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Indians Indians Archive View from the Porch: Bands of Baseball
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

HRPorchViewTwo of my greatest loves are music and baseball. Ironically, I never played an instrument nor played baseball. While dealing with my latest bout of insomnia on Thursday night/Friday morning, the idea came to me to use this week’s View from the Porch as more of a whimsical column since I’ve been filling in for Nino Colla with the recaps of the previous night games and 2,000 words of actual baseball talk.

One of the greatest inventions to help with insomnia is the iPod. Turn the backlight timer completely off so the annoyingly bright light doesn’t burn your retinas and just listen to music while relaxing. Sometimes, even without sleep, long periods of relaxation can replenish the body, which happened to me until I played 18 holes of golf and drank far too many beers on Friday afternoon.

In any event, my scribbles in the dark are legible enough to allow me to use some of my ideas from last night. While the Indians are in first place and we’re all happy about that, there’s nothing wrong with taking a momentary step away from the game to read something more light-hearted.

Obviously, since I’m just 25 years of age, my historical frame of reference will be somewhat short-sighted with some of the Major League franchises as I’ll have to relate them to bands based on what I recall from my own experiences.

In this week’s View from the Porch, I’ll attach every Major League team to a rock band and explain the thought process that led to my decision, along with a song from each band just in case you have no idea who they are.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles: Goo Goo Dolls (Iris). The Goo Goo Dolls were an alt rock band fromBuffalo,NY, a city known for lovable losers that can’t finish what they start. In 1998, the Goo Goo Dolls were up for a Grammy Award for record and song of the year for “Iris”, released in 1998 for the “City ofAngels” movie soundtrack. This was about the time that the Baltimore Orioles were relevant. Since then, neither the Orioles nor Goo Goo Dolls have been in the mainstream and the 1997 Orioles define the term “one-hit wonder”.

Boston Red Sox: Coldplay (Viva La Vida). A lot of people like Coldplay and I have no idea why. Similarly, a lot of people like the Red Sox and I have no idea why. The Red Sox, and their fans, are a collection of insufferable tools that should just go away and die. Coldplay is the same way. They’re loved, for some reason, by a lot of mainstream, casual fans, just like the Red Sox. It boggles my mind and, since I can’t stand either the Red Sox or Coldplay, this fits perfectly here.

New York Yankees: Nickelback (Photograph). Along the same lines as the ideology surrounding the Red Sox/Coldplay connection, these two are a match made in Heaven. Only long-time Yankees fans love the Yankees and Nickelback is an acquired taste, much like gasoline, Genessee Cream Ale, and black licorice. Both are mass-produced frauds with occasional spots of brilliance loved only by their respective fan bases. Nickelback is constantly shoved down everyone’s throat in the music world in the same way that ESPN tickles our gag reflex with the Yankees. A horrible organization deserves a horrible band.

Tampa Bay Rays: System of a Down (Chop Suey). The Rays have adopted an alternative philosophy to just about everything. System of a Down sounds nothing like any band I’ve ever heard, and, quite frankly, a lot of their lyrics are incomprehensible. Much like a lot of Joe Maddon’s managerial decisions. Yet, like System of a Down, things just seem to work out for the Rays.

Toronto Blue Jays: Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit). Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, they haven’t done much of anything since the early 1990s. This makes them a perfect candidate to be represented by a grunge band. The Blue Jays thrived around the same time Nirvana did, winning back to back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. They haven’t made the playoffs since. The memories of Nirvana live on for their fans, much the same way the Blue Jays couple of World Series titles live on for them.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox:  Fall Out Boy (Sugar, We're Going Down). In 2005, Fall Out Boy released the single “Sugar, We’re Going Down”, the only song by Fall Out Boy that anybody has any clue about. The White Sox, who have done absolutely nothing of value outside of the 2005 World Series that they won are a perfect match for a lame band with one song that everybody fell in love with. Plus, AJ Pierzynski looks like somebody who would do everything he could to get front row tickets to see Fall Out Boy.

Cleveland Indians: Pearl Jam (Even Flow). This one is a bit of a selfish selection, as Pearl Jam is my favorite band and the Indians are my favorite team. There is a method to this madness, however, as the Pearl Jam definitely enjoyed their heyday in the 1990s, beginning with their debut album “Ten” and continuing through the decade. Like the Indians, Pearl Jam hasn’t done much of substance in the 2000s and a lot of their songs have depressing undertones that leave the listener trying to think of happy thoughts. Much like the Indians seasons in recent memory.

Detroit Tigers: Chickenfoot (Oh Yeah). This is one of the few examples in this column with an extremely short-sighted memory. Chickenfoot is a band that consists of a lot of talent that can’t put it together to get into the limelight. The band features former Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar, former Van Halen bassist Anthony Bass, guitar legend Joe Satriani, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. That’s a tremendous collection of talent that produces unmemorable music. That’s a lot like the Tigers. They’ve had a lot of talent and have yet to do anything of great value with it.

Kansas City Royals: Sick Puppies (You're Going Down). Sick Puppies is a band that has really come on strong over the last couple of years. They have a lot of talent and a great sound, including a female bassist. Sick Puppies formed all the way back in 1997 but have just recently started getting some attention for their music. Much like the Royals, they’re a group with a lot of talent that is trying to learn how to put together a complete package and move to the forefront.

Minnesota Twins: 3 Doors Down (Kryptonite). This kills me as I’m a big 3 Doors Down fan, but 3DD really emerged on the scene in 2000 with their hit single “Kryptonite” and had a really consistent career, with several chart-topping singles in their genre and a very consistent sound. The Twins have been the Central Division’s most consistent team in the 2000s. Like 3 Doors Down, the Twins have had to play their style in order to get their way to their top and carve out a niche for themselves.

American League West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Foo Fighters (Everlong). Arguably, the most consistent band of the last 15-20 years has been the Foo Fighters, constantly churning out solid hits and getting plenty of accolades. That logic applies to the Angels under Mike Scioscia. The Angels won the World Series in 2002, secured five AL West titles in the 2000s, and have played strong baseball in the years where they haven’t made the playoffs. The Foo Fighters got their big break before the Angels became winners but didn’t really come into the graces of pop culture until they proved themselves.

Oakland Athletics: Train (Drops of Jupiter). Remind the song Drops of Jupiter? Of course you do. Who doesn’t? Remember the Oakland Athletics small, Moneyball-induced window of competitiveness. Probably. Just as Train’s 25 minutes of fame (I’ll give them more than 15) ended, so, too, did the Oakland Athletics reign in the AL West. Now, the Athletics are irrelevant and scrambling to try and get the chance to move toSan Jose and get a new ballpark. Oh, Train released a new album recently? Perfect. The A’s are trying to get people to care about them again and so is Train. Love when things work out.

Seattle Mariners: Soundgarden (Black Hole Sun). When’s the last time you heard a new Soundgarden song? My guess is that it was sometime around when the Seattle Mariners were actually a playoff team. The Mariners rode the coattails of Lou Piniella, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Bret Boone for the latter half of the 1990s and had some tremendous years. So did Soundgarden, but you never hear from them anymore, do you?

Texas Rangers: The Black Keys (Lonely Boy). You know how hard it is to find rock bands that have really reached mainstream stardom in the last couple of years like the Texas Rangers have? The Rangers had very little to cheer for from the time Nolan Ryan pitched for them until 2010 when they rolled to the World Series. Like The Black Keys, many of the Rangers paid their dues prior to becoming stars, including Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and the like. Now, the sky’s the limit for bothTexas and The Black keys.

National League East

Atlanta Braves: Metallica (Enter Sandman). This was one of the easiest ones for me. The Braves started putting things together early in the 1990s. Metallica was an outstanding band from 1984-1995, which falls right in line with a large portion of the Braves heyday. Since that time, the Braves haven’t done a whole lot of noteworthy things and Metallica has released some lame albums and gotten by based on their legacy. One difference between the two is that while Metallica is resisting change, the Braves are undergoing a little resurgence now as they lead the NL East.

Miami Marlins: Third Eye Blind (Semi-Charmed Life). We all remember 1997 as the year that will live in baseball infamy. Also, in 1997, Third Eye Blind released the only song anybody knows them for, Semi-Charmed Life. When you think about it, the Marlines have lived a Semi-Charmed Life twice in their existence. 1997 and 2003. We’ve heard nothing from Third Eye Blind or the Marlins, except for a new ballpark that looks like a traveling circus and uniforms that look like they were designed by someone on an acid trip.

New York Mets: Van Halen (Jump). Another one of the easy ones. The Mets had some great years in the 1970s and 1980s with guys like Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton and others. Much like Van Halen, they had their peak and then fell into a deep chasm of mediocrity. Van Halen is still doing their best to stay relevant, much like the New York Mets, but it’s really become an exercise in futility. The Mets accidentally made the World Series in 2000, but quickly lost in true Mets fashion.

Philadelphia Phillies: Pink Floyd (Another Brick in the Wall). In 1980, the Phillies won the World Series. That same year, Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” was #2 on Billboard’s Top 100. As a fan of Pink Floyd, there are some moments where I can’t help but want to hear Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Much like the Phillies, it’s not a constant and something that pops up periodically. The Phillies have been great in the latter 2000s, surrounding years of mediocrity, just like Pink Floyd is sometimes great to listen to.

Washington Nationals: New Found Glory (My Friends Over You). While New Found Glory hasn’t been heard from much these days, the youthful exuberance of that band of the late 1990s and early 2000s can apply to the current Washington Nationals. The team has stocked a tremendous pitching rotation and a strong lineup with a lot of young players and a transformation of the franchise. NFG brought pop-punk into the mainstream culture, just like the Nats are bring the former Expos back into the everyday talking points of Major League Baseball.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs: U2 (Beautiful Day). I’m sorry, but I loathe U2. I can’t stand Bono and all of his causes and the narcissistic personality he exhibits on a daily basis. The Cubs fall into that boat for me. They’re living solely on their name. The quality of the on-field product, to me, is similar to that of U2’s. U2, to me, gives off this aura of cheap, mass-produced garbage. Much like what the Cubs have been churning out for the last 20-25 years.

Cincinnati Reds: The Eagles (Hotel California). The Eagles had a ton of hits from 1975 through 1976, about the time that the Big Red Machine was winning World Series titles and rolling over opponents. The Reds are a franchise with a ton of history, much like The Eagles, and everybody sings along when an Eagles song comes on the radio. The Reds being good is good for baseball, much like a good rendition of Hotel California is satisfying at a karaoke bar.

Houston Astros: The White Stripes (Seven Nation Army). If you’re not familiar with the White Stripes, know that they are a two-piece husband and wife band that produced one tremendous hit song and a lot of unknown ditties. With Biggio and Bagwell carrying the Astros for a number of years, this is a perfect comparison. Neither the Astros nor the White Stripes are of any consequence to anybody in 2012 so they two fit together like PB&J.

Milwaukee Brewers: Blues Traveler (Run Around). Why? I don’t know. All I can think of is “The Mountains Win Again” by Blues Traveler in the Busch beer commercial. I realize that Busch beer is made by Anheuser-Busch which is more synonymous withSt. Louis but I truly think of Milwaukee as the beer capital of theUnited States, so this seems appropriate.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody). Is it a coincidence that Freddie Mercury’s death from AIDS in 1991 effectively killed the band Queen and Roberto Clemente’s plane crash death in 1979 effectively killed the Pittsburgh Pirates? Probably not, but it makes these two seem to fit together. In the 1970s, Queen rolled out hits like the Pirates rolled out wins. Gotta say, that seems like an obvious match to me.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Beatles (Hey Jude). This match really has nothing to do with anything except that the Cardinals are one of the most storied franchises in MLB history and the Beatles have had an influence on damn near everything in the music industry since they formed in 1960. Cardinals fans, like Beatles fans, are diehards to the core and will defend their love for the team until the day they die.

National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks: Lifehouse (Hanging by a Moment). This is a perfect match. Lifehouse’s only big hit was called “Hanging by a Moment”, which was released in 2001. That same year, the Diamondbacks won the World Series on a walk-off hit by Luis Gonzalez. That moment, which D-Backs fans have been hanging their hat on for over a decade, coincided with a one-hit wonder band with an appropriately-named song? Awesome.

Colorado Rockies: Pantera (Walk). This one works for one reason and one reason only. In 1992, Pantera released their sixth studio album called “Vulgar Display of Power”. Coors Field has always been known as a hitter’s haven and when theRockies began play in 1993, they made sure to play to the ballpark’s strength by using players like Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, and Vinny Castilla. All guys who could hit monster home runs and struggle to bat for a decent average.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Cream (White Room). This really has nothing to do with anything except that the band Cream and the Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the most recognizable voices in history. Cream, with lead singer Eric Clapton, and the Dodgers, with broadcaster Vin Scully, have left unmistakable sound bytes in the heads of everyone who has had the pleasure of hearing them.

San Diego Padres: Faith No More (Epic). Do you remember anything about Faith No More except the song titled “Epic”? No? Me neither. Do you remember anything about the Padres except that Tony Gwynn played for them? No? Me neither.

San Francisco Giants: Guns N Roses (Welcome To The Jungle). This one’s a bit of a stretch. The Giants had the majority of their success as a franchise long before “rock” music was a part of pop culture. The best allusion I can make to a rock band would be Guns N Roses because they really peaked early in their career. Appetite for Destruction, the band’s first album, was far and away better than anything they have done since. While the Giants managed to win the 2010 World Series, their first since 1954, we can all agree that they peaked really early and didn’t do a whole lot for a long period of time. Much like G N’R.


Some of those are definitely a stretch, but, what the hell, it was a different perspective than the usual View from the Porch and something that should spark your mind into coming up with some of your own band/baseball team connections.

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