I’ll preface this by saying that I really and truly love Bruce Springsteen. I own all of his albums up through “Tunnel of Love” and one or two later ones. I’m not, like, The World’s Biggest Bruce Springsteen fan, but I really do dig him and think that he’s one of the best and most important artists of the 70s and 80s. Someone who teaches a class on that era of American history should have some of his records on the syllabus. When I’ve had a couple of drinks I have a little “you know, Springsteen has more in common with the punks than he has in common with the classic rock dinosaurs he gets lumped in with” lecture that no one wants to hear but is totally, totally true.
All of that said, my favorite thing about Springsteen in the past several years has been seeing just how utterly popular he is among baseball writers of a certain age. Which, yes, given baseball writer demographics this is no surprise. White guys over 50 are right in his wheelhouse. What tickles me so much about it though is how so many baseball writers I’ve talked to will tell you about Springsteen as if he were some little-known indie artist instead of one of the biggest rock stars in history. During his last tour ballwriters I follow would tweet about how “you really have to see Springsteen live; it’s a totally different experience,” as if the “The Boss puts on AMAZING shows” thing isn’t the ONE thing people who don’t even know much about Springsteen know. It’s like they’re hipping you to this cool, unknown vibe. I mean the ballwriters no malice whatsoever when I point this out, but I giggle every single time I see an example of it.
All of which serves as a long introduction to this story by Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press about how Paul Molitor is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. It’s good because it gives you some nice backstory about Paul Molitor the person and what music he likes, which is stuff that you don’t often hear about managers. But it’s shocking to me that none of the legions of the Springsteen-loving ballwriters working today have previously managed to write such a thing. I mean, this is the holy grail, right? This is like me finding out that some manager is a gigantic “Night Court” fan. How was the opportunity not grabbed before this?!
Anyway, it’s not like I or the slightly younger baseball writers are any better. Our Bruce Springsteen is Jason Isbell, with all of the same nonsense surrounding it. And we’re worse in some ways about craft beer and other things that are not exactly unknown in culture yet, in our hands, is described as cool and revelatory and, man, you NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to “Southeastern.” Did I tell you about how Isbell’s sobriety impacts his . . . [gets hit on head with anvil]