The Baseball Project to pay musical tribute to national pastime July 10

By on July 2, 2014

The Baseball Project, a group featuring former members of R.E.M., will sing about true legends of baseball July 10 in a performance presented by the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

This super group, formed in 2007 by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5, R.E.M.) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Gutterball), began as a way for a couple of fans to pay musical tribute to America’s national pastime. The Baseball Project has since blossomed into a full-fledged, much-loved band in its own right, with drummer Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Zuzu’s Petals) and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills on its official roster, although Buck will not be touring with the band.

The Baseball Project performance is set for 7:30 p.m., in the Alys Stephens Center’s Sirote Theatre, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $29.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit

The group’s following and creativity have grown steadily with each release and tour. After 2008’s “Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails” and 2011’s “Volume 2: High and Inside,” the ensemble’s newest CD, “3rd,” showcases the band’s musical muscle. True legends of the game (“The Babe,” “They Don’t Know Henry,” “A Boy Named Cy”) share the lineup alongside humorous and heartfelt salutes to lesser-known players like “Pascual on the Perimeter,” which recalls the time Atlanta Braves pitcher Pascual Perez got lost on the way to a game at his own team’s ballpark. “3rd” ends with a rousing version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the Tin Pan Alley classic that The Baseball Project has performed during numerous seventh-inning stretches at major and minor league ballparks across the country.

On the band’s website, McCaughey says the group has no rules about what constitutes a baseball song.

“It can be anything from a character study of an obscure guy from the 1920s to something that just happened, to something completely ridiculous like ‘Extra Inning of Love,’ which takes the baseball-as-love metaphor and tries to stretch it as far as it will go,” McCaughey said. “They can be fictional songs or nonfictional songs. The great thing with baseball is that we’ll never run out of things to write about!”

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