Welcome to The Rotation! This is a weekly column, written by yours truly, that talks about the wonderful blended worlds of baseball and music. These two have been staples of Americana for centuries and are as big a part of our culture as apple pie and Chevrolet. My goal is to pick a different topic between the beautiful, unified world of baseball and music and write about it each week.
Geddy Lee is the bassist and singer for the band Rush, a Canadian rock group that is now (finally) in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But Rush’s influence on baseball goes beyond hearing Tom Sawyer as an iconic walk-up song. Lee is an avid baseball fan, and as a native Canadian, he is of course partial to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lee also collects baseballs and has shared a portion of his collection on various videos and podcasts. Here are a few of his most unique items.
Geddy Lee’s Baseball Collection
Here are just a few things that were or are still in Geddy Lee’s baseball collection:
A signed baseball by every member of the 3,000-hit club. All of them. He tracked down Albert Pujols last year when the first baseman went to Toronto to get the 32nd member of the 3,000-hit club to sign a baseball for him.
Former umpire George Sosnak was an artist who would paint game-used baseballs, decorating them with the box score and pictures from the game. He made roughly 100 of them, and Lee has a few, including one from Sandy Koufax‘s perfect game.
Lee also donated a collection of over 400 signed baseballs to the Negro Leagues museum in Kansas City. Baseballs in the collection were signed by players such as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Josh Gibson.
There’s certainly a lot more, but Lee’s diehard interest in baseball has led to his being spotted behind the plate at numerous Blue Jays games—often with a scorebook in hand.
Walk-Up Songs of the Week
Note: If you want a playlist of all the walk-up songs of the week, go to Spotify and search “Pitcher List Walk-Up Jams”
Hitter: Christian Yelich, Roxanne (The Police)
Yelich recently posed for ESPN’s Body Issue, a magazine dedicated to celebrating athletes and their bodies—which features the athletes posing creatively, and without clothing.
A Twitter user named Roxane criticized Yelich’s decision to pose for the magazine, worried that it would have a negative impact on the children.
Yelich responded in CJ McCollum fashion, simply tweeting “relax Roxanne”.
Then—in one of the best moves of the year—Yelich decided to walk out to Roxanne by the Police in his next game. What a legend.
Here’s the video:
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) August 27, 2019
Pitcher: Will Smith, Stranglehold (Ted Nugent)
Will Smith—the Giants closer—actually has arguably the second-best walk-up song for a major league baseball player named Will Smith. The Dodgers catcher, predictably, walks out to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. Points for humor, certainly, although it’s not an original idea.
Smith of the Giants picked a considerably more original song, and while I can’t say I’m a big fan of Ted Nugent the person, I do like the song Stranglehold, especially as a closer entrance tune.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)