Monday, February 4, 2008

Day 30: Negro League Baseball

In reflection of Black History Month, today's BSOD looks upon why according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics and Sport (TIDES), that the percentage of black major league players (from the 2006 rosters) is now 8.4 percent (this number does not include those who are foreign born). By comparison, in 1997 the percentage was double that - at 17 percent.

A recent article from, sheds some light on the subject of baseball, black youths, hip hop and the perception of the game. From the article titled, "Hunter on a mission to revive interest" (Angels outfielder leading peers in targeting black community)...

Torii Hunter is passionate about bringing young African-Americans back to baseball, and he's leading a movement of peers to reinvest the black community in a game once deeply ingrained in its culture.

A seven-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder with the Twins, about to embark on a new journey with the Angels, Hunter devotes time, energy and money to the task, spreading his gospel: Baseball is a wonderful life, if you give it a chance.

"I talk to kids in the neighborhood," Hunter said, "and they'll say, 'Baseball's a white sport. I'm into the NBA.' I ask them if they know about Jackie Robinson, and they say, 'Yeah, heard of him.' 'What about Hank Aaron?' They'll get this look and say, 'Who's he?'

"Man, that kills me. Our kids have lost touch with our history, our heritage. They don't know we had our own league, the Negro League, with all those great players. Something's got to be done. You have to start somewhere -- reach one kid, two kids. All you can do is your part. That's something I would love for the players to do. This is definitely a big issue."

...the article continues...

"When you look at basketball, you see LeBron James, you see how they are living and all the things that basketball does for them," he (current Twin Craig Monroe) said. "They are promoting them and showing them the 'good life.'

"That's what we are -- we are visual people. And when you see them on TV, you want to be like them."

Adding a modern beat to the game wouldn't hurt, Monroe added.

"When people talk about hip-hop music, it's like it's ghetto," he said. "But it's universal. Blacks, whites, everybody likes the music. If you watch football, like when I went to the Cowboys-Bears game in Chicago, before they kick the ball, they are playing Soulja Boy. If you try to do that in baseball, it's looked down upon.

"We've got to change the perception that because it's hip-hop music, it's not right for baseball."

Sabathia expressed the proactive theme resonating among players when he said, "We can all do more. Talking about the problem isn't going to solve it. It's time to do something."


Today's Baseball Song of the Day is the hip-hop song titled, "Negro League Baseball" by Natural Resource from Brooklyn, NY.

Natural Resource's talent consisted of turntablist James Hassan Barrett (DJ Aggie), and rappers Tsidi Ibrahim (What? What? aka Jean Grae) and Kobie Jawara Dixon (Ocean).

BSOD 30: Negro League Baseball
Artist: Natural Resource
Album: n/a
Released: 1996

Negro League Baseball Lyrics

Check it, check it
"First batter up, first-first batter up"

Now, entering the batter's box
is a guy who wears champion socks and likes rings with rocks
throw up my middle finger to the umpire
cause niggaz just choosin the new talent just, need to retire
Check the signals from my manager, the first base coach
He's throwin signs, tellin me the label's just playing cutthroat
Yo, I hit em with a tape or should I say I take a check swing
I hear the crowd sing, go meet plug and the telephone ring
He says I need more beats, wait a minute, no doubt
My temper runs out, three pitches later, I strike the fuck out
Yo shit like this happens to the real mc's
Because the labels wanna sign up the commercial wannabes
and if, it ain't that, it's just a little bit more, sayin
"Umm, can you put on a screwface and scream lyrics that's hardcore?"
I adore, this whole rap persona, but some of you A&R's
must be mixin coke witcha marijuana, talkin
*sniff* "Oooh, he got the new shit
I'm on his dick but that's an MC that come out with one baby hit"
I split atoms, blow up as if I was atomic
Labels talk so much shit yo I laugh at them like they was comics
Check the scoreboard, we're up by one
Two more hitters to go, and the song ain't even done, Baseball..

"First batter up well here's the pitch that's a curve
Second batter up because the first got served"

From the kids in the batting cages to the pro players (what-what)
to the labels and the mob and the beaches making waves (what-what)
Looking at the pitcher like, "Man what gives?"
They got one-arm fugitives throwin with prosthetic limbs ("eeewww")
look from the team to the umpire means that the
man got demoted from stadiums to refereein gyms
Synonyms from big cheese to the independent label couldn't
pay up they debt so they got cut like unpaid cable
B.. E.. I.. S..
B-O-L, accent on the (o goallll)
Feel the sweat trickling down the back of my neck
Tighten my grip on the bat, take a swing
and it's a technical foul (wait a minute)
Nah that's basketball whatever, good call
How come when black men hit the field, they were throwin bottles
now they throwin million dollar deals
When I steal bases I do it with pride
for Jackie Robinson certified, forerunner for us
Homeruns we must, hit em straight out the ballpark
I'm not patriotic, so I won't sing the National
Underlying stipulations playing underhanded ways
It pays to have your representative stay
or you'll have, top executives gettin all possesive
of your money, and it's not funny
But when uhh loot is involved all problems get solved
Umm, maybe because you supply they cocaine fetish?
To finish this, this business ain't nothin but corrupt
Forget all this garbage, I'd rather play tennis

"First batter up well here's the pitch that's a curve
Second batter up because the first got served"

Baseball was never for blacks
It used to be a pasttime for whites
Now it has mad Puerto Ricans
but that's not the point of the song
The point of the song and I make it mad simple
when I be flipping this script
is that the industry is all over the mound
pitching but nobody's makin any hits, hmm
Baseball is not just a sport
It's the verbal, mental, physical, spiritual
emotional level that we are on
It's about time that all you devils was gone
like charm, I said it and meant it
If you can not handle it then for your ears it's not intended
You can play the documented, all athletes quoted
Cause when you speak to be exploited then your spot will get exploded
Bases are loaded, but there is no RBI's in the stadium
where players try, to be hard as titanium
I got your cranium movin, when I be showin and provin
Now you fear, that your career, is goin down the tubes
and it'll be, along industry, that's withering
and was left oceans, about to blow to smithereens
I bring, lyrical formats that you'll admire
And to the Hall of Fame I'm going when I retire
They'll set your world afire, there is nobody to fear
when every umpire and A&R is screamin that you are outta here
And to your amazement, a tax writeoff is your replacement
You gotta face it, there is no other crew adjacent
With sounds from the basement, we rise
We energize, to take up the whole enterprise
By now you realize, that when we're in the place
That we will come fat, over piano and the bass
If you're looking for security then you can end your chase
Come home, to Negro League, and you'll be safe.. Baseball

No doubt, Negro League is in the house
No doubt, no doubt, knockin runs outs
Cause we do it like this, we do it like that
I was rockin stage just like to a bat
Sent to home back when umm, be doing my thing
Hit a homerun, with the Negro League theme
Do it like this, do it like that
I was rockin stage just like to a bat
Sent to home back when umm, be doing my thing
Hit the homerun with the Negro League swing

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Day 29: Gasolina

Starting pitchers have a routine all their own. The only players to be listed in the lineup up to four days before they are scheduled to pitch. Pitch on Monday, golf on tuesday, study the charts, the videos, talk with the scouts on Wednesday, more golf on Thursday, then pitch again on Friday. On the day they toe the rubber, most are left to themselves. Left to be quiet, left to simmer their emotions, bottle them up and take them to the mound. Their teammates knowing better then to disturb them on such a day. A watched pot never boils, unless the flames are fanned with Gasoline, and it's the day for Johan Santana to pitch.

Today's Baseball Song of the Day is "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee hailing from Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Gasolina was the song that was played in the locker-room and over the loudspeakers in Minnesota when two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana took the mound during his 2004 - 2005 seasons in Minnesota. It's Latin/hip-hop Reggaeton with dancehall riddims and rough riding rapping makes it a very popular genre in Central America, the Carribean, and Puerto Rico.

While translations of slang may vary, the loose translation of some of the lyrics are:

so my babes turn on the engines... ready to catch what's coming, Hard!....She likes gasoline...She likes gasoline (give me more gasoline!)

From the May 23, 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated...

Sunday, 11:45 a.m. The place should be as quiet as a church, no? A massive winning streak is on the line today, a man will be knocking on history's door, a man will take the ball and walk out to perform before thousands. He must have silence. He must be left alone. That's baseball's way: No one bothers the starting pitcher. No one talks to him, no one touches him; superstitious teammates don't even look his way.

He's supposed to use this time before a game like a monk, mulling weaknesses and strengths, communing with his arm, staring daggers into his locker until his passion rises and adrenaline builds and he's primed to spring toward the mound like a bucking bronc Wait. Who dialed up the volume?... A ella le gusta la gasolina Dame mas gasolina! Como le encanta la gasolina Dame mas gasolina!

This can't be good. Those players back there, rapping along with Daddy Yankee near the trainer's room, don't they know better? No: Three of them giggle now as music fills the Minnesota Twins' clubhouse, then lean forward to gather in their throats a pitch-perfect imitation of an enraged baseball lifer and shout in English, "Shut the f--- up!"

Message: No shutting up around here. But won't the starter Never mind. The three straighten up, laughing louder as the beat pounds the walls and the singer brags, and you can see. One of them is the starter. Johan Santana steps back to his locker, huge grin on his face. He grabs a clear bottle the size of a rummy's fifth, no label, filled halfway with liquid the color of tobacco juice. He sits down, uncorks it, swishes it once under his nose. He pours a bit into his right palm, then rubs the locally produced liniment into his stomach, calves, upper thighs; once he breaks a sweat, it will give his muscles a nice, tight burn. He stands up, and the music nudges him--Duro! (Hard!)--and he dances a few quick steps. Soon he will try to win his 18th straight game, two shy of Roger Clemens's American League record. His teammates jabber at him, and he gives it right back. He sits, and with his right hand massages that precious left arm, shoulder to triceps to elbow. It's the only giveaway: He's pitching soon.


BSOD 29: Gasolina
Artist: Daddy Yankee
Album: Barrio Fina
Released: July 2004

Gasolina Lyrics

Subele el mambo pa' que mis gatas prendan los motores,
Subele el mambo pa' que mis gatas prendan los motores,
Subele el mambo pa' que mis gatas prendan los motores,
Que se preparen que lo que viene es pa q le den, Duro!

Mamita yo se que tu no te me va' a quitar (duro!)
Lo que me gusta es que tu te dejas llevar (duro!!)
to los weekenes ella sale a vacilar (duro!!)
mi gata no para de janguiar porque

A ella le gusta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina)
Como le encanta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina)

Ella prende las turbinas,
No discrimina,
No se pierde ni un party de marquesina,
Se acicala hasta pa la esquina,
Luce tan bien q hasta la sombra le combina,
Asesina, me domina,
Anda en carro, motoras y limosinas,
Llena su tanque de adrenalina,
Cuando escucha el reggaeton en la cocina.

A ella le gusta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina!!)
Como le encanta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina!!)

Aqui nosotros somos los mejores,
No te me ajores,
En la pista nos llaman los matadores,
Haces que cualquiera se enamore,
Cuando bailas al ritmo de los tambores,
Esto va pa las gatas de to colores,
Pa las mayores, pa las menores,
Pa las que son mas zorras que los cazadores,
Pa las mujeres que no apagan sus motores.

Tenemo' tu y yo algo pendiente,
Tu me debes algo y lo sabes,
Conmigo ella se pierde,
No le rinde cuentas a nadie

Subele el mambo pa' que mis gatas prendan los motores,
Subele el mambo pa' que mis gatas prendan los motores,
Subele el mambo pa' que mis gatas prendan los motores,
Que se preparen que lo que viene es pa que le den, Duro!

Mamita yo se que tu no te me va' a quitar (duro!)
Lo que me gusta es que tu te dejas llevar (duro!!)
to los weekenes ella sale a vacilar (duro!!)
mi gata no para de janguiar porq

A ella le gusta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina!!)
Como le encanta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina!!)


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Day 28: I Can Change

As a child, Derek Jeter grew up watching and admiring Dave Winfield. The Hall of Famer Winfield was a legendary athlete who not only performed at a high level in many sports (Winfield won a Big-Ten Basketball Championship as a member of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 1972), but also performed where it counts most, off the field. Winfield was one of the first athletes to form his own charitable foundation, The Winfield Foundation.

Following in Winfield's footsteps, Jeter has created his own charitable organization named, Turn 2 Foundation. The Turn 2 Foundation was started in 1996. The goal of the mission is:

To create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "TURN 2" healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets that promote and reward academic excellence, leadership development and positive behavior. Turn 2's goal is to see the children of these programs grow safely and successfully into adulthood and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Recently, Jeter held a celebrity golf tournament in Tampa, Florida. From an article on the web site, Jeter is interviewed by ex-big leaguer, Harold Reynolds who was a terrific shortstop himself.

Artists like John Legend provided the entertainment for Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation event. (
"And my dad is a drug-and-alcohol-abuse counselor, and this is something that I think hits every family, regardless of your race (or) how much money your family makes -- it's an issue that everyone has to deal with. And we thought it was fitting to start the foundation after my first year, and here we are 12 years later."

Jeter's charity weekend included a launch party on a big yacht with music from John Legend, a silent auction and the golf tournament. Oscar winner Freeman showed up along with some baseball stars and even Jeter's former bench coach and buddy for life, the irrepressible Don Zimmer.

In fact, when asked by Reynolds how he gets all these big names to continue to turn up at Turn 2 events, Jeter smiled. "It's been fairly easy, with the exception of Zimmer," Jeter quipped. "Everyone else, I just call them and they come. (With) Zim, you gotta send cars, you gotta pay him a little appearance fee and things like that."


From On Saturday night, guests were treated to a soundtrack courtesy of Jeter family friend DJ Premier and, of course, a short set by Legend, whom Jeter was very proud to have in attendance.

"It's kind of amazing all the support we've gotten throughout the years, and now we have arguably one of the most talented musicians in the world out here to help out the foundation and give his time for a few days," Jeter said.

Legend said he wouldn't have missed such a special and important event.

"I'm happy to participate," he said. "I think Derek's doing a great thing working with the kids in the city, giving them something constructive to do, and I'm proud to be a part of this."


Today's Baseball Song of the Day is from the artist who performed at Jeter's celebrity charity event, John Legend. After appearing on countless other artists works (Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, Jay-Z et all), Legend released his first album "Get Lifted" in 2004. Growing up in family surrounded by music and performing in his local church, Legend's music is a mix of gospel, Philly hip-hop, and old school soul.

Today's BSOD is in honor of Jeter's foundation, and the idea that it's never too late to be able to change and make your life better. The song is titled, "I Can Change." Tying into the idea of the baseball term of "turning two" to get the double play, joining in with Legend to complete the second half of the song is Snoop Dogg.

BSOD 28: I Can Change
Artist: John Legend
Album: Get Lifted
Released: September 2004

I Can Change Lyrics

Snoop talking
Hey yo nephew check this out man
Now I know you got that bad chick right there
You aint even tripping off of her
But she doing all of that for you
She got this, she got that
She’s off the hizzle
I mean when you find one like that
You got to make that change man
Cuz they don’t come too often
And when they do come
You gotta be smart enough to know when to change
Like Sam Cooke say change gon’ come nephew
And you better believe that

As I look back on all that I've done to you
My biggest regrets
The things that I never could do
I see the light now baby it's shining through
Gotta give up the game
Yeah I got some changin’ to do

I won’t get high if you want it
Get that straight
9 to 5 if you want it
Keep my ass home at night if you want it
Whatever you need me to do

When you talk I’ma listen
Give you all that attention you missing
Girl I swear I’ma handle my business
Just like a real man should do

I can change
I can change (you know I can change baby)
I can change
For you (you know I can stop baby)
I can change (you know I change baby)
I can change
I can change
For you (you know I can stop baby)

I’ll give up all the places I used to go
Stay out the club
Stay home because I’m with you
I’ll give up all those girls that I used to know
They don’t compare
Baby I swear it’s the truth (you know it’s the truth baby)

So I’m through with the women
Yeah that’s right
I give up on the pimpin’
Girl I’m gonna repent from my sinnin’
If that’s what you want me to do

I’ll get right if you want it
Go to church
Get baptized if you want it
Girl you opened my eyes and I’m gonna
Be much better for you

Baby believe me
Baby believe me

I can change (you know I can change baby)
I can change (know I can change baby)
I can change
For you
I can change
I can change
I can change
For you

Snoop’s Rap
Take me to the river
And baptize my soul
I’m so outta control
Needing someone to hold
Man it’s cold
I aint been clubbin’, drinkin’, or smokin’
I’m focused
Bowin’ down every night prayin’ and hopin’

I’m trying to figure out a way
But I just don’t know how to say
But I’m rearrangin’
Hopefully I’m changin’
And you can see that
Baby cuz it’s hard for me
Kinda sorta odd for me
But aint nothing to it
If you need me to do it
I guess…

I can change
I can change
I can change
For you (I’ll give up on the pimpin’ for you)
I can change
I can change
I can change
For you (sing it again y’all)

I can change
I can change
I can change
For you
I can change
I can change
I can change
For you

You know I can stop baby

Gotta believe me (you gotta belive me baby)
Gotta believe me (mmm yeah)
I telling the truth

You know I can stop baby

Gotta believe me (believe me)
Gotta believe me (believe me yeah)
I’m telling the truth

Get baptized if you want it
This time I mean it

Gotta believe me (this time I mean it)
Gotta believe me
I'm telling the truth

Related Links:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Day 27: Keeping Score

"Baseball and music together. That's how it should be."

Wow! How about that? And we here at BSOD didn't even state that quote, or have to pay for it (this time at least). Instead it was from retired Snohomish High School Choir Teacher Pat Castro who is holding a concert to raise money for a scholarship award in his name.

In an uplifting article from the HeraldNet web site, Mr. Castro, who taught for 22 years at Snohomish High in the State of Washington, has established the Patrick Castro Excellence in Vocal Music Award. The award will bestow a college scholarship for vocal music students.

"I was blessed as a teacher. I was pretty good, and sometimes I thought I was (famed conductor) Arturo Toscanini, but I didn't deserve it. I was just blessed."

Over the years Castro also has performed, often as a tenor soloist, with such organizations as the Walla Walla and Port Angeles symphony orchestras, the Everett Chorale and the Seattle Chorale Company.

Castro, who now lives in Marysville, has kept busy since retiring in 2005. He works as a courier for Compass Health as well as a football spotter and basketball statistician for KRKO (1380 AM) radio in Everett.

A sports fan, he also is the official scorekeeper for the Everett AquaSox and was instrumental in getting the baseball club to audition community members to sing the U.S. and Canadian national anthems at games.

"Baseball and music together. That's how it should be," he said.


As a salute to Mr. Castro, we here at BSOD dedicate today's song, titled "Keeping Score" by Michelle Malone to you. It seems that if you add up your scorecard, it's been a life well led so far. Keep up the good work!

click the link to to hear a sample of the song; Keeping Score

BSOD 27: Keeping Score
Artitst: Michelle Malone
Album: Home Grown
Released: August 1999

Snippet of the lyrics:

Life isn't worth living
if you're not giving your heart


Live like no-one's keeping score


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