Hot in the summer, hot to the glove,
down the barrel and over the top
Into the box like their up against a wall
with a blindfold on looking for a walk
Smoke twisting up from the field
off the coach’s cigar and the idle kick
It was all-surefire a downhill sprint
when up to the mound he saw his mother running
“Oh they’ll remember you son over the lot,
throwing strikes on strikes not even a walk,
but I’ve come here to bring you in
cause your old mans had an accident.”
Red stitch slip in a downward spin
as a signal to the pen bring the closer in
The grain, his hand, the auger got it,
and the stubble is the color of the dust on your mitt.
The stubble is the color of the dust on your mitt
“Don’t you remember that heat thrown over the top,
all those strikes not even a walk
And those perfect 8 till the closer came
On that day his old man went
And those perfect 8 till the closer came in,
For the ninth to give up three and the win.”
In Alberta, on the plains north of Calgary, the winters are long and cold they bite with big white teeth. These rural, simple and hardworking people sit patiently by their fires and wait for summer, a summer that is always short and hot.
When I was 6, I would jump into the backseat of my dad’s pickup truck as he would drive my brother, Jamie, all over the country to his baseball games. I loved baseball. I loved baseball almost as much as them. I would stand beside my friend Ryan and we would watch the game and watch our brothers and look through the chain link fence with our young keen eyes. We saw the balls, the strikes, the out’s and the coach’s walk to mound; but what we waited for was the foul balls.
If a foul ball flew over the fence, Ryan and I would sprint like outfielders to track it down in a race that was always even because we both got our fair share of foul balls as far as I can remember. With the ball in one of our gloves, we would saunter over to a little white shack that always needed a paint job and the old Mrs. Claus looking lady at the concession stand would hold out her big soft hand and we place the ball into it like we were at a carnival. With her other hand she handed us a quarter. We would hand it straight back to her for 2 licorice’s and chew them all the way back to the chain link fence. I loved baseball.
My dad also loved baseball. He would be the guy that sat on the bleachers holding one of those baseball scorebooks, the one with the coils all down one side and with a thousand little baseball diamond pictures inside where he would translate the game into this picture language. He must be really good at remember pictures because he would keep the score in this book game after game, and there were lots of them, and now at 67 years old he still remembers all these plays in the baseball game. My brother hit a triple down the right field line to drive in 3 with the bases loaded in Oyen to win a Provincial game. Another time, with runners on first and second Jamie caught a line drive, stepped on second and overthrew the neighbor kid (Shawn Gorr) at first only to cover the bag and get all 3 outs by himself.
My dad remembers this.
I wrote a song called The Closer. It’s a story about a pitcher in a small town, a lot like the one I grew up in, who is pitching a perfect game into the 9th inning. But his mom runs onto the mound and tells him that he needs to leave the game because his dad has had a farming accident. So the coach brings in the closer with a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning. He gives up a walk. Then a single. Then a home-run. They lose the game 3-2 in the 9th.
I think that sometimes we think that these small moments in small towns don’t matter, but the truth is that they do.
The baseball diamonds, and the hockey rinks and the community centers are the theaters where life takes place for these people. They are the stages that hold the metaphors for the joys and the tragedy’s of simple life. Everybody comes in the heat of a short summer and sits there, cheering and groaning and feeling joy and heartbreak together. And they all love baseball.
released June 24, 2014
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Banjo: Mike Edel
Pump Organ: Joby Baker
Drums: Lyle Molzan
Mixed by: Colin Stewart
Additional Engineering: Joby Baker
Video by: Mike Edel, Jorge R. Canedo Estrada, Henrique Barone, Thanat Sattavorn, Cesar Martinez, Breno Licursi
Additional Design: Bri Scarff
all rights reserved