This is an entirely objective list, feedback is not welcome. The guy in the feature image isn’t in the list because his band is awful. Some of these are a reach, deal with it.
Atlanta Braves – Mastodon – Blood and Thunder
Okay I admit it. One entry into this endeavour and I was worried. Did I even know any bands from Atlanta? Sure, I know it’s the home of modern hip-hop, but I’m not going to gaslight you into thinking the whitest boy in school can pass as a connoisseur of Lil Wayne. I am what I am. And what I am is a sucker for histrionic pastiche of literary classics – and so here ‘s a song based loosely on Moby Dick, with the added bonuses that is a) shreds like heck and b) will not bore you to tears. Also has the plus of making you think of Greg Maddux; it absolutely dominates you.
New York Mets – Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
If you’re wondering ‘is he going to pick two where there are two teams?’, then here’s your answer – yes I am. Of course I’m picking two pieces of music from New York, what do you think this is? I’ve picked this song because it is one of the most phenomenal pop songs ever written and it’s basically about the Mets – who hasn’t rode the 7 line to Citi Field and wondered ‘how did I get here?’; which Mets fan’s not asked themselves ‘boy, what have I done wrong?’, or countered that the Mets never win the World Series with an epithet about the 86 bad boys. Once in a lifetime, indeed.
Miami Marlins – Pitbull – International Love
It is what it is. #yeahjeets
Philadelphia Phillies – The Delfonics – Didnt’ I
A rare embarrassment of riches. It’s almost too easy to jump right in with Modern Baseball, or just to hang the number on Hall & Oates and have done with but I’ll be damned if I’m passing this one up, stirring up – as it does – Robert Forster’s unimpeachable performance as Max Cherry in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. But let’s just pop it over reel to reel tape of Bryce’s bat flip from now on, should we?
Washington Nationals – Fugazi – Suggestion
Some of these songs are going to get a proper explanation and some aren’t. Fugazi are the greatest band of all time. That’s your explanation.
Baltimore Orioles – Animal Collective – Also Frightened
Baltimore is the home city of such disparate musical denizens as David Hasselhoff and Philip Glass. A crueller man would subject you to the former’s ‘I’ve Been Looking For Freedom’ and draw causal link to Chris Davis’ 2019 spring torments. A benevolent one would allow you to luxuriate in the latter’s magical ‘Floe’. I’m neither, so here’s a John Means change-up; aesthetically pleasing and somewhat mystical. Feels right that it’s also a random album track somehow.
Boston Red Sox – Cave In – Big Riff
Come on, you’ve got this far – you weren’t expecting Marky Mark or ‘Tessie’ were you?
New York Yankees – Interpol – Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down
‘I’d love to be a part of it! This song! This song!’
This song’s called Jeter was a diver and he dove in the crowd.
Tampa Bay Rays – The Mountain Goats – Tallahassee
My word there are a lot of thrash metal bands in Tampa. This is not one of them. It didn’t strike me that the Trop was a place for the heraldry of such high emotion, so here’s a song about another city in Florida by a band from Durham, NC, home of the Rays Triple-A affiliate Bulls. Don’t tell but this is my favourite song on this whole list.
Toronto Blue Jays – BADBADNOTGOOD – Can’t Leave the Night
Almost the anti-Tampa insofar as narrowing it down to one band, let alone one song, is impossible. To Metz, Fucked Up, Broken Social Scene and Death From Above (but absolutely not Barenaked Ladies) a thousand apologies. This song is far too good to be associated with this club; the Hyun-Jin Ryu of modern jazz.
Chicago Cubs – Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight Tonight
Don’t overthink it.
Cincinnati Reds – The Afghan Whigs – Summer’s Kiss
Whigs frontman Greg Dulli is the only musician on this list to have sassed me on Twitter. Here’s the thing Greg – The Clash are bad, though. Unlike your band, or your beloved (and my sneakily favourite) Reds. This song deserves to accompany the hanging of a pennant, to overlay a montage of Joey Votto toying with children, Luis Castillo fist pumping and Tucker Barnhart roaring. Get on with it.
Milwaukee Brewers – Weezer – Buddy Holly
Shirley Manson is from Glasgow, and Bon Iver is shite (sit down at the back). Come in, Kenosha Wisconsin’s own…
Pittsburgh Pirates – Anti Flag – You’ve Gotta Die For the Government
Or the view. Preferably the view. Or from a hit by pitch.
St Louis Cardinals – Chuck Berry – My Ding-a-ling
*Insert your own devil magic joke here*
Chicago White Sox – Wilco – Spiders (Kidsmoke)
Don’t overthink it.
Cleveland Indians – Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street
Jon Spencer can feel aggrieved. Bellbottoms legitimately slaps, has one of the great riffs of the last 25 years and lodges in the brain like the nag you’ve left the door unlocked. But it doesn’t possess a vocal smoother than Francisco Lindor fielding a sharp grounder, with the punch of a Mike Clevinger slider. So here we are.
Detroit Tigers – The Dirtbombs – Chains of Love
Trying to pick a single Tamla or Motown song is asinine. And you honestly didn’t think I’d go there did you? We’re not here for goal music. And anyway, this is a mixtape – needs to flow don’t it?
Kansas City Royals – Charlie Parker – Ornithology
The Royals honestly don’t deserve this.
Minnesota Twins – Husker Du – The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
I mean I love Bob Mould and Grant Hart even more than I love Byron Buxton and Max Kepler; it was hard sticking to one song. This is the best song ever written about a woman by two gay men, and I picked it for no better reason than that.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Phoenix – Lisztomania
Look, I like Soulfly and I like Zola Jesus but once it was in there it wasn’t coming out.
Colorado Rockies – Neutral Milk Hotel – Oh Comely
Christ alive there are some bad bands from Denver. This is not one of them. In fact, this band is from Athens, Georgia. But the album containing this song – In The Aeroplane Over the Sea – was recorded in Denver, and it’s slim pickings. It also felt right to choose this record because you could probably hit an aeroplane with a Coors Field dinger. Also, it is just a good song.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Minutemen – History Lesson Part Two
Follow the crumb trail. Or maybe this is my favourite song on the list?
San Diego Padres – Drive Like Jehu – New Math
If you’ve read this far and not predicted this, what are you doing? I like Math Rock. Sorry.
Anyway, this song is kind of like Chris Paddack – it’s rough hewn, explosive and devastating.
San Francisco Giants – Thee Oh Sees – Gelatinous Cube
Obey your master! Listen to this song, which is better! And also sounds like the type of thing which Gabe Kapler will recommend as dietary advice in the home locker room.
LA Angels of Anaheim – No Doubt – Don’t Speak
Because if you’ve got the 1:1 pick, you take Mike Trout.
Houston Astros – Destiny’s Child – Bills, Bills, Bills
$5m, in point of fact.
Oakland Athletics – Slayer – Angel of Death
Infamous! Angel of death! Please come and knock the Coliseum down! I mean, this is an absolute banger.
Seattle Mariners – Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Much as I’m tempted to be arch and put in a Melvins song, or a Mudhoney tune, here. Or to attach Pearl Jam to a team who aren’t the Cubs in case Eddie Vedder reads this, there’s an irony in linking baseball’s most tragic club to one of the greatest accomplishments in music.
‘Here we are now! Entertain us!’
Texas Rangers – The Polyphonic Spree – It’s the Sun
If you’re still here then bless you, you fool. And listen to this as a treat.