Now batting……

Fine. I started it. Something I can ramble on about baseball. It’s going to be fun.I want everyone to take part writing reports on their team. If you want contact me. I watch a lot of baseball and I know you do too.so let’s make something of it.  

Take Me Out To The Hell Game: Athenar of Midnight

satanic royalty

Midnight are one of the current bands that keep me engaged with metal these days with anthems like ‘You Can’t Stop Steel’, ‘No Mercy For Mayhem’, and ‘All Hail Hell’.  For lack of a better description, they do “Venom” better than Venom.  They bring the Satan with the type of loose intensity that made NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) so addictive.  Plus, Midnight are a great in-your-face live band.  

athenar SF
Athenar onstage with Midnight in San Francisco (Photo by Raymond Ahner)

A week or so ago, I attended the San Francisco stop of this year’s Decibel Magazine Tour featuring the all killer, no filler metal bill of Kreator, Obituary, and Midnight.  The last time Midnight desecrated S.F. was 5 years ago.  Their return to Giants orange & black country was highly anticipated and the band embraced the occasion by printing an S.F. event tee featuring the Giants colors. Impressive.

midnight sf tee

Although they had an abbreviated opening set,  the hooded ones from Cleveland delivered the goods and engulfed the stage with their infectious black aura with a set heavy on the heavy hits. An added bonus for me was being introduced to Athenar after the show by a mutual friend and trading cell phone numbers with the bass and vocals Dark Lord.  Oh, what dark things would this exchange bring upon me?

Athenar

Fast forward a week or so after the show and I got a darkly cryptic text message from Athenar. He inquired about an online exchange I had with a mutual friend concerning the iconic pitcher from the 70’s and 80’s Kent Tekulve.  What madness was this!?  It turns out that even Lords of Hell had baseball heroes growing up.

Tekulve

Our electronic exchange continued for a time and then Athenar revealed the following insight into his past that continues to weigh heavily on my mind:

“My hamster as a kid was named Willie after Mr. Stargell.”

1981-fleer-willie-stargell

79 pirates

“We Are Family” indeed!   All hail Hell.

A Visit To The Mound: Dale Crover of the Melvins

The Melvins have been one of my favorite bands since 1991 when I saw them live for the first time.  Much like baseball, it’s easy for lazy people to miss the nuances that make the Melvins great.  Drummer Dale Crover is a legend for hitting things very hard with wooden sticks, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he loves baseball.  Also, Dale is a die hard Dodgers fan and I’m a die hard Giants fan and although I’ve seen the Melvins live 43 times since 1991, ‘Pound The Giants’ is still a shit song..  😉 -Brian Lew

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What’s your earliest baseball memory?

It could maybe be watching Hank Aaron hit #715. I remember watching with my family and it being a big deal. I would’ve been 6 years old.

Have you played ball?  If so what number did you wear?  Did the number have any significance?

Yeah, I was in Little League as a kid. I probably wanted to wear #44 like Reggie Jackson. I liked the Yankees back then and saw them play the Mariners a bunch at The Kingdome.

DALE KID

The Dodgers are your team.  Was there a profound moment, game, or event that made you swear a blood oath to Dodger Blue?

Not really. I hadn’t been to a game in years. I went once with Buzz and Adam from Tool. Walking into Dodger Stadium and seeing the field reminded me of that first time going as a kid. I got that rush, man! After a few more games I was hooked and developed a big baseball habit. That’s when I turned blue!

Do you have a ballgame ritual? Favorite snack?

I like sitting in the reserve level behind home plate. I think it’s the best view of the game and what’s going on.  For snacks I’ll go to the stand that sells sushi and salads. There’s never a line there, surprise, surprise! They have 5 dollar fake beers and peanuts.

I went to the Twins park last year. They may have the best food of all the parks I’ve been to. There’s a constant smell of bacon and they even have an Indian food stand!

TWINS FOOD

What has been the greatest thing you’ve witnessed or experienced at a baseball game?

I have a friend who’s a camera man for the local news. He was covering Dodgers games and took me as part of the news crew once. We were allowed on the field before the game, got to watch from the press box AND go into the clubhouse after the game and interview players!! That was a trip! It was like being in your favorite band’s dressing room after the show. All of the sudden I’m holding a microphone in front of Adrian Gonzalez’s face and asking Dee Gordon questions!

DODGER STADIUM

Beloved Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley.

Favorite heckle?

“BAAARRROIIIID!!!!”

Sorry, I had to since you’re a Giants fan. I went to few of the games here when he was about to tie the HR record. He was ruthlessly heckled, but everyone had their cameras out every time he was up, hoping to see him do it.

Given your baseball fandom, is touring the States in the Summer different now than back in The Day?  Are you able to influence tour routing to catch games?

No, but sometimes it works out that we can see a game or two on tour. I always check team schedules to see if anything coincides with our’s. I’ve been to half the MLB parks and a few pretty cool minor league parks on tour. Made it to a Spring Training game last year. I’ve been to the Louisville Slugger Museum a few times. Someday I hope to make it to Cooperstown

If you played a position, which of the 9 on the field would you be?  Or would you want to be a DH and only hit things with wood.

I’d say DH because I’d suck as a position player, but I don’t really like the DH. I like National League rules where the pitcher has to hit.

For me, the 5-4-3 put out is my favorite play in baseball.  What’s your favorite play or situation in a game?  

Mine is the unassisted triple play, which is one of the rarest plays in baseball. So if you ever see one, consider yourself lucky! Actually, if you saw one you’d probably wonder what the hell just happened.

Have you ever played baseball bat sized sticks like Bun E. Carlos?

bunecarlos22

Did you know that Bun E. Carlos is a switch hitting drummer? He’s the only guy I’ve ever seen who can set his kit up either right handed or left handed and have the same drumming average. What a freak!!!

Anyway, to answer your question…

DALE STICKS

Buzz is also a baseball fan and the Melvins recorded a rendition of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’.  Does the love of the game influence the band that often?  

Sometimes. There’s a song on the Mike and the Melvins record called ‘Pound The Giants’ 😉

Has there been incidents when your rock ‘n roll life crossed over with your baseball life?

For a brief period they would play ‘The Water Glass’ with a video montage of the Dodgers right before the team took the field. It was a big surprise to us because we had no idea they were going to use the song!

If you were pitching to Eddie Vedder, would you serve him some chin music?

I wouldn’t be afraid to throw inside. I’d go high and tight on the first pitch and try to get in his head, sure!

Anything else you want to say to the Baseball Über Alles crowd?

Happy Opening Day!

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Dale and Buzz of the Melvins can be heard on the new album by Crystal Fairy, a band they’ve formed with vocalist Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes and Omar Rodríguez-López of At the Drive-In / Mars Volta.  In addition, Dale will be playing drums for the mighty Redd Kross on their U.S. Tour that kicks off in mid-April with shows into July.  The Melvins will be back on the road again later this year.

Play ball!

The Melvins – ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ (from the Basses Loaded album)

My First Concert…

With Patrick Forsland ( Minnesota Twins Director, Guest & Premium Services)

“My first-ever concert, way back when I was in 7th grade, was Ozzy on his “Diary of a Madman” tour – talk about setting a crazy expectation for what live concerts were like! Then, my second concert was Devo – total different part of the music spectrum, but those shows hooked me on live music for life!”

Strike Of The Beast

Old school San Francisco Giants fan Gary Holt flying the team colors onstage with Exodus at Aquatic Park, Berkeley, California… August 17, 1984.

gary 2

Meanwhile, on the other side of San Francisco Bay at Candlestick Park at around the same time, the Giants were playing the Mets and lost 2-0 to rookie Dwight Gooden in extra innings.

The Giants finished last in the NL West that season.

Photo by Brian Lew.

10 up, 10 down. 20 questions w/ Scott Radinsky (Los Angeles Angels, Pulley, Skatelab, Skateboard Hall of Fame).

As a “punk”, I knew Scott and his stint with Ten foot Pole.When realizing he was also a pitcher for the Dodgers . I thought it was the coolest thing. He went away from the big lights of baseball to continue his journey as a coach through the years. In those years as continued musical career with Pulley , who recently released a record No Change in the Weather on El Jefe’ from NOFX’s label Cyber Tracks. A survivor of cancer, Scott is back in the bigs now as bullpen coach with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He is also co-owner of a skatepark in Socal which also houses the Skateboard Hall of Fame. I got in touch with Scott through email and asked him some questions. Check it out below!- Rich Hall

scott-radinsky Scott’s Score Rookie Card
 
Baseball questions..
 
1.When you were getting ready to throw your first pitch  to Greg Brock of the Brewers,, what did you feel? Nervous? Scared ?
SR:I guess a little bit of both,, certainly excited to get in there but definitely nervous, especially when I got onto the middle of the field and saw all the people and knew , “this is for real!…
 
2. Favorite team you were on and why ?
SR:Dodgers for sure,, my team growing up as a kid, first stadium I ever went to….
 
3. Best locker room/travel story ( without incriminating anyone)?
SR:Probably the year I was in a row of lockers where there were only 4 on a wall and it was Carlton Fisk on the left of me who had 2 lockers and Charlie Hough on the right,, I had over 40 years of experience on both sides and I just sat quietly in the middle and listened, and believe me they had some stories to tell……
 
4. Least favorite batter to face?
SR Luis Polonia…..
 
5.Who do you see on the Angels staff currently that ” has it “?  
SR : Well that is tough,, Trout is the obvious but he doesn’t pitch,, I’m a fan of Cam Bedrosian cause he’s got an incredible arm but is also a very humble and down to earth kid, those are who I seem to pull for…..
 
6.Biggest asshole teammate?
SR : Rather not say
 
7.World Baseball Classic, what do you think of it?
SR : It’s exciting to watch,, would probably be better if they could pick a more sensible time of the season to do it though,, at the start when no one is really ready seems stupid but maybe that’s the only time they could fit it in?….
 
8.What do your baseball peers think about your music career?
SR : Most of them are aware but that’s really all they know about it, some ask questions and I’ll downplay it and say yeah I play in a band,, others who I know are genuinely interested I’ll go a little deeper and give them the true description so they understand what we’re about and all the crazy places we’ve been able to play and visit around the world through music….
 
9. Why did you get fired from the Indians as pitching coach in 2012?
SR :To be honest I don’t really think the people in charge there at the time really endorsed me in the first place… I was the bullpen coach for two years previous and I think they were fine with me in that role but as soon as I became the pitching coach I could feel a change in support,, almost like they were forced to have me in that role as a default option, there were misunderstandings and as soon as they could find a reason they replaced me,, there were others things that were said but I’ll stay away from venting…
 
10.Favorite minor league food spot?
SR: Wow, believe it or not there are some really great places in small towns around the country to eat and I’ve been to a lot,, to say there is a favorite might be leaving out too many others.
Scott-610x405
Scott performing w/ Pulley at Grozerock photo by Achim Rascka
 
Music / Skateboarding Questions
1.First concert?
SR: Punk gig.Fear
2.First punk show, who did you go with?
SR:Went with some guys I went to school with, one of their moms dropped us off,, fuck that was a long time ago….
3.Favorite tour story?
SR : Way too many good times on tour…
4.My friend Ron said he was at a Mariners game once yelling Scared Straight lyrics at you, remember that? Get that a lot ?
SR : I don’t remember but it has happened a few times over the years….
5.Pulley released an LP out El Jefe’ from NOFXs label this past November, Was it odd coming back after a five year intermission?
SR: Odd would be if we had stopped playing but we have always been an active band and never really shut it down other than the normal breaks we take during the season,, it felt great getting new music out and we are proud of that……
6.Any more touring plans after the baseball is done this year?
SR: Tour? Well that would depend on describing that? Short runs of gigs are something we have always been able to do,, I don’t think with all our current home life responsibilities we will ever go out for months again and leave jobs behind it’s just too tough these days…
7.Favorite band you toured with , least favorite?
SR: We did a short week run with Propaghandi once and that was really cool, it was up in Canada and I remember being blown away at how talented only three guys could sound live. Least favorite are the bands that live a fantasy world and can’t stop talking about who’s doing what and when they ‘re touring and how many people were there etc…. I just can’t take that seriously if there is not one of the 3 bands that are out there who are really making a living at it,, there are a lot of guys doing what they love to do but their perception of reality is a little off when they talk.
8.Out of the 5000 skateboard decks that hang on the walls, which one is your favorite?
SR: The few that are my personals that I actually rode when I was a kid……
9.One trick you still know how to do without hurting yourself?
SR: I never hurt myself anymore for many reasons, usually because I’m not going fast enough and I can run out of a crash and most of all I never try anything anymore I can’t do, I guess I’m a protected skater now from myself…..
10.Favorite skateboarder?
SR: Prob Alva,, the attitude and the fact that he’s still doing it to this day and a part of the whole scene
 
If you want to catch Scott this year, head over to the Angels’ bullpen and yell some Scared Straight lyrics at him.

This Week In Baseball: Chin Music

Does anybody remember the ‘zine Chin Music!?  Published between 1997 and 2004 outta The Bay Area it was the quintessential crossover ‘zine between punk rock and baseball.  The ‘zine was done by a team of writers who had a deep knowledge of baseball and baseball history as well as a great sense of humor.  Note the cover of their “New York Issue”.

chin music

Aside from the standard fanzine band interviews and record reviews section, every issue also  focused on baseball stories or baseball stories involving bands.  Some of my personal favorite Chin Music! features were:

  • Billy Bean interviews Johnny Ramone.
  • An interview with metal drummer Mike Piazza where he recounts jamming with Motörhead.
  • A Gwar Meets the Oakland  A’s photo essay where the band attended a game in full costume.
  • MaximumRockNRoll’s Tim Yohannan details his hatred of the Yankees going back to his childhood.
  • A history of the mustaches of closing pitchers in the 80’s.
  • An extensive interview with Dock Ellis.

This list doesn’t do justice to the greatness of Chin Music!.  Every issue was densely packed with a variety of all things baseball and music.  Sadly only 7 issues were published in the 7 years it existed and no website archive seems to exist for its content.

Look for old issues online (aka Ebay) I guess.  As with most ‘zines from the late 20th Century, Chin Music! is a profound time capsule to a simpler time when you could still slide hard into 2nd and the catcher could block the plate.