Before we get to the actual post, I want to welcome our newest official OPT writer, Poster Nutbag. You know him from Tales of Mental Tangle, but as you’ll soon discover, Poster’s talents extend well beyond the confines of the Tangle.
Poster recently had the idea to create what we’re calling a “setlist lineup” to celebrate the beginning of the baseball season. The idea is simple: you take your favorite team’s lineup, and to each player you assign one version of a Phish song played in or near your team’s city that represents that player.
Poster has started things off with his Phillies lineup, which appears below. We’ll be rolling out some other setlist lineups by the OPT writers, but we only account for a few teams. So we need your help! Send a setlist lineup for your favorite team to email@example.com with the subject line Setlist Lineup + [your team’s name], and we’ll pick our favorites and post them over the coming weeks. Please follow the format below – one specific version of a song per player, and a brief explanation of why you chose that version.
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Summer. Hot dogs on the grill (sorry, vegans). A cold, frosty beverage. A bunch of hooting and hollering morons. Heaven. Is this the scene in a Phish lot?
Shane Victorino – 5/1/93 My Friend My Friend. Victorino and My, Friend, My Friend are almost perfect mirror images of one another: Shane, like the song, starts out coming across nice and sweet, but once things get going, opposing teams better beware. He is fast. He can throw. And he can catch fly balls when opposing fans spill beer on him (see: Field, Wrigley). Don’t mess with Shane. And watch out for my friend, too…
Placido Polanco – 7/4/00 Stash. Polly is a career .300 hitter. With Polly, you know what you are going to get game in/game out. The Stash from the 4th of July 2000 in Camden is just like Polanco. It’s your standard average/great Stash that goes to some interesting places, and the end will leave you fully satisfied. You would take this Stash at any show you see, just as you would bat Polanco in your lineup and be happy.
Jimmy Rollins – 12/10/99 Birds of a Feather. Jimmy is the guy who really gets things going. His proclamation in 2007 that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East was backed up by an MVP season and got the Phillies into the playoffs for the first time since 1993. That’s why this Birds is perfect for Jimmy. Until Birds, 12/10/99 was just an average show, despite the Tweezer opener. But it was Birds that fundamentally changed this show. Everything seemed to click for the band and everything that followed had that extra little umph that’s needed to take an OK show and make it worth talking about the next day. Even with the Bowie>Cracklin’ Rosie>crap sandwich.
Ryan Howard – 12/28/96 Maze. Ryan Howard. The Big Piece. He gets this Maze because this Maze was out of the park, a place balls hit by the Big Piece tend to go. In the words of the late, great Harry Kalas, this jam is “outta here!” Best Maze ever, IMO.
Ben Francisco – 2/23/90 Reba. We still don’t know what kind of player Ben Francisco will be. With the departure of Jayson Werth in the offseason and the injury to Domonic Brown (yes, he spells his name like that), Francisco was penciled in as the everyday right fielder for the Phillies. Since he joined the Phils two years ago, Benny Fresh has made the most of his opportunities, showing good pop off his bat, but a highly suspect glove in the field. Thats why this Reba comes to mind. I used to have this tape. I don’t remember it all that well, but I’m sure it plays like a Phish tape from the early ‘90s: the band still trying to find its way, playing to a small audience in a small, elite college in the northeast. You can hear the potential, but some fine tuning is still needed.
Raul Ibanez – 7/10/99 Gin. Raaauuuuuuuuuuuuuul. Raul, at age 39, might be playing on his last contract. But even at 39, he is still a good player in left field. He isn’t the flashiest player on the team, but his resolve and leadership by example are what makes him special. That is why he is like this Gin. Everyone talks about the Chalkdust from this show (and rightfully so) but this Gin is really, really good. It even has “I’m a Man” teases in it. The Gin came to play. And like Raul, it doesn’t have to be flashy to get its point across. It just delivers.
Carlos Ruiz – 12/11/99 Hood. Everyone loves Chooch. He is every Phillie fan’s favorite Phillie because of his workmanlike approach to the game, his bubbly personality, his ability to come through in the clutch, and his awesome nickname. Those qualities also apply to this Hood: it indicated to everyone in the Spectrum that night that Phish came to play, and delivered in all the right spots. Plus, Chooch’s favorite food is ice cream and Hood was written about a dairy product. Coincidence? You decide.
Wilson Valdez – 12/15/95 Wilson. This is one where I wish life imitated art. Wilson Valdez does not scare anyone at the plate. His defense, however, is second to none and is a suitable replacement for Chase Utley as he convalesces. But the real reason I chose this song for Wilson Valdez? It’s really part of a back-door effort to get him to choose Wilson as his at-bat music during the game. THAT would be awesome.
Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee-Roy Oswalt-Cole Hamels-Joe Blanton – 12/2/97 Mike’s>Simple>Dog Faced Boy>Ya Mar>Weekapaug. The Phillies’ starting rotation this year has a chance to become one of the greatest rotations of all-time. If you are an opposing team, there is not one arm in that rotation that you want to face. They are all that good, which is why I chose this sequence from the first night of the Spectrum in ‘97. This 5 song sequence is so good, that like the Phillies starters, it never lets you down. First you get a great ‘97 Mike’s. And a Simple with great jamming between Page and Trey. A sublime Dog Faced Boy followed by a Ya Mar that breaks the mold of what Ya Mar is before it sublimely transitions into Weekapaug. This sequence, like the Phillies’ starters, is not to be messed with. May God have mercy on the soul who tries.
Chase Utley – XX/XX/98 Wait. Phish didn’t play Philly in ‘98. Let’s hope Utley gets on the field more in 2011 than Phish did in ‘98 in Philly.