I finally finished my final game synopsis tonight. And also did a cute little run-down of my Pilgrimage "by the numbers."
But I also put together a commemorative song playlist on iTunes. A "Pilgrimage mix tape" to play on rainy days to remind me of my epic adventure. Here is how it rounded out...
1.) "Centerfield" by John Fogerty
I don't know what it does for you, but this song just gets me all geeked up for baseball. And I believe it should be played before the first pitch of every baseball game. I would institute that if I were Commissioner for a day...
2.) "The Gregarious Raconteur" by Theocracy
You have to be a faithful listener to the ESPN Bill Simmons podcast to understand this song. And it brought me a great deal of laughter & entertainment on the opening stretch of the trip.
3.) "Pork and Beans" by Weezer
Because its awesome. Because it just came out. Because Weezer has written the latest anthem for non-conformists everywhere. And because when I explained this pilgrimage to people, I always heard feedback like, "You're going on a trip just to watch baseball games?" -and- "You're going on a trip like this by yourself?" YES. I AM. And I did. Because I like baseball, dang it. And because I can meet cool people along the way & hang out with old friends in big cities. And it turned out to be quite awesome... haters...
4.) "So Afraid" by Bebo Norman
If there was one thing that I discovered & recognized about MYSELF on this trip -- for the first time -- was how afraid I was at seemingly every turn. I am a total weeny. No, really -- I am. I was afraid of all these big cities, of leaving my rental car in parking lots, of riding subways, of how bad my knee was when I first hurt it. Real, exhilarating-and-brings-a-rush-of-adrenaline fear. But I faced & conquered each of these fears one by one. Sorta proud of myself for that. I reflected on it in my considerable amount of time on the road, happened upon this song one day in my iPod's shuffle mode, and grew a new appreciation for the lyrics.
5.) "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys
Boston's best-loved Irish folk-rock band. Papelbon's tune. Watching Sox fans dance an Irish jig in the stands when Papelbon came in. I'll think of these things whenever I hear this song from now on...
6.) "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond
I haven't felt THAT much peace, joy, good-will toward my fellow man, et. al. warm fuzzies since I don't know when. Singing this song at Fenway was a warm experience that is difficult to describe. Part "fanhood rite of passage" & existential becoming mixed with part "Strange sense of Homecoming to a place I'd never been" (in a way that "this must be sorta like what Heaven will feel like one day" -- homecoming even though I've never been there) sensation. I know it sounds corny to say, but Fenway was sort of a religious experience for me. And I miss it. This even borders on sounding sacrilegious, but there's a yearning to experience that again, and a dull ache when I realize that it may be a long while. You know that line "I don't care if I never get back" (speaking of not returning home from the ballpark) from Take Me Out to the Ballgame? I feel that way about Fenway...
7.) "New York Groove" by Hello
I played this song as I was driving into NYC on Monday the 9th. I'll admit: it was an utterly cheesy moment as I sang along. But I was having fun with my first visit to NYC. And this cheesy sing-a-long song fit the moment.
8.) "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" by Bruce Springsteen
You just have to visit a big city on a hot day in the summer time to understand. Wow! If the word "eyeful" ever applied...
9.) "Your Hand In Mine" by Explosions in the Sky
I played a lot of Explosions in the Sky on my day driving through Pennsylvania. If you've never heard of them, they are the instrumental band that does the music for the television series "Friday Night Lights." You could listen to their music doing literally the most mundane thing in the world -- like, say, pooper-scooping after your dog -- and yet feel a melancholy sense of heroism. Great music.
10.) "Into the Fire" by Bruce Springsteen
Russert was apparently a big fan of The Boss, so they were playing his tunes in the background during MSNBC's coverage on that Friday in St. Louis. Especially this song, which is sort of a spirited dirge. So I downloaded it, and immediately clung to it. And I'll always think of Russert & St. Louis when I hear it.
11.) "Rise Above This" by Seether
When the Cards were getting blown out, and were bringing in a reliever, they blared this song over the speakers. I was intrigued, so I looked it up & downloaded it when I got back to the hotel. A fantastic rock tune! I sense some spiritual undertones, too; though, I had to download a "Clean" version since there is also apparently a "Restricted" version. A great song to sort of bring you back to a right frame of mind from depth of sorrow. I'll always think of Busch Stadium & the positive Cardinals fans when I hear this song.
12.) "Willow" by James Horner & The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
This is a rendition of all the songs from the score of the film, "Willow," fit into a tidy little three minute & fifty-three second piece. I was in a soundtrack mood at one point on Saturday, my 12-hour driving day home from St. Louis. And I got stuck on this song for a little while. For one, it is a GREAT movie -- an epic tale of a little man who goes on a great adventure, plays a big surprisingly big role in the outcome of a great battle, only to return home again to his loved ones. Second, this was the first movie I ever went to see at the theater, and it was my Mom who took me -- just she & I. And, third, this was a GREAT, totally-underrated movie score that covers a wide range of emotions. And its a great song to end a playlist on.