Nothing feels more like the summer than a day at the ball park or a good hip hop album — so it’s a shame that hip hop has never embraced baseball, or maybe it’s that baseball has never really adopted hip hop in the way that basketball, and to a lesser extent, football has over the years.
This disconnect didn’t stop one of one of the best Tumblrs on the internet from being created: Straight Outta Cooperstown. The Tumblr is self-described as “a mashup of Hall of Famers from America’s two favorite pastimes” with a photoshopped mashup of Biggie and Babe Ruth sitting at the top of the page. Scroll down, and you’ll see classic baseball cards with rapper/player puns for the names and rappers photoshopped onto the baseball player’s bodies.
I get it, words can’t really describe how awesome this Tumblr is, so below we’ve included our four favorite from the blog.
"They say it’s celestial, it’s all in the stars
Like Tony LaRussa on how you photoshop play your Cards"
In the 1990s, rap music below the Mason-Dixon Line was viewed how the Chicago Cubs have been viewed for a century: irrelevant, simple and as an afterthought. Andre 3000, one member of the Outkast duo, helped change that perspective for rap fans in the south.
There were plenty of guys who could spit in the south, but 3 Stacks' ability and creativity opened up the floodgates toward a movement in southern rap. It became cool to listen to southern rap. Jay-Z put on UGK. Scarface rapped on Tupac's posthumous "Smile" to the delight of a Houston rap fan like me. Andre 3000 remains the GOAT from the South.
An eight-time All-Star who started his career in Montreal, Andre Dawson is best known as a Cub. He made a team incapable of overcoming a long-held curse fun to watch. It was okay to be a Cub fan since the best player in the game wore the jersey, just like it was okay to claim southern rap as legitimate because we had guys like Andre 3000 carrying the torch.
The difference is 3000 lived long enough to see the south takeover hip hop. It's unlikely Andre Dawson lives to see the Cubs reach that mountaintop.
When I first started watching baseball games as a kid in the 80s and early 90s, I remembered that legendary Yankee play-by-play announcer Phil Rizzuto would never work the full game. He'd always tell his wife that he was on his way home (he lived in New Jersey) and make some reference to the traffic at the George Washington Bridge. Lo and behold, by the 7th inning, the production crew would show a panoramic shot of that bridge. And since the Yankees were not THE YANKEES back then, perhaps Rizzuto's going home was his way to changing the channel as the rest of us did.
And now, I know the real reason on why he would beat the traffic. He may have went home, alright, but it wasn't just to spendtime with his adored wife. No, no, no!
He was recording Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Holy cow!
"I sold my soul to the devil, and the price was cheap...
And yo its cold on this level, 'cause it's twice as deep"
Somehow, this relates perfectly to the current plight of the Oakland Athletics, as their desire to be profitable by any means necessary brought the evolution to the world that is moneyball. As moneyball has proven to be effective in various stints for the A's, it seems they'll never get over the hump.
Forever the tease for A's fans as the 9 World Series titles and dominance in the 70's and 80's seem like a foreign time, like DMX was to hip hop as his five consecutive platinum albums and legendary roles in movies like Belly and Exit Wounds, both seemed destined for immortality.
Then frugality and cocaine happened. All hail DM Eckersley.
There is no real discernible similarities between Mystikal and Cal Ripken. Ripken is one of the greatest shortstops of my lifetime, known best for his longevity. From 1983 to 1998, Ripken didn’t miss a start. He’s not just the poster boy for consistency in baseball, but in all of sports. If the Orioles were on the field, Ripken was on the field.
Mystikal is best known for his Let’s Get Ready album that featured the two biggest hits of his career, “Shake Ya Ass” and “Danger.” His song "Bouncin’ Back" was played by a fictional HBCU in the movie Drumline. Other than that Mystikal’s biggest accomplishment might be that it’s impossible to read his lyrics and know how it’s going to sound on a track, simply because there is nothing consistent about his rhyming schemes.
For Cal, his ubiquity in the MLB for nearly two decades is the reason that, if a rapper wants to mention a baseball player, he’s among the most frequently mentioned. Jay-Z said, “I was moving birds like an Oriole fitted, I’m Cal Ripken Jr. let’s get it,” on “What They Gonna Do.” Lil Wayne has multiple Ripken references, the most famous is laden with n-bombs that aren’t necessary to repeat here. Regardless, Ripken was great on and off the field in ways Mystical never could be.
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