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Writing...Baseball...Johnny Cash

Apr 13 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Hello weekend…and more weird weather.  Storms…tornado type stuff in our region…and a BLIZZARD in other parts of the country…especially Minnesota where my sister Rita lives with her husband and family.  I’ll be sending a St. Bernard with provisions up there to save the day for them.



Today is Friday the 13th…is you’re superstitious…take cover.  I’m not…never have been.  So I’m good for walking under any ladder I see today.


Remember to stay away from horse tracks today because vampires LOVE racing.  Especially when it’s “neck and neck”.



Steve Dean and I got together at his home studio as we do now every other Thursday to write, catch up and take care of business in general.  We found a groove we liked listening to a new Ashley Monroe song…and I found a hook in my list of song ideas that worked for the melody so we got another song in our catalog.  We’ve got a small stack of new songs now so we’re going to turn out attention to recording in them over the next couple of visits so we’ll have some new tune to pitch to folks. 


I had no idea until I happened to look the other day…but through years of friendship and songwriting I think Steve and I have written 80 or more songs together.  Some as co-writes…and many with a third songwriter.  It’s a good collaboration as Steve is really great with melodies…and I’m able to bring lyrics to whatever he hears melodically.  Not that both of us don’t contribute on both sides of that equation…but it’s a fairly accurate description of how it goes a lot of the time. 







It’s just been a great collaboration for a long long time and I’m grateful for it.  In fact it makes me grateful that at a young age I started experimenting with writing songs.  That’s an oldie-goodie picture of me on my bed at my parents home in Missouri.  That was the first great guitar I ever bought…a Gibson Hummingbird.  Man I wish I had not gotten rid of that bad boy.  I have no idea how bad my songs must have been when I was trying to write tunes at that age…but I do know my first song ever titled “It Must Be Tears” came off of that guitar and was born in that very bedroom.  Significant in my memory because I remember playing that little song for my Mom who was sure her son was a songwriting God the moment she heard it.  Mom’s are like that…that’s why we love our Mama’s.  Her reaction probably encouraged me to keep at it without me really knowing it at the time.  So thanks Mom.







We had gorgeous weather here yesterday…perfect for getting out to catch my first Sounds minor league ballgame of the year.  So I grabbed a seat and watched the game and checked our iconic guitar scoreboard several times. 







Man I love a lazy baseball game.  I have since I first saw a Major League baseball field as a youngster.  Old Sportsman Park…St. Louis.  And my first game?  Stan Musial was in the line up.  Wow.


I’ve been addicted since…and I hope there is no cure for this.  If you’re trying to find me this summer…call the ballpark.  I might put down my hot dog and beer and answer your call.




Of course the minor leagues are full of silly on field games and stunts and stuff to try to hold the attention of younger folks between innings.  I’m a purist…so if I never saw folks putting their noggin’s on a bat and spinning around and then trying to run ever again…it would be too soon.  But I get it.


What I hate is the lack of originality.  Every ballpark should have a creative staff that comes up with something cool that’s “local”…and not being done in a hundred other ball yards across the country. 


For instance. 



The greatest race on a baseball field without question is the “Sausage” race in Milwaukee.  You simply can not beat an upright weenie running full tilt boogie trying to get to the finish line before the polish sausage and


The popularity of that race spawned numerous others.  In DC they have the President’s racing.  Pale in comparison.





And right here at my little ball park they have Johnny Cash, Reba, George Jones and now Dolly racing in front of the fans.   Dolly is new this year and if you take a quick look…I’m sure Dolly is wearing a chest protector.  Hey…it’s baseball!


Here’s to more ORIGINAL gimmicks at ballparks in the future.







I got a note from a great friend and co-write…Hall of Fame songwriter Jim McBride who’s living back home in Huntsville these days.  Jim is a true baseball nut like I am.   Last year I met Jim in Huntsville and we went with a sportswriter friend of his Mark McCarter.  Marks knowledge of the game makes me look like a rookie.  The three of us and Jim’s distant cousin “Benny Hale” all went to see the new Atlanta ballpark last year.  It was an awesome baseball trip.  4 guys…and 90% of the conversation was baseball…and baseball memories and stories and favorite player memories were shared.


A couple of days ago Jim informed me that out of nowhere Benny passed away.  Gosh.  I was so sad to hear the news…but so happy I have that memory of meeting him…and sharing what he loved too…baseball.


So last night at our ballpark?  I was thinking a bit of Benny and how short life truly is.  So that beer you see?  That’s for you Benny.  RIP.








Now to go in a National Park in your car?  Gonna set ya back $35.  They wanted to charge $70 but someone held that insanity at bay.  I’m not sure Teddy Roosevelt who established our park system would have been in favor of a high price to visit our national wonders. 


If it keeps up I see kids doing what they used to do years ago when the went to a drive in movie.  (remember those)  They’d pile in the back of the trunk to get in free. 



A new study says if you drink 5 or more drinks per week…you may be shortening your life.  Yesterday we found out that those who sleep late may be shortening their lives too. 


Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the life span of golfers who hold their irons up high in a lightning storm.



I’ve mentioned before that our family loves Disney World.  Been way too long since we’ve been.  But…when we go…I certainly have a list of “Must See’s”.  At at or near the top of that list would be Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.


Have you ever wondered what it would look like if someone turned all the lights and you could see where you were going instead of riding it in the dark?


Someone did.  Take a look at this VIDEO.



I love those movies too…George Clooney…Matt DamonBrad Pitt etc.  The new one coming out looks great…and it’s an all female cast this time with Sandra Bullock leading the pack.  And here’s a sneak peek of that TRAILER just out. 



I’m playing a show tomorrow night in Bon Aqua Tennessee at the Storytellers Museum at 7 pm.  Marc Alan Cash will open …and I’ll have time to tour the museum and property that Johnny and June once owned.  Yes…there’s lots of “Cash” memorabilia and items including the “One Piece At A Time” car that Johnny sang about.  It should be a very fun intimate evening of music, stories and history.  See you there I hope.


Have a great weekend!












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