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Omar Vizquel Gets His Recognition

Charles Ives, left, was a pitcher on his high school team.

If you are one who is knowledgeable of classical music, you have most likely heard of Charles Ives. If your knowledge of the genre is more cursory, however, his name may be foreign to you. Charles Ives was an American composer who lived during the early 20th Century. Unlike Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart – all of whom had fame and therefore benefactors that allowed them to compose full-time – Ives was not well-known during his life. He did not have benefactors. He made his living as an insurance salesman. But Charles Ives was a master and a pioneer of modernist music in America. Yet, for a myriad of reasons, his work lived in obscurity until well after his death. He was never around to receive his just recognition. Had the Internet existed in the time of Ives, all of this may be different. Had he a channel to distribute his music, other than a spattering of little-attended concerts put on by brave souls, he may have had a chance to reach people who were able to appreciate him for who he was.

Luckily – for all of us, really – infielder Omar Vizquel did create his music during the Internet Age. His work can be digitized, catalogued, and distributed to his adoring fans to this day still. The following video comes from the CD/DVD combo released in 2005 titled Oh Say Can You Sing?, a title I’m going to assume is rhetorical. If one were able to track down this work, one would be able to listen to the likes of Coco Crisp, Aubrey Huff, Ozzie Smith, and the venerable Scott Linebrink sing or otherwise perform music from the popular vernacular. Not to be forgotten in this cavalcade of stars is one Omar Vizquel, performing both vocals and drums on Broadway by the Goo Goo Dolls. Never has a pairing of artist and song been so incongruous, yet entirely magical. Vizquel displays his mastery of not only the voice, but drums as well. His performance injected with all the life and fervor of a wounded deer, Vizquel is able to somehow make this song less enjoyable than in its previous form. Such skill should not, and cannot, be denied. The overlay of highlights of him hitting, fielding, and just generally looking around, sadly serves as but a distraction to the aural bliss that can be found underneath. This is both wonderfully terrible and terribly wonderful.

Charles Ives may not have gotten his due, but technology now allows us to appreciate Omar Vizquel in the moment. Not only for his contributions on the baseballing field, but for his addition to the modern musical cannon.

(h/t to Eric Freeman for bringing this to my attention)