Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Mets song: It could be worse

If Lady Liberty sang, we'd hear "Meet the Mets..."

Now that my iPod lives — more accurately, has been reincarnated — I can happily skip down to the playlist where I keep my collection of Mets songs and highlights.

This development comes just in time for the new Mets song, which debuted during the series against the Braves.

And given the hostile reaction, you’d think the thing was a duet between Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter.

I’m not saying the ditty is going to make anyone forget a classic like "Teenage Lobotomy," but I didn’t think it was all that bad.

The song, "Our Team. Our Time" was created by TJS Marketing Group of Smithtown, N.Y. and Breakthru Productions of Orange, N.J. And it sounds like a bunch of guys from the Island and Jersey trying to be rappers.

We can’t bash them for being who they are. Heck, the Beastie Boys are a bunch of Long Island kids pretending to be rappers and they sold a bunch of records. Bad records, but that’s not the point.

Would it have been nice to have actual famous songwriters come up with a tune? Sure. But it’s not like they’re going to let Billy Joel out of rehab to write stuff and three out of the four Ramones are dead. Had they been purchased at Costco they’d be back, but that’s another story.

Anyway, the suburban guys came up with a song that drops names of seemingly every one on the team except Ramon Castro and coach Jerry Manuel over some pretty simple beats.

"Our Team. Our Time" is hardly the first time the Mets have been saluted musically.

Since I’m an obsessive collector, I’ve rounded up as many Mets songs as I could. I’m always one the prowl for others. Here are some of the tunes on your Mets hit parade.

"Meet the Mets"

The first is still the best! I recently found a downloadable version on a Mets site somewhere, and it brought back memories of watching games on WOR in my youth. The station started each broadcast by playing the song while showing clips of spectacular Mets catches and hits.

The song itself as a Mummer-like quality — that’s an over-costumed banjo band that seemed like it was in every single parade when I was a kid — and lifts a line from "Sidewalks of New York."

And you’ve got to love those un-PC lyrics from the 1960s:

"Bring the kiddies
Bring the wife
Guaranteed to have
the time of your life."

I found a download of this on a blog, and I've never been able to find it again. I have no idea if it's ever been released commercially.

UPDATE: I found the song on this site. They have both the long and short versions, as well as some other neat things. Great job, guys!

"Talkin’ Baseball" by Terry Cashman

As you know, Cashman wrote "Willie, Mickey and the Duke," then used the same tune to pen songs about every baseball team. I had the 1982 version on vinyl and always thought it was pretty cool. I used to get goosebumps hearing:
"‘Goodbye America’ when Say Hey said ‘So long.’
But Rusty kept us more than even, McGraw he never stopped believing
And that’s the way a race is often run, and pennant flags are won."

He even does a decent job with some of down years. Remember, this came out in 1982, before the return of Seaver and the debuts of Doc and Straw.

"We long to see them rushing to the stadium in Flushing
Joe’s gone south and Bambi’s got the call
New names join the team to start another dream
Is this the year ‘cause Foster’s here? Well let’s play ball!"

I thought it was really neat until I recently got my hands on the rest of the National League versions and discovered that Cashman operated pretty much with a fill-in-the-blank system. There are numerous examples of the "new names join the team to start another dream" line. But it’s still worthwhile.

"Talkin’ Baseball" 2000 version by Terry Cashman

This starts the same as the 1982 version, but jumps from the Willie Mays farewell to the 1986 champs then the Subway Series.

I have some minor gripes. Cashman really forces some of the rhymes, like trying to follow "Mex" with "86." It like trying on a pair of shoes that are a size too small. You get it on, but it makes you wince.

And you can tell it was written before the 2000 series, because Timo Perez is referred to as "the ignitor" and not "the dumbass who didn’t look to see if Zeile’s blast actually cleared the wall before breaking into his home run trot and getting nailed at the plate by a weak but lucky throw from Derek Jeter giving the Yankee hacks yet another opportunity to claim his greatness."

Not that I’m bitter.

The CD contains this song, the Yankees version (which is why you have a fast-forward button), a Subway Series song using the "Talkin' Baseball" tune and the original "Willie, Mickey and the Duke" plus an October baseball song that is just OK.

"We’ll Remember Rusty" by Terry Cashman

Cashman’s a New Yorker and a Mets fan, so we have several offerings from him.

I like Rusty Staub. We all do. He’s a very well-respected member of the Mets family. And he falls just short of Cooperstown as a player.

But this is a little over the top.

Some might call it a tribute. Others might call it a love song. It’s actually a little creepy. Even Rusty’s grandma would have heard this and said "He’s not that good."

Cashman, whose real name is Dennis Minogue, has had some success outside of baseball songs. He co-wrote a No. 1 hit for Spanky and Our Gang, "Sunday Will Never Be the Same."

"Let’s Go Mets" by Shelly Palmer

The official theme song of the 1986 World Champion New York Mets. I remember playing this in my college apartment, and Tony walked in for the last bit of the song, which has a crowd yelling:

"Lets go Mets! go!
Lets go Mets! go!
Lets go Mets! go!

"Well," he said, trying to be polite. "That’s, um, loud."

Keep in mind, poor Tony had already been subjected to heavy doses of Twisted Sister, Kiss and Rush.

The song is pure ‘80s with bubbling synths. And it’s kind of a generic "rah-rah" fight song, mentioning no players by name. And the lyrics don't get too much more indepth that this:

"Where there's a met man, you'll find a Mets fan, let's go!

It’s about as subtle as an anvil, but then again so was that 1986 team. Somehow it works. There’s even a longer, dance version.

Speaking of Kiss, the drummer is Alan Schwartzberg, famous for playing on Gene Simmons’ solo album.

"Meet the Mets (1990s version)" Alphabet City All-Stars

This is part of an odd little disc, a collection of songs allegedly played at Shea as well as audio of milestones and other great Mets moments.

I think it’s worth it just to hear some of Bob Murphy’s famous calls. And we get some great stuff, like the lineup for the first game and the press conference introducing Mike Piazza. That’s in addition to the expected calls, such the Mookie/Buckner and the final outs of all the deciding games.

The song selection is unusual, including Long Islanders Pat Benatar and Stray Cats, Red Rider’s "Lunatic Fringe," and EMF’s "Unbelievable." There must have been some issues getting the rights to some songs because we get the Alphabet City All-Stars performing "Centerfield" and "We are the Champions."

A nice surprise was the Audio Adrenaline version of "Free Ride."

“God’s Not a Mets Fan” by Phil Coley

I can’t figure this guy out. He claims to be a Red Sox fan, which makes him a Yankee-hater. And I realize that the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all. But deep down I think he’s a closet Yankee fan. Look at these lyrics.

“Oh Red Sox fans suffer from Babe Ruth’s Curse
But our New York Mets have it much, much worse
Worse than being haunted by old Babe Ruth
God’s not a Mets fan, and that’s the hellish truth

God loves the Yankees, I wish it wasn’t true
But look at all that we went through
Throughout this series I cried with our Mets
The Yankees robbed us without regrets

Our Mets played their hearts out, but Yankee pride
Turned close games into wins for their side
Why Roger threw a bat faster than his ball
How could our Mets have any chance at all?”

“God loves the Yankees?” “Yankee pride?” What, did Tom Verducci help with the lyrics? A real Yankee-hater knows that the former is just not true and the latter is a hype, spin and the results of spending more on one hurt pitcher than the Marlins are spending on their entire team this year. Look it up.

Plus, he does the whole thing in some country twang. It’s just not my kind of thing.

"Miracle Drive (The Ballad of the '69 Mets)" by Peter Prince

I like my baseball songs to be peppy, along the lines of John Fogerty’s classic "Centerfied." But "Miracle Drive" is about as peppy as Steve Trachsel between pitches. I guess the word "ballad" in the title should have tipped me off.

It’s not horrible by any means. He’s sincere, if nothing else. It’s just not going to get anybody fired up. And when Prince starts reading off the roster, well, I’m sure Al Weis’ kids are glad that Dad is mentioned in a song. The rest of us, not so much.

This song was set to video by the Mets and presented on Diamond Vision at Shea in 1994 and 1999. I suppose if I were at a game, I’d rather see that than the "guess the attendance" competition, especially since the listed attendance has been fiction ever since they switched to tickets sold instead of actual fannies in the seats.

There you go, an official Mets hit parade. Let me know if I've missed any.


Anonymous said...

I was at Shea for Rusty Staub Day, when they debuted "We'll remember Rusty" -- and the crowd *loved* it. They were singing along on the chorus by the second time around, and gave it a standing ovation (OK, really they gave Rusty yet another well deserved standing-O). And what's this about "falls just short" of Cooperstown? Not in my book! Must be because they ban Mets fans from voting...

You did miss one completely obscure Mets song. Tom Paxton wrote one for the '62 Mets, called something like, "The Team That Needs a Friend". I have the sheet music -- if you find a recording somewhere, you should definitely post it, it's hilarious.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

I shall start searching high and low for that Tom Paxton song. Thanks for the tip!

As for Rusty, with our luck the vets would put him in the hall and they'd stick an Expo cap on him!

Anonymous said...

If you would like a copy of meet the mets I could e-mail you a copy it was released twice actually once in 1964 and then again in 1986

email me at