Friday, September 23, 2011

John Lennon Was Right, or How I Got Into The Baseball Hall of Fame

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" sang John Lennon in his song "Beautiful Boy". I could not agree more.

Like all musicians, I'm susceptible to all the usual musician's daydreams. Sold out shows, hit songs, hit albums, Grammy awards, world-wide tours, etc. These sorts of daydreams usually strike when you are younger, when the whole world of possibilities is in front of you. You think "if I do this and this and this, then that will happen", but it usually doesn't. The so-called "experts" tell you to set goals and plan in order to steer your career in the direction you intend it to go.

The reality is practically all of it is beyond your control. My "day job" is in TV sports broadcasting, and one day back in the '90s I had a gig coming up at a local club. A couple nights before the show I was working on the Yankees broadcast of a Twins/Yankees game, and I put a poster advertising my gig up near the production truck. The Yankees TV producer saw the poster, and asked if I could write a song for the show about how host Al Trautwig was off and Mike Crispino was sitting in for him. I had to go home to get my guitar, and I wrote the song as I drove. When I got back we taped the song for the open of the pregame show. I guess it went well, because I did two more songs for them the next time the Yankees were in town. When I started working Twins home shows, the producers said I should do a song for their show, but there was nothing seriously proposed and I didn't have any ideas anyway.

In 2002 Twins TV analyst Bert Blyleven began circling people with the telestrator, which is a device which is used as a "drawing board" so to speak. John Madden first started using it on NFL broadcasts to illustrate the development of a football play. Bert started circling fans at the ballpark, and a craze was born. Soon people started bringing all sorts of "Circle Me Bert" signs to the games. So I wrote a song called "Circle Me Bert" and brought it to the Twins TV producers. They liked it, and we shot a video for the song in front of the Metrodome. The video was of a fictional band (think Spinal Tap or The Rutles), which included me, Fox Sports North sideline reporter Clay Matvick, and Bert Blyleven in a wig playing tambourine. The video aired on the Twins pregame show. The Twins saw it, liked the song, and decided to give away CDs of "Circle Me Bert" to the first 10,000 fans in attendance at a Twins game. I got a little $ for that, and I figured that was pretty much the beginning and end of "Circle Me Bert" for me.

Fast forward to 2011. Bert Blyleven is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. A month or so later, I got an email from the Hall asking for a copy of "Circle Me Bert" for their library. This was a big surprise, certainly nothing I envisioned or planned, and, frankly, kind of cool. I just spoke to Tim Wiles at the Hall today, and he told me that "Circle Me Bert" will be there as long as the Baseball Hall of Fame exists. And I suppose hundreds of years from now, someone may take a listen to it and wonder "who the hell is this?" So if it's 2111 and you are reading this, that's the story.

Life is definitely what happens when you're making other plans.