Is it an impulse buy when you spend .99 cents on a song entitled “His Name Is Daniel Murphy and He’s Great At Baseball!” by The New York Sports Band, or is that compulsion? When I bought the song’s best friend “Dwight Gooden Was the Doc, Yeah!” that was because a song about Daniel Murphy can’t be without my favorite Met of all time. It’s an impulse, right? I could have stopped. It was probably compulsion when I completed my Doc set with All the Way Rider’s “Dwight Gooden,” which has nothing to do with Gooden as near as I can tell, and “Throw Like Dwight Gooden” by Sketch McGuiney & DJ Alizay.
This isn’t me trying to be hip. I have no idea who any of these bands are. The New York Sports Band seems to produce songs that are funny in a completely random, non-sequitur sort of way. It’s like what Weird Al would have been if there was a keyboard, a digital recorder, and the New York Times as source material. Right now, I have an old Buster Olney clipping about Roberto Alomar, a kazoo, and a dream. My single will be released shortly. All the Way Rider reminds me of Helmet, which is cool, but I’m missing the Gooden reference. It makes me think of a song in a Disney movie montage with witches. I don’t know why. Sketch and Alizay rap about throwing like Gooden, which is an odd pitching reference for an album released in 2015. Also, what does baseball have to do with anything? I’m obviously too old to understand this, which is sort of my point. Rap is a young man’s game, and those of us who remember precisely how Gooden throws aren’t likely to buy this song. Well, except those of us seeking out music made by and about the Mets.
Okay, so that’s a compulsion, right?
My signature purchase, though, was Shelly Palmer’s tour de force “Let’s Go Mets!” I meant to buy this song. I sought it out. “Let’s go, Mets go!” That’s right. A song about the greatest baseball team in the history of the game (the 1986 Mets if you don’t know) actually happened, and the happiest part of my day was setting repeat for this little gem and reliving ’86 like Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling were in my living room, giving fielding and pitching tips while sipping iced tea.
“We’re going to make it this time, we’re going to take it home . . . Let’s go Mets!”
The song is a personal treat. One of those cherries on the sundae that is life, but the video is even better. Take a moment to enjoy it. You know who that is saving those kids from a card shark in the beginning? That’s none other than Dwight Gooden, dropping a fat stack of Topps like he was dropping old Uncle Charlie on a helpless Dickie Thon in his major league debut. Ray Knight not only skips down first base like a champ, he also fields short while covering third at the same time. Keith Hernandez could give a clinic in how to field first base, and don’t tell me that slow motion jog by Lenny Dykstra doesn’t bring a chill or two. These are memories, friends. That’s Dykstra robbing imaginary home runs.
When Kevin Mitchell crashed into the wall to make the catch, I thought if only he’d been with the team to save Bartolo Colon a run on Sunday. Rafael Santana would have thrown out Evan Longoria on that slow grounder in Saturday’s game. This is too much. Oh man, Tim Teufel is in this video, and he was with the team on Sunday. He’s just standing around, telling people to do it, to go for it, which is exactly like right now. This video is like a time capsule of signifiers.
Take another moment and appreciate that double play started by Hernandez. Grounder to first, throws the runner out at home. I would make a joke here, but the real joke is that nobody in the game fields first like Hernandez did back in the day.
A song like this can tell you things. About life. About your place in the world. It’s the sort of song that transforms the ordinary into a magical world of wonder, like watching Willy Wonka and believing that the candy man really can take a rainbow and sprinkle it with dew.
I put the song to the test. This isn’t like the Pepsi challenge with a predetermined winner. I wanted to see if Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco could provide true relief and let sweet melodies close the door on unsettled thoughts. I surrendered to my iPhone and let the weaving of the WAR and the shuffle (Moby Dick, Mat-Maker) take me on a journey of discovery. 10 songs. Starting with “Let’s Go Mets,” I determined the starting point and left fate and algorithmic destiny to decide an ending.
I won’t bore you with all the songs. It’s not your fault that you stumbled here. The undeniable siren’s call of Gary Carter’s mystique did. Let’s just say there was optimism when Sherry Palmer was followed by Jimmy Cliff’s “I Can See Clearly Now.” After all those rain clouds in Tampa, it is going to be a bright, bright sun-shiny day indeed. Confusion came in the form of Sigur Ros’ “Gobbledigook.” The blows of an indifferent sword were confusing our reading. The band’s UK website says the song sets the tone for their album with “shifting acoustic guitars, playful vocals, time signature swings and swirling percussions.” This is a song of movement and sung in Icelandic. It’s like reading tweets to Band of Horses.
There’s a whole lot of good vibes from three, four, and five, and when Social Distortion brings me “99 to Life” at six I wonder if this is where things turn. I’m fragile. I’m a broken man. We build some momentum with Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” at seven, and then eight and nine pass. There’s some Linkin Park and another Sigur Ros song, which is cool because I don’t understand words right now. Let’s just emote, feeling music overwhelm us as the tea leaves settle amidst the seasonal ripples. And, at 10, Journey saves me with “Don’t Stop Believin.’” Born and raised in south Detroit?
We all know who just came over from Detroit.
Did the music give me a sign? Perhaps. I’m incredibly unhip? It doesn’t matter, though, because I like listening to music about Dwight Gooden that makes sense.