One of the reasons so many people love baseball is it has better stories than nearly any other sport, and Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey are the kind of baseball fans who know a good yarn when they hear one. On the third album from the Baseball Project, Wynn, McCaughey, and their pals Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Linda Pitmon once again revel in their obsession with America's Pastime, and while this band sure knows how to kick up a good rock & roll racket, what really makes this album click is that these folks clearly love the lore and legends of the game, and they get a kick out of setting them to music and passing them along. Sometimes the Baseball Project goes for laughs on tunes like "The Day Dock Went Hunting Heads" (in which Doc Ellis decides he's had enough and uses his fastball as a weapon) and "A Boy Named Cy" (about some unfortunate kid who is named in honor of Cy Young), but the stuff that really stands out on 3rd is when they get serious and focus on the stories of some of the men who played on the diamond.
Alright, let’s see if I can pickoff all these baseball puns right off the bat: This record is Cracker-Jack. Baseball Project really knocked it out of the park with this one. No matter how much you pay to listen to this, it’s sure to be a steal. With an eye on roots rock stylings, indie sentimentality and passion for America’s pastime, 3rd is an ace of a record.
Now, baseball is not quite the force in the UK that it is in the US, and no one, except maybe US expats, would argue that. So it’s hard to see how, now three albums in, The Baseball Project would ever really get a following on these shores. Not that this would concern its players – two of whom (Peter Buck and Mike Mills) have, via REM, achieved all there is to achieve in globe-straddling music.