We don't know if this means that from now on batters who go after pitches outside the strike zone will be described as "Phishing." But it is pretty cool that the recently reunited jam band Phish have chosen the first day of the 2009 baseball season to announce that they'll be kicking off their first full scale tour in five years with a just added May 31 date at none other venue than Boston's hallowed Fenway Park.
While it's logical to assume that the Vermont-centric members of Phish are most likely members of Red Sox Nation, it remains to be seen if any of the songs the band is currently recording with producer Steve Lillywhite for their new CD will feature any baseball references. But even without them, 2009 is shaping up as a good season for baseball-related music.
Next week will see the digital release of The Homerun EP, a collection of baseball-themed tunes from a variety of acts who all record for Yep Roc Records. Chief among them is The Baseball Project, featuring hardball loving singer-songwriters Scott McCaughey and Steve Wynn, along with REM guitarist Peter Buck. They debuted last summer with Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, which included song about Hall of Famers like Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Satchel Paige as well as such other notables as Curt Flood, whose legal fight against baseball's reserve system paved the way for free agency, and Harvey Haddix, the Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher who in 1959 hurled 12 innings of perfect ball, only to lose his "imperfect" game in the (aptly unlucky) 13th inning.
While that song mentions the names of all 17 major league pitchers who've thrown perfect games, it may well get upstaged in the record books by "America's Favorite Pastime," Nashville alt.country tunesmith Todd Snider's contribution to The Homerun EP. Snider's song chronicles what is generally considered the most improbable pitching performance in baseball history, that of Haddix's fellow Pirate Dock Ellis, who on June 12, 1970 threw a 2-0 complete game no-hitter against the San Diego Padres--WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN LSD TRIP.
Kind of gave new meaning to the term "high and outside."
Here's Snider performing his tribute to Ellis--and Happy Opening Day, everyone.