In the wake of this year's All-Star Game, today is a baseball dead zone. It's the last day of the all-star break, with no major-league games scheduled until Thursday. And if Tuesday night's 15-inning marathon wasn't enough and you're jonesing for something to get through the day, you could do a lot worse than The Baseball Project's "Vol 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails" (Yep Roc Records).
R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey and former Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn are TBP's ringleaders, and they're both key figures in the '80s-college-radio generation -- not to mention major baseball fans. Years ago, I interviewed Wynn and we spent quite a bit of time talking about how he'd been on tour in Europe during the 1988 World Series, desperately trying to tune in his beloved Dodgers on overseas radio.
The 13 tracks on "Frozen Ropes" are agreeable power-pop, although the tunes take a few listens to sink in. But sink in they do, especially since the lyrical subject matter is a delight. It's worth tracking down a physical copy of the album to get the liner notes, which offer detailed explanations of each song. Featuring odes to shamed slugger Mark McGwire, Ted [Expletive] Williams and the unluckiest pitcher ever, it's like a baseball-card collection set to song.
Check out the project's MySpace to hear a couple of songs, and to see video of a recent performance on Letterman.
ADDENDUM (8/12/08): Todd Snider's "Dock Ellis."