat traditional. But when the Navy
Seals parachuted out of them onto the field, to the tune of Lee Greenwood's
"Proud to be an American," I began to go a little crazy. Anyway,
the Proles seemed to love it; for sure it was straight out of 1984. The Anaheim
fans, to their credit, did recognize the whiff of totalitarianism when they
threw out some Cleveland fans for putting up a pair of Indians banners and
joined the healthy Cleveland contingent in booing the heavy-handedness of
Edison Field security.
The game itself was a gem. A 98 pitch shutout from Bartolo Colon thatput started the Tribe on, to borrow a phrase from Gil-Scott Herron, "A very hip foot," while the Angels seemed to have squandered the momentum of an active off-season. The next day I went to Dodger Stadium and saw their opener with the Giants. It was the mirror opposite; Dodger ace Kevin Brown was chased early, Barry Bonds homered twice and the Giants won big. After a week, the two teams seemed headed in very different directions--Cleveland to another AL Central Division title, Los Angeles to another mediocre year in the middle of the NL West pack.
Well, another three weeks have passed and the teams still seem headed different directions, only the fortunes have reversed; the Indians are mired in a horrible slump, while the Dodgers are tied for first in their division and even the Angels are coming around. Last night (April 30th) the Angels handed the Indians a 21-2 shellacking, the worst loss by an Indians team in Jacob's Field history. The boo-birds were, understandably, in full effect. My prediction is that this is the year that Cleveland fans start urinating on the walls of the men's room, if they haven't already.
Regular Crapshoot! readers will remember my top ten or so list from 2001. Well, there are a couple of titles that really belonged there that didn't really come to my attention in time to make the list. One is pianist Jason Moran's "Black Stars" CD featuring the great saxophonist Sam Rivers. Moran is a gifted young player who is not afraid to mix a little humor in with his more serious fare, a la the late Jaki Byard; the septuagenarian Rivers is always worth hearing, and blows here like a man half his age.
Cave and the Bad Seeds "No More Shall We Part" is a worthy addition
to an already formidable legacy. Cave's latest release is a typically somber
collection of ballads punctuated with black humor. I liked it upon initially
hearing it, but after seeing the band last month (Cave is a great performer,
the logical successor to Elvis and Jim Morrison) and witnessing a lot of the
material performed live I gained a deeper appreciation of it and have had
a hard time finding anything else to listen to.