Playing Defense

On Lobsters, Breaking Balls and my love of Country Music (An Explantion)

The other day, this lobster* I know messaged me on Facebook.

He asked me about me, so I brought up baseball. I asked about him and he shared some music.

Listening to it, I remembered-

The lobster is a fantastic sax player.

Back in the day, I scampered around Baltimore with all sorts of crazy people to all sorts of crazy places to listen to bands, like the one the lobster was/is in. That is how we met- at a venue that I think was really just the basement of someone’s apartment.

I was recently single, a little stoned, and, earlier in the evening, I’d been on the receiving end of a sweaty hug from Dan Deacon- in other words, I was invincible.

So, spurred on by equally irresponsible girlfriends, I flirted with the sax-playing lobster…

We went out on a date…

I remember roaming the streets of Baltimore with him and it being very cinematically romantic…

And?

…I’m really not sure why I don’t remember there being many, any? more dates with this mysterious creature…

He was, in baseball metaphor, a breaking ballonly in the strike zone for a short amount of time and, somehow, he zigged away from me.

Which tells me- either he was simply moving away too fast or I was too slow, perhaps on purpose, letting him get away.

Actually- it might be that, while I felt invincible that night, I wasn’t really myself- and that is someone who, I have come to discover, is just a skinny, ½ Taiwanese chick who f*ckin loves baseball and country music.

…Don’t get me wrong, the glittering idealism of indie rock, music of the lobster, will always have a piece of my heart,

but it’s the gritty realism of country music that I’ve come to prefer.

Baseball, I think, straddles that line and is therefore awesome. Look at this breaking ball, for instance-

Breaking-ball-Korea-040315.gif

It is about as ideal and as nasty as it gets and it is awesome.

I can’t keep up with the indie scene anymore, but baseball and country music will always be my speed… Both rely on a tried and true story that is constantly being re-told in new and exciting ways by a shockingly diverse cast of characters… and, in the end, it’s different every time.

…Last week, the Mets tweeted this amazing picture of Bartolo Colon- #BigSexy is 42 and still playing baseball alongside this cool Cuban, 30, and, of course, Thor, 23.

It just doesn’t get any more shockingly diverse than those three… Unless, of course, it’s these four. 😉

Seriously though- the amount of diversity is one of my favorite things about baseball.

Here’s a great quote from Buck Showalter about the O’s new Korean outfielder, Hyun Soo Kim:

“I think he’s going to find out because of the teammates he has that they’re going to make his path a lot easier. And I think he’s going to find that baseball’s baseball. And we’re respectful of where he’s come from. We don’t have all the answers. There are some things we can learn from him. I’m going to pick his brain about some things that they do. We’re not in this world alone.”

And country music? How is it diverse, you ask?

America is changing and so is country music- we have a mixed president and, this year, America just might elect a country-lovin’ mixed chick as its American Idol. If you watch the linked video, you’ll see country-star and judge, Keith Urban, give Tristan McIntosh a standing O.

(Now, I love Keith, but even I lol-ed when I first heard John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16? Keith, you’re Australian– but I guess that’s my point, ain’t it?)

I love that to get into country music, all you have to do is believe in the story. While some songs go deeper than others, the message is always simple and relatable…

You see, country music believes in country first (Don’t most baseball fans start off cheering for the local team?) …and that all you need to be happy is something to work on, someone to love, and something to look forward to (even if it’s just drinking) …however, if you loose one, or all of those things, you might not be so happy (and want to drink.)

While not my favorite- Florida Georgia Line, experts in the ‘something to look forward to’ department, are mixin’ it up. In their own words, their ‘mixtape’s got a little Hank’ and ‘a little Drake’… and that right there is an important message disguised as a throw-away line. Now, if you actually clicked on those links (and you have one feminist bone in your body?) and those videos are killin’ you, don’t worry, Maddie & Tae have something to say about the ‘Girl In A Country Song.’

…In music, as in baseball, every generation has their classics– mine include Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tim McGraw-

Man, was I touched when I heard that the poor man ‘ain’t seen the Braves play a game all year.’ (This year, by the way, the Braves ‘hope to be very active internationally.’ Diversity! 🙂 )

& I’m not the only one for whom Tim McGraw is a classic- ‘Tim McGraw’ was Taylor Swift‘s first single! She became famous using country music to tell her stories and, now, she is one of pop music’s most majestic story-tellers.

She also said this at the 2015 ACMs:

“Somebody once told me that you truly see who a person is when you tell them something they don’t want to hear. You truly see who a person is when you give them news that they weren’t expecting. So to the country music community, when I told you that I had made a pop album and I wanted to go explore other genres, you showed me who you are with the grace you accepted that with. I will never forget it.”

What I’m ultimately trying to say here is- while some closed-minded people might like country music, country music itself is not closed-minded. It’s comforting. At least, it is for me & Tristan McIntosh. …Still not convinced? Maybe Alan Jackson can convince you-

& if that don’t work, maybe it ain’t for you, but at least now I have an explanation for all the lobsters and lobster-lovers in my life.

12049615_1636336649982748_1177529295554408142_nShall we end this with the O’s 7th inning stretch song? Yes, we shall.

*The night we met, he was performing in a band in which all the members were wearing crustacean-like heads (headpieces?)… The term ‘lobster’ was used to describe him at some point in the evening and it just stuck.

See ya’ll next time, your grl on base!

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