How “Baseball” Is Your Favorite Band?

Measuring “baseballness” can be tough, and I know that I often wish for a handy yardstick for, say, which of the dresses in my closet is the most baseball. I haven’t figured that one out yet, but here’s a handy tool to help you identify precisely how baseball your favorite band is.

Suggestions for added bonuses or strikes are welcome in the comments and I will update the quiz as I see fit. Of course, please also share your very important results. Post additions will be noted in italics.

Where was this band conceived?

  • If New York City, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Boston, or Chicago, add 8 points.
  • If any other North American city with a major league ball club*, OR the Dominican Republic, add 6 points.
  • *If Tampa Bay, only add 4 points.
  • For the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Japan, or Montreal, add 3 points.
  • American cities with a minor league baseball team, 2 points.
  • American city with no baseball? No points.
  • For Europe, Asian countries other than Japan, Australia, or Africa, subtract 2 points.

If there’s a cute story about how your band was formed that isn’t actually true, add 10 points.

Facial hair: Add 5 points for each mustache (sans beard), and 3 points for each beard.

What kind of drugs do you know or suspect that this band is involved with?

  • Probably not applicable, but in case I’m missing something, add 10 points for any recorded steroid or HGH use.
  • Add 5 points if any member of the band has had a alcohol-related DUI, arrest, death, or public incident.
  • Add 4 Dock Ellis points for hallucinogen-influenced jams, double if you know they’ve performed on acid (or they say they have). [Hat tip to Doug Freeman]
  • Add 3 late ‘70s points for known cocaine use.
  • Add 1 C.J. Wilson point if there are any known straight-edge members.
  • Subtract 2 points for recorded or strongly suspected heroin use.

Given the musical proclivities of baseball players themselves, add 3 points if your band is filed under “hip hop,” “country,” or “classic rock.” Subtract a point for anything that is typically referred to as “indie rock.”

Extra innings: add or subtract points based on the following:

  • If a member of the band is a former or current professional baseball player, add 25 points. [Re: Pulley, as per commenter Resolution]
  • For songs that actually mention or are about baseball, add 10 points.
  • If your band has written or is known for performing any song that is often played at baseball stadiums, add 10 points.
  • If they have performed the National Anthem at a baseball game, add 8 points.
  • If a major league baseball player uses one of your favorite band’s songs as ‘walk out’ or ‘batting’ music, add 7 points.
  • Repetitive, slow pacing: add 5 points.
  • Math rock: add 5 points.
  • Known participation in baseball fantasy leagues? Add 3 points. [HT: Sandy]
  • Baseball card / memorabilia collectors earn their band 3 extra points. [HT: Olethros]
  • Lyrics that strongly evoke history (see: The Decemberists): add 3 points.
  • Women: subtract 1 point per woman in the band (courtesy of Ford Frick).

As for my own answer to this question, Pavement only earns 6 points. I’d like to thank Gary Young and the Stockton Ports for keeping me out of the red. That would have been embarrassing. Update: As Sandy points out in the comments, the song Major Leagues should have earned Pavement a 16, plus an added category for participation in fantasy leagues brings their total to 19. I am dumb but still happy that my favorite band is more baseball than I originally realized.




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Summer Anne Burton is a writer and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. She is drawing pictures of Every Hall of Famer.

34 Responses to “How “Baseball” Is Your Favorite Band?”

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  1. Resolution says:

    Question: The punk band Pulley features a lead singer who actually played major league baseball while also being in the band. How is this to be scored?

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  2. Kyle says:

    Hard to nail down a favorite band, but Refused seems appropriate given their recent newsworthiness. I count 9 points thanks to C.J. Wilson and John Axford.

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  3. olethros says:

    Pretty hard for me to pick a favorite band, but I’m going with the Jesus Lizard, who clock in at 21 points, and possibly 31 if any of Yow’s howls mention baseball. I’m pretty sure at least one song does, but I’m not going to bother checking.

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    • olethros says:

      Other options I considered:

      Tool: 14
      King Crimson: probably 12 on beards alone, over the course of their history
      Einsturzende Neubauten: 3

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    • therood says:

      I’m pretty sure that the Spanish verse of “Nub” relates to baseball in some metaphorical sense, at least.

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  4. Brady says:

    The Hold Steady clock in with 23 points.

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  5. olethros says:

    How many points does Rush get for Geddy Lee’s massive memoribilia collection?

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  6. Sandy says:

    Add Malkmus’ known participation in fantasy baseball and the song “Major Leagues” and Pavement might warrant a few extra.

    http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nba/32043/227/?r=1

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  7. s says:

    -2 points for Taiwan and S. Korea is a mistake

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  8. therood says:

    How did I not know that Scott Radinsky was in Pulley? Weird.

    I’ll choose Shellac, though I need a rule clarification:

    “For songs that actually mention or are about baseball, add 10 points.”

    Can I count each baseball-related song as 10 points or is the mere existence of such songs (regardless of number) worth 10 points total?

    Given that Steve Albini once claimed all of Shellac’s songs were about baseball, Canada, or both, I see them as being an easy 200-point entry if it’s the former ruling.

    If it’s the second, they’re a criminally small 27-point entry:

    8 from Chicago
    -1 for “indie rock”
    10 for “songs about baseball”
    5 for “math rock”
    5 for “repetitive, slow pacing” (Which again seems criminal if you’ve ever heard “Didn’t We Deserve a Look at You…” which is the same slow-to-mid-tempo riff for 13 minutes)

    I guess they probably should be deducted a point for using aluminum guitars. Also, I’m unsure of drug use but doubt its existence or severity, at least, and will thusly abstain from such scoring.

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    • therood says:

      Also, Mucca Pazza is good point-getter:

      8 for Chicago
      6 for each woman
      30 for 10 beards
      10 because “Mucca Pazza” is the name of the Polish baseball league
      3 points because statistics suggest that there is a 99.9% chance that at least one member is in a fantasy league
      3 points for historical musical references (Though sans lyrics, they frequently “cover” Bela Bartok)

      60 points

      (http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/200/muccapazzalowrespressfw4.png)

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  9. Choo says:

    DEVO
    +2 pts. for hailing from Akron, home of the Aeros.
    -1 pt. for being New Wave.
    +10 pts. for naming band after Devon White.
    +10 pts. for song glorifying WHIP (Whip It).
    +50 pts. for Whip It video starring Chris Sabo and Cal Ripken Jr. as frontmen for Devo.

    TOTAL: 71 pts.

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  10. ElJosharino says:

    What if I’ve actually played sandlot-style pickup ball with band members?

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  11. brocean says:

    I come to NotGraphs for content such as this. LCD Soundsystem scores just 11. :(

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  12. ichabod says:

    I may be being kind, but I think the Pixies score 24 points. A lot of it coming from the drug use…

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  13. Erik Archer says:

    I suspect the entire catalog of Os Mutantes is about baseball

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  14. Sixto L. says:

    The National:
    From Cincinnati, Indie Rock, several beards, slow paced = 20 points

    Additional points:
    They have a song entitled “Mr. Novermber” +10 (Not sure if it’s baseball related, probably not). Via the NY Times: They referred to one song on their latest album as the “Melky Cabrara of the album,”(That’s gotta be worth a point or two) also (according to the NY Times), two of the brothers in the band shared a Baseball card collection +5 Plus, I swear I’ve seen photos of them wearing Reds caps, and John Axford tweeted about their concert when they came through Milwaukee Spring.

    Adjust baseball band points: Eleventy Seven

    P.S. Searching for info about a band called “The National” is nearly impossible on this internet thingy

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  15. Dscottncc says:

    Alabama has to win the contest, if only for the best baseball song ever “Cheap Seats”.

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  16. Nolan says:

    Silver Jews

    - Formed in NYC, although now very much associated with Nashville. Easy 8 points.

    -two beards, no mustaches. 6 points.

    -Not sure how to rate this category out. David Berman (singer) had a drug problem and tried to kill himself with alcohol, crack and xanax. That’s got to be worth at least 7 points. Or maybe less than that because he failed. Let’s say 4 points.

    -Minus 1 point for one woman in the band.

    -Plus 5 for “slow, repetitive pacing”

    -Silver Jews could be classified as either “indie” or “country”, so I don’t know what to do about that. 3 points for country, -1 for indie, does that leave me for 2?

    By my count, the Silver Jews come in at 24 points. Feel free to reevaluate my take on the drug category.

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  17. olethros says:

    How about a baseball related record label? This here song, in addition to being about the Negro Leagues, was released on Wild Pitch Records.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0urEpkOW0Zs

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  18. Matt says:

    B&S get +1000 for “Piazza, New York Catcher”, and I’ll hear nothing to the contrary.

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  19. filihok says:

    Aerosmith – 52 points
    Conceived in Boston/New York = 8
    The sometimes mustachioed/bearded Joey Kramer and Joe Perry = 3 (half credit)
    Alcohol incidents = 5
    Dock Ellis Award = 4
    Cocaine = 3
    Heroin = -2
    Classic Rock = 3
    Baseball Songs = 10
    Songs played at baseball games (Walk This Way following a walk) = 10
    National Anthem = 8

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  20. Tigerbomb says:

    Guided By Voices. It would take a full month to go through every song to count baseball references, but there’s a lot of ‘em. (“Indian Was an Angel” being my favorite.) Robert Pollard also threw a no-hitter at Wright State.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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