Texas Playboys Baseball Club

Keeping the sandlot field of dreams alive

Yours truly
Yours truly (by Fellow Texas Playboy Dave Mead)

Major League Baseball’s opening day happens Sunday, beginning with a game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. For the last several weeks, local musicians have been posting on social media about their favorite teams. Music and baseball are a duet. If you’re paying attention, you can hear and see the rhythm in baseball.

Alejandro Esovedo, who once played minor league ball, and Matt the Electrician both cheer for the San Francisco Giants. As a Kansas City Royals fan, I watched the fun, sometimes fierce interplay of fans play out for both teams during the World Series last year. The Giants won on a glorious catch of a near foul ball by Pablo Sandoval. Giants fans lost Sandoval when he switched to the Boston Red Sox this year.

I watched the October championship so closely that I walked into a gig at the Cactus Cafe with earbuds on, listening to one of the final games on my iPhone as if it was an old transistor radio. Matt the Electrician knows this mindset all too well.

“Baseball was very important in my family for several generations before me,” he says. “My Grandfather played ball with the San Francisco Seals in the Thirties with Joe DiMaggio. My dad and uncles all played through high school, and I played up until high school.”

“Baseball is really almost a religion to me, and I don’t know how to put it into words other than that. Much better writers than I have written books and books about the subject. I was born in San Francisco and saw many games at Candlestick Park as a kid.

“Now, I try to take my kids to as many games as I can, in San Francisco, and in Texas.”

Konrad Wert, aka Possessed by Paul James, rooted for the Royals in the World Series. He defines the relationship between baseball and music perfectly: “Baseball is poetic. It’s the dance on the mound, the layout snow cone catch, the romance among the game and its players.

“Kansas City Blue No. 5 [the Royals] used to have spring training down in North Fort Myers, Florida. I grew up in Lee County, so we’d go and hug the third baseline during the games. We’d shout: ‘Tar it up, No. 5!.’

“I was a husky, pushing 200 pounds at 10 years old and playing Little League. When I’d step up in the box, I could hear the opposing teams’ parents yelling, ‘Strike this fat kid out,’ or ‘Damn, he’s a fat Little Leaguer.’ Swear to God.

“So I’d crank up that choke and smash it out to the right field corner. I’m a lefty, so baby, that sucker would pull. I’d have a hell of a lot of RBIs and triples, but because I was so slow, not many in-park home runs.

“Ha! That would shut those folks up though. Next time up, they’d be screaming, ‘Back up, adjust, get back.’”

Wert laughs again.

“When baseball is pure, pure like a fat kid chugging into third base, it’s beautiful just like music,” he adds.

This year, I was psyched to be recruited for the renowned Texas Playboys Baseball Club. I’m the only one on the team that’s not legal to drink. I can hit okay – barely.

Sometimes I get to first, maybe second base if I’m lucky, but I can’t run for a damn due to my Legg Perthes. While the team has some serious players, founder/designer/architect Jack Sanders started the team in 2006 with the idea of creating a community of musicians, artists, architects, chefs, photographers, designers, and filmmakers – what he calls “a rag-tag team of artists and adventurers, the leaders behind the Sandlot Revolution” – to rally behind the community concept of baseball camaraderie. Mayor Adler just awarded a Drawing the Lines grant, on whose board I sit, to Sanders for his DesignBuildAdventure team.

Among the local musicians who play for the Texas Playboys are Dan Dyer, Amy Cook, Jesse Ebaugh, Topaz McGarrigle, and KUTX’s Matt Reilly. Musicians usually play between innings, cold beer is always on ice – there’s a party waiting to happen behind the backstop – and lots of games benefit area charities. While its all makeshift, we do have hand-stitched Fort Lonesome jerseys, and the season begins with a black tie banquet, which I missed thanks to weather in Dallas stranding me there after I’d showcased at the International Folk Alliance Conference.

Sanders keeps a long list of players so that he can muster at least nine players at any given time. Traveling creative types have been known to leave him hanging. Each season, the Playboys hit the road for an old-fashioned barnstorm.

This year, the Playboys head to Todos Santos. Next year the rumor is Cuba. It’s a social baseball club that I’m proud to be part of. We’re all just hanging out in the backyard keeping the sandlot field of dreams alive.

In other local baseball news, Reckless Kelly’s annual Celebrity Softball Jam at Dell Stadium is May 31. The Jam benefits MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.

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Texas Playboys Baseball Club, Alejandro Escovedo, Matt the Electrician, Possessed by Paul James, Konrad Wert, Jack Sanders, DesignBuildAdventure, Dan Dyer, Amy Cook, Jesse Ebaugh, Topaz McGarrigle, KUTX, Matt Reilly

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