Monday, June 30, 2008

Steal Your Words -- Ryan Paul Interview

Shortly after posting the "Pro Ball Punk" feature on Giants prospect Ryan Paul, I got an e-mail from the man himself. This being such a small blog, I was surprised that he even found it but it was an honor to say the least. He even offered to field some questions so I sent a few basics to him. Enjoy.

When you were growing up, who was your favorite ballplayer?
I always liked the Seattle superstars, Ken Jr and the Big Unit. (I had a coach who called me the medium unit, brutal nickname, haha) But the first player I really got excited about watching was Scott Radinsky. Go figure! The best part was, during the time he was with the Dodger, I had no idea about the other side of him. Didn't know he was a local guy, I was singing Pulley tracks not knowing he was on vocals, and had no idea about the skateboard side either. Later on, when I discovered all of this, he pretty much became my idol. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was this high school coach, my pony ball coach at the time, telling me I reminded him of Scott Radinsky.

What was the best concert you've ever attended?
Well Strung Out always puts on a great show, the small local places are the best, it's always the same people in the crowd. That said, my favorite was None More Black. It just so happens, that it ties into baseball. In 2006 I was playing at CSUF at the time, and we had a series against Long Beach state. Originally the show was scheduled or mislabeled to be on a Sunday night. We play day games on Sunday, so I would have plenty of time to make it. Turns out the show was on Saturday night. I was crushed! NMB was playing on the west coast, 15 minutes from my apartment and I cant see them. Anyways, Saturday night comes and we are warming up for the game. About 30 minutes prior to the start a transformer blows up on one of the light poles. The game is delayed for sometime, and finally cancelled. I get all excited about making it to the show. Of course we hit traffic on the way back to Fullerton, and I'm thinking all is lost. To sum it up, I managed to change, pick up my bro, and drive to Chain Reaction (the club) in record time. We rolled in and NMB was just stepping up to the stage. I think we all know what happened after that. The whole day of events seemed like they were out of a movie. That was a very special show for me.

Do you have any music recommendations for my dozens of readers?
Obviously I recommend anything by Strung Out, Kid Dynamite and NMB, but that's boring, everyone knows those bands. I'll try to throw out a few people may have never heard of.
Shook Ones - Sixteen I'm pretty sure these guys are out of Washington. I was online somewhere searching for a Kid Dynamite replacement and found Shook Ones. Pretty fast, sloppy at times, and rough vocals. Perfect! The album is something like 16 songs and only 20 minutes long with "Crunch time in tooth town" being my favorite track.
Battleflask - Pledge Your Allegiance. Saw these guys open up for Strung Out in the San Fernando Valley. I have never seen this kind of energy from a lead singer. During the song "World Class Hero" Phillipe screams out "ARE YOU READY!? ARE YOU READY!?" While pointing at people in the crowd and staring them down. He pointed at me and I almost crapped myself. I was thinking "Dude, I dunno what he is talking about, but I'm sure as hell going to get ready for it." Anyways, "Pledge Your Allegiance" is only a couple song EP, but it's worth checking out. Go see them live!
Drunk in Public - Tapped Out This band is from Lompoc, Ca. That's all I got on these guys, they probably are not even around anymore. A friend dropped off the album a long time ago. It's punk with just a hint of twang mixed around. Dude, the album cover has astronauts hooked up to kegs, floating in space. What else do you need to know?

If you haven't clicked on those band links, do so. Ryan has some great taste in music. Remember, Ryan pitches for the Augusta Green Jackets in the Class A South Atlantic League. If you are near Augusta or a team that plays in the league, be sure to go to a game to see him pitch. He's a reliever (mostly), so you never know when he'll get the call. But when he warms up in Augusta, his walk out song is "Drop the Pop" by None More Black.

I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on his progress over the season and beyond. Good luck, Ryan and thanks for the interview.

Photos courtesy of and Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pro Ball Punk -- Ryan Paul

Our first minor league pro ball punk is found all the way in the single A South Atlantic League. Ryan Paul is a relief pitcher for the Augusta Green Jackets, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, located in Augusta, Ga. The south paw was the Giants 10th pick in the 2006 draft. He spent some time in high A ball with the San Jose Giants this year but was demoted to make room for another pitcher.
He pitched collegiately for the Cal State Fullerton Titans. His college bio is the only clue I have that he is into punk. Under favorite musical artists he lists Kid Dynamite, None More Black, and Strung Out. The dude is "Orgcore." I wonder if he knows about the band that never was, LaGrecia. Their new and only album On Parallels is awesome, by the way.

So if anybody lives near Augusta and goes to a Green Jackets game, let me know what song they play when he enters a game. If you are feeling industrious, try to interview the guy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

File under "Wha . . .?"

So I found this odd. I'm not sure why I think it is so out of place, but it really is cool information. Stephen Malkmus of Pavement and now Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks is a big baseball fan. Not only that, but he plays fantasy baseball and, apparently, softball with what I imagine to be indie-waifs from Portland. This was all revealed to me through an interview at the blog 17 Dots.
Highlights include his thoughts on Brett Myers ("He's a bad redneck."), mohawks (They're dumb, mohawks.") and the indie rock sports community (Read the interview).
The entry's a few months old but it is still useful. You can really tell that he is a big fan.
As far as the music side, my knowledge of 90s college rock is limited. I DO know that a Pavement song leads into Pardon the Interruption (see below). That's all I got. But nevertheless, this was a pleasantly surprising find.

Photo courtesy of Moses Berkson and Matador Records.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pro Ball Punk -- Jonathan Papelbon

It's rather appropriate that Jonathan Papelbon plays for a team that claims the Dropkick Murphys as its unofficial house band. The Dropkicks are known for pandering to Boston's sense of phony nostalgia with catchy anthems. See that Scorsese film. Since that film, it had been observed that there are quite a few more, let's say, mainstream music fans at Dropkick shows.
As you can see, Papelbon went with the mohawk in the past. But just as listening to the Dropkick Murphys doesn't make you punk, having a mohawk doesn't either. He has also been known to pander to Boston.

But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He currently has a 1.84 ERA and .89 WHIP. As a commenter pointed out, pitching successfully in a bandbox of a stadium is very respectable. Papelbon does just that in Fenway, which features a high wall at tee ball distance in left field.

Papelbon also has a web site and he does some charity work as well. Overall, I give Johnathan a pass, but I am more impressed with his brother Josh, who throws sidearm.

Photo courtesy of Check out their Worthless Card Collection.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pop Punk Band Sets Tour Through Minor League Ballparks

Tooth and Nail act Hawk Nelson have recently announced a "Faith Nights Baseball Tour." This tour will take the Canadian act through minor league parks throughout the US. While I don't support Hawk Nelson's brand of pre-packaged, sugary, Christian pop, I do support the idea of bands touring minor league ballparks. More bands, expecially ones trying to get their name out, should do this. It's a venue that guarantees at least a thousand or more listeners and minor league games are everywhere. There is no shortage of games throughout the country. Personally, I think a ball cap from each park you play would be cool, too. If you are interested in seeing Hawk Nelson, you can check them out at the following games:

6.8.08 Huntsville Stars, Huntsville, AL
6.26.08 Durham Bulls, Durham, NC
7.13.08 Memphis Redbirds, Memphis, TN
7.24.08 Fort Wayne Wizards, Fort Wayne, IN
7.25.08 South Bend Silver Hawks, South Bend, IN
7.26.08 Akron Aeros, Akron, OH
7.27.08 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Appleton, WI
7.28.08 West Michigan White Caps, Comstock Park, MI
7.30.08 Mississippi Braves, Pearl, MS
8.14.08 Frisco Rough Riders, Frisco, TX
8.16.08 Tucson Sidewinders, Tucson, AZ
8.20.08 Fresno Grizzlies, Fresno, CA
8.22.08 High Desert Mavericks, Adelanto, CA
8.27.08 Modesto Nuts, Modesto, CA

I'd like to see a pic of this band in Modesto Nuts gear.

Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Leader.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Standard Bearer -- Scott Radinsky

I'd be remiss to leave this guy out. Lead singer of So-Cal punk acts Ten Foot Pole and, currently, Pulley, Scott Radinsky was/is the quintessential punk rock baseball player. A south paw pitcher, Radinsky made his debut with the Chicago White Sox on April 9, 1990. He was an effective "LOOGY" throughout his career, which spanned to 2001, making stops with the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Indians. He didn't pitch in 1994 due to being diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma. But no worries, he kicked cancer's ass.

Radinsky's musical career began in 1983, with Ten Foot Pole, then known as Scared Straight. Under this name and line-up, the band released two albums: Swill and Rev. Radinsky and the rest of TFP parted ways in the mid 90s, apparently because the band wanted didn't want to compete with Radinsky's baseball career. (Ten Foot Pole replaced him with a 13 year old boy. At least, that's what it sounds like. Sorry Dennis Jagard, your vocals are annoying.)

Enter Pulley. The band released their first album, Esteem Driven Engine in 1996. Overall, the band has released five full-lengths, most recently Matters in 2004. Also in 2004, they did a split with The Slackers and did a bunch of Minor Threat covers for some reason.

Today, Radinsky is the pitching coach of the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile, there is a new Pulley EP out there somewhere and one of these days, it will be released. I suspect we won't see it until the Buffalo no longer roam.

Take a listen to some of his tunes.

Photos courtesy of Roctober Magazine and the Pulley MySpace.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pro Ball Punk -- C.J. Wilson

One of the new crop of punk ball players, C.J. Wilson lives his ideals. The current Texas Rangers closer connects with his fans via his MySpace and holds regular Guitar Hero tournaments to raise money for charity. While his musical taste seems a little too screamy metal/whiny for my liking (Killswitch Engage, etc.), the dude's charisma is undeniable. He drives speedy rocket cars through the streets of European cities and will, undoubtedly, steal your girlfriend.

As of June 6, he has a 4.32 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and 11 saves. To be fair, however, his ERA is that high mostly from one bad outing versus Seattle (a 54.00 ERA in .2 IP, yuck).

He used to keep an MLBlog, which I linked to on the left. The last entry was earlier this year, so he may get back to that.

Oh yeah. He's straight-edge, too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Cubs v. White Sox" through the Larry Arms Lens

Chicago's finest, The Lawrence Arms, posted some segments they taped for ManiaTV (because they're crazy, wakka wakka) on ye old YouTube. One segment at about 1:25 has them breaking down the conflicted loyalties of the Chicago baseball fan. Check it out because these guys are always good for a laugh.

I'm pretty sure the Chicago sentiment is unique to the area. New York fans don't vacillate between teams. I know Cards and Royals fans don't change loyalties like underwear. It's quite the Second City phenomenon.

Tradition of Success

Why is this guy punk?

Despite what you may believe, it isn't because of the mohawk. It's because he appears to be wearing a replica 2006 World Series ring on his right index finger. Winning your tenth world championship will give you that swagger.

Thanks to Bob Crowe at Saint Louis Daily Photo Blog for the pic.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let's get rockin

In high school, where roles are rigidly defined like the caste system in India or the Hamptons, it is difficult, if not impossible to be both a jock and a punk. If you like you music loud and fast, you can't be on any sports teams. If you play football or baseball, you are being fake. Fortunately, common sense slowly sets in about the age of 20 and these two aspects no longer become mutually exclusive. That's all this blog is about. Let's see how long this one lasts.

One story that I want to feature tonight is about the Double A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Springfield, Cardinals. This story by Kary Boohar had shed some light on a minor league punk, Adam Ottavino:
His season had soured enough, with a bloated ERA and worrisome record chipping away at his confidence, and so Springfield Cardinals right-hander Adam Ottavino figured it was time to get right on Sunday.

And he wasn't kidding.

Earlier this season, his warm-up music was "Jukebox Hero" by Foreigner. On Sunday, he turned to "Mother," the edgy, signature song of 1990s death metal band Danzig.

I am going to give Boohar a pass on calling Danzig "death metal" because that's not the story. The dude went from Foreigner to Danzig. Did he dig the album up from his brothers lp collection/pot stash between games of D&D? It's not too often that you see such a musical transformation, but when it happens, how can you not be proud?

Yeah, I didn't link to "Jukebox Hero." You know what it sounds like.