Mandolin master Chris Thile has had a long love affair with America’s favorite pastime. Thile’s great-great-grandfather is Baseball Hall of Famer, Sam Thompson. Thile himself, at one time, hoped to be a ball player. His first solo CD, Leading Off, featured a baseball diamond as part of the graphic content on the cover. His second CD, Stealing Second, also bears out the baseball connection.
Just last week John mentioned to me that he happened to see Chris on Baseball Tonight. Chris was performing solo at the time, but he’s taking the band out to the ball game tomorrow night.
An avowed Cubs fan, Thile is surely aware that 1908 was the last year his beloved Cubs won the World Series. 1908 was also the year the baseball seventh inning stretch anthem, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, was written. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the song, Baseball Tonight is holding a “battle of the bands” event. Nine different musical guests were asked to record a version of the song to air during different episodes of the show. Once all nine have been aired, fans will be able to watch them online and vote for their favorite.
I’m not sure what the winning performance wins, but if you’re a baseball fan and you’re reading this (I’m assuming you’re a bluegrass fan), then make sure you vote for Chris’ band, Punch Brothers. Their performance will be aired tomorrow, Wednesday, June 18, after the Cubs at Tampa Bay game. Let’s hope the Cubs win that game, and Chris wins the contest!
Voting will begin on June 29th. It will be narrowed to three performances on July 6th, and the winner will be announced on July 13th.
Go Punch Brothers (and Cubs)!