At Extra Mustard, we’ve made a habit of previewing seasons with the assistance from the wonderful world of pop music. Last year we suggested albums for the embattled NFL, NHL, and NBA fans of the world, and today we’re renewing that tradition by taking a look at the MLB.
Baseball is difficult to predict, because assembled pieces can quickly go awry (looking at you, 2013 Blue Jays,) and championship runs can be quickly cut short by age, trades, and general regression (Red Sox and Giants fans, we feel your pain.)
However, that sort of emotional unpredictability is perfect for transmuted therapy, and there’s no better way to understand pain than the poetry of others. So here are some album recommendations for a few choice teams that will definitely need it.
New York Yankees: Guns ‘n Roses - Chinese Democracy
We don’t actually care anymore. You’ve been irrelevant for multiple generations, and nobody recognizes the guys you’re bringing along. However, we’d be lying if there isn’t some morbid curiosity about what you’re actually trying to field. In that sense, a washed-up, tendon-bereft Alex Rodriguez isn’t that different from a flabby, cornrowed Axl Rose. Maybe there's some long-gone hope that you’ll get your act together and remind us why we fell in love, but we’re mostly here to guffaw.
San Diego Padres: Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
OK, to be fair there isn’t that much in common between feminist art-punk and the sport of baseball, but the Padres have been irrelevant since around 2006, which is the same year Sleater-Kinney called it quits. But both these squads have had excellent winters, with Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss getting back together for monstrous comeback album No Cities To Love, and the long-dormant San Diego front office signing Wil Myers, Justin Upton, and Matt Kemp to round out a previously anemic offense. You can give hope to hopeless, in both DIY spaces and Petco Park.
Chicago Cubs: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End
OK, I admit it, the Cubs look like they’re trying to win. Jon Lester is a big deal, and Joe Maddon is a pretty good manager from what I understand. But come on, are you really ready to get hurt again? How much longer are you willing to wait for Weezer to make a great album before you throw in the towel? I mean, the White Sox won a World Series a couple years ago, and that team looks pretty good. I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but this looks like grounds for an intervention.
Philadelphia Phillies: Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
It’s honestly a little surprising that you think you can keep fooling us. Dave Grohl has been writing the exact same song since 2006, which was cute in 2008, depressing in 2010, flabbergasting 2012, and utterly arrogant in 2015. Roy Halladay is retired, Ryan Howard can’t play anymore, Cliff Lee is a shadow, of a shadow, of a shadow of his former self, and the farm system is dead in the water. This is what happens when you fail to move on and embrace the future. You end up listening to latter-day Foo Fighters albums, and wonder why nobody talks to you anymore.
Houston Astros: Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
Congratulations Astros fans! You’re no longer the worst team in baseball. You’re not good, not by any stretch, but guys like Luis Valbuena and Dallas Keuchel are starting to fill in the gaps and make this long, long rebuilding process seem like its paying dividends. Chance The Rapper is certainly a lot more compelling than the current Astros product, but he is a young gun who’s been effusively tapped as “the next guy” in the waning empires of Jay-Z and Lil Wayne. Will he get there? Who knows, but like the Astros, all the experts seem pretty optimistic.
Washington Nationals: Television - Marquee Moon
Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, all on the same team. Man, that’s like having Tom Verlaine, Billy Ficca, Richard Lloyd, and Fred Smith all in the same band! As it turns out, an unshakable, airtight pitching rotation is not unlike the most virtuosic rock band ever. Having Gio Gonzalez as your fourth guy is a lot like having Richard Lloyd as your second guitarist.