Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How I Wound Up Playing For The New York Yankees

Guitar, Not Third Base

I guess I’m a dual-career sort of guy. I’m a musician/singer/songwriter/guitarist of course. But I also work in live sports TV broadcasting. Occasionally this presents some musical opportunities.

The Yankees were in Minneapolis for a series with the Twins. I was working on the Yankees broadcast. I also had a gig coming up at a club in Minneapolis called The Fine Line. So I put up a few posters around the TV truck in the hopes of luring some of my TV co-workers to the show. Leon, the producer for Yankees TV on Madison Square Garden Television noticed my poster and asked if I had my guitar with me. I didn’t, but I said I could go home and get it.

Leon told me that their usual play by play announcer Al Trautwig could not make the trip, and Mike Crispino was filling in. Leon asked “could you write a song about it?” Of course, why not!

So I got in my car and drove the three miles home to get my guitar. Along the way I had a notebook on the passenger seat so I could write the song as I was driving. By the time I got back to the Metrodome, the song was written.

We shot the open for the broadcast outside in front of the Metrodome. Mike Crispino said something along the lines of “sometimes words just aren’t enough”, and the camera pans over to me and I start singing “The Ballad of Al Trautwig”. Mike interrupts me several times, and I add more to the song each time. By the time the song is over, I’m getting pretty annoyed by Mike’s interruptions.

Leon loved it, and the next two times the Yankees came back to town, they asked me for a song. I did a couple more songs for them, written on the spot. They lost interest when I started asking about money.

But while I didn't make any money, I learned that I could write a song on the spot if I had to.