Tag Archives: 1970s

For-Real Interview: Dan Epstein

bighair.jpgAs a kid, I was fascinated by 1970s baseball. The huge afros, the amazing facial hair, the retina-burning uniform designs–it seemed like such an insane, colorful era, particularly when compared to the heavily moussed 80s, where I spent most of my kid-dom. (Of course, there were some colorful characters then, too, but that’s a tale for another time.)

Whenever I had some disposable income (which was not often), I would spend it at a baseball card convention or store, usually on a large plastic box filled with completely worthless cards from 1977 or 1975, just so I could savor such sartorial majesties as Willie McCovey’s sideburns. My elementary school library had these slim books on each major league team, all published in the mid-’70s, which I borrowed repeatedly. And whenever my grampa took me to Cooperstown, I’d seek out the unbelievable mini-exhibit on the technicolor uniforms from those years (sadly, no longer there).

While there are some chronicles of players and teams from the 1970s (The Machine and Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning are great, recent examples), there haven’t been many (if any) retrospectives about the decade in total. When people speak of a Golden Age of Baseball, they usually save such mythologizing for the 1950s and its stainless, sepia-tone heroes.

But now there is finally an evangelist for game as played in the Me Decade. Journalist Dan Epstein has penned a love letter to 1970s baseball entitled Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride through Baseball and America in the Swinging 70s. ESPN’s Rob Neyer has said of this tome, “What the 1960s were to America, the 1970s were to baseball, and Dan
Epstein has finally given us the swinging book the ’70s deserve.” The book drops May 25 from Thomas Dunne Books, and there will be a big ol’ release party at the Bell House in Brooklyn on May 26 (I for one am excited to try the Oscar Gamble hot dog that will be served there).

Dan was generous enough to take some time out of his busy schedule and answer some questions via email about Astroturf, day-glo erseys, the best Topps card designs, and the worst promotions of all time. Read all about it after the jump.
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Inappropriate Walk Up Music: 04.02.09

santo-shea.jpgFor previous Inappropriate Walk Up Music posts, click here.

Every day until Opening Day, Scratchbomb presents three tunes that are completely, unequivocally inappropriate for use as major league walk-up

These are not necessarily bad songs–although that
certainly helps. They are merely songs that don’t evoke the fear and dread one traditionally associates with the walk-up song. In fact, they evoke the exact opposite.

Imagine yourself in the on-deck circle. Bottom of the 9th. Down by one. Man on second, two out. You hear the PA system blare, The centerfielder, number 20… The crowd roars at the sound of your name. And as you stroll to the batter’s box, you are greeted with the strains of one of these songs:

Today I present a Super Sounds of the 70s post. All told, the 70s don’t bug me. In fact, I think if I had to pick between the 70s and 80s as a cultural whole (and couldn’t cherry pick a band from decade one and a book from decade two, etc.), it’d be a close call.

But there’s one aspect of 70s culture that always drove me nuts. It’s that “hey man, just take it easy!” attitude that pervades so many of the songs. Even songs that purport to rock are rocking around the concept of havin’ a good time and takin’ her easy. I don’t know if this came from a post-Watergate, post-Vietnam desire to tune out the world, or it was just the massive amounts of weed being smoked at the time, but there was a lot of 8-track tape committed to telling America to chillax.

* “Take it Easy”, Eagles
Is it cliche to hate the Eagles by now? I don’t care. At the risk of sounding like every other jackass who quotes The Big Lebowski, I hate the fucking Eagles. Ironic that they’d write so many songs about takin’ it easy, since by the end of the decade, they were doing enough blow to support the Bolivian economy single-handed, and only speaking to each other through legal teams.

* “Rock’n Me”, Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller wrote some oppressively stupid lyrics. I dare you to look at the lyrics to any of his songs written down and not laugh. But be warned: The exercise may shave a few points off your IQ.

But if I have to pick one Steve Miller hit for maximum idiocy, this one takes the cake (don’t know about his album tracks–bet there’s some real doozies in there). If you tried to write a thoroughly retarded rock song, you couldn’t come up with a better example than this. Real Stupid beats Fake Stupid every time.

* “Rhiannon”, Fleetwood Mac
I am neither here nor there on Fleetwood Mac. But the mental image of someone coming up to bat to this song amuses me. Especially if the batter had his Louisville Slugger draped in scarves, Stevie Nicks-style.