The Starting Nine

sp_phish_gambleWith October upon us, and the baseball postseason underway, fans across the nation – from New York to Colorado to Los Angeles – begin to hang on every pitch of every inning. For the next month, right through Indio, the playoffs will be a passionate subplot to many of our days and nights. People have often likened Phish and baseball fans, two statistically-obsessed subcultures within our society. When the game or show is on, everything else is off, as we seek a unique feeling only attained when our heroes really work collectively. Accessing very different parts of our selves, being a fan of baseball and a fan of Phish, can be incredibly compulsive and complementary habits, eating up significant chunks of time. But few things engage me more than these two pastimes. Combining them for just a day, I present to you Phish’s starting post-season lineup.  You can download the nine selections below.

1. Tube

A lead-off hitter needs to get going quickly and have speed to get around the bases. Not placed here for power, “Tube” gets on base early and often. Known to steal bases and use its funk to kick start the team’s offense, “Tube” plays the role of a lead-off hitter perfectly. A short shot of groove sets the table for the bigger jams, “Tube’s” crack-like dance rhythms reach base almost every time. Chula Vista’s first set version from ’99 works quite nicely as an illustration.

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2. Bathtub Gin

4198_1152308280374_1007653377_30464754_3849393_n-2Batting second, “Bathtub Gin,” a solid hitter who specializes in lacing doubles in the gap. Boasting both power and speed, “Gin” fits well in the second position. Rarely coming up empty, and sometimes going huge, “Gin” has the type of steady mid-range jamming that embodies the qualities of a great number-two hitter. Here is an overlooked version from The Palace in ’97 that segues into “Foam.”

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3. Ghost

The three slot usually goes to the best hitter on the team, and since its ’97 debut, there has been no more consistent jam vehicle than “Ghost.” Evolving stylistically with the band,”Ghost” has proven to also be one of the most versatile pieces in their repertoire. A true five-tool player, “Ghost” can go anywhere at anytime, capable of groove, spacescapes, gnarling rock, ambient, and melodic textures. If translated to baseball stats, we are talking .300, 30, and 100 year in and year out. And “Ghost” will get plenty of pitches to hit because look who’s hitting next. This dark-horse version from Portland Meadows in ’99 illustrates the song’s versatility.

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4. Tweezer

The ultimate cleanup hitter, “Tweezer” is the Babe Ruth of Phish songs, swatting jams out of the park with a 42 ounce bat like it’s a toothpick. If there are ducks on the pond, “Tweezer” will clean the base paths almost every time.  Protecting “Ghost” with its intimidating psychedelia, no opposing pitcher wants to face “Tweezer” with the lead on the line. Having been groomed for this position since i’s youth, “Tweezer” ascended to its rightful spot in the order a long time ago and doesn’t seem to have signs of giving it up. These days, when I think “Tweezer,” I think Red Rocks.

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5. Down With Disease

phish20baseball-400-x-585-1Giving opposing pitchers no rest, “Down With Disease” holds down the coveted five spot. Reserved for a powerhouse that rarely strikes out, “Disease” fits the description perfectly. One of Phish’s favorite vehicles, when that fuzzy bass intro emerges, it sounds like a hanging curveball just waiting to be clobbered. “Disease” is a crafty veteran who can get the job done in more ways than one, but most often its with diverse and creative improv. Not necessarily a 40 home run hitter, “Disease” has made the All-Star team every year since 1996. Here is the incredibly cathartic version from 12.30.03 in Miami.

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6. David Bowie

This aging veteran has lost a step in its old age, but “Bowie” can still close sets with the best of them. No longer the psychedelic monstrosity of ’94 and ’95, the song still possesses power and legacy. I’m an AL fan, so “Bowie” will fill our designated hitter slot. Sometimes a defensive liability in the outfield due to older legs and aching knees, “Bowie” still has the potential to come through in the clutch every time it steps to the plate. Here is one from the glory days – 6.18.94’s Mind Left Bowie.

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7. Stash

Another versatile player, “Stash” slides into the seven hole, illustrating the top to bottom consistency of Phish’s line-up. “Stash” boasted an explosive summer of 2009, and goes into the playoffs as hot as any song.  After stellar nights in Colorado, Washington, and Connecticut, “Stash’s” confidence is peaking. Providing spark in the bottom third of the lineup, “Stash” is a versatile hitter who can spray the ball to all fields, slapping 10-minute singles or 20-minute home runs. Here is the foreboding version from Hartford this summer that hasn’t gotten enough props.

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phishfenway18. Split Open and Melt

As we get towards the bottom of the lineup, “Split” boasts an ominous presence for any pitcher. Just when they think there might be a gap in the offense, this scary hitter steps to the plate. Drawing a lot of walks due to its intimidation, “Split” has the highest on-base percentage of any number eight hitter in the league. Capable of legging it out via groove, more often than not “Split’s” outward psychedelia is it’s biggest offensive weapon. Here is an all-time favorite from Niagara Falls ’95.

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9. Run Like An Antelope

Rounding out the staring lineup, and acting as the “second lead-off” hitter is “Antelope.” With the quickest speed on the team, its ability to reach base on infield singles, and to reach third on routine doubles, astounds all opposing teams. If “Antelope” gets to first, it might as well be on third, boasting the highest single-season stolen base total since Rickey Henderson. And don’t be surprised to see some power in his bat, “Antelope” has made a living by popping dingers at the end of any given set. Here is a scorcher from La Mesa ’94.

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**

“Miner’s Starting Lineup” < Torrent

“Miner’s Starting Lineup” < Megaupload

1. “Tube” 9.18.99 Chula Vista, CA

2. “Bathtub Gin > Foam” 12.6.97 Auburn Hills, MI

3. “Ghost” 9.12.99 Portland, OR

4. “Tweezer” 7.31.09 Morrison, CO

5. “Down With Disease” 12.30.03 Miami, FL

6. “David Bowie” 6.18.94 Chicago, IL

7. “Stash” 8.14.09 Hartford, CT

8. “Split” 12.7.95 Niagara Falls, NY

9. “Antelope” 12.9.94 La Mesa, AZ

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.26.91 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA < Torrent

7.26.91 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA < Megaupload

phish-summertour-91Here is a return to the Summer of ’91 and Phish’s standout run with The Giant Country Horns. This second-to-last show of the Horns’ run showcases a well-practiced band whose communication transformed Phish’s music into a a sort of prog-rock fusion for a fortnight. The Aquarium Rescue Unit opened this show as the band co-billed their run though the South, switching headlining slots.

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Reba, My Sweet One, Foam, Suzy Greenberg, Cavern, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Buried Alive, Bouncing Around the Room, The Landlady, Golgi Apparatus

II: Stash, Dinner and a Movie, You Enjoy Myself, Flat Fee, Funky Bitch, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer, Sweet Adeline, The Lizards* > Tweezer Reprise

E: Lawn Boy, Frankenstein, Split Open and Melt

w/ The Giant Country Horns

* Happy Birthday dedication to Chris Kuroda

Source: Shure 57 > Casio D7 > SPDIF

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283 Responses to “The Starting Nine”

  1. guyforget Says:

    PYITE is the Ricky Henderson of lead off batters. IMO.

  2. bhizzle Says:

    word Robear word…have had issues with Snyder since day one…mascot changing? uhhhhh….The Titans just ain’t the Oilers ya know?

  3. bhizzle Says:

    Hey Ricky. This is Ricky..Pick up the phone Ricky

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    I can’t ever root for the ‘skins again until they not just get out from under Snyder but change the team name, which will never happen. Some ethnic team names are arguably OK. “Redskins” is equivalent to the N word. Not. Fucking. Cool.

    I was raised on that team, so I’d love to be able to cheer ‘em on…but for the forseeable future I’m an unaligned NFL fan with slight Niners leanings – and I always root for whoever is playing the Cowboys, or these days, also whoever is playing the New England Cheating Bastards.

  5. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    Mr. C – I think you meant New England team of the decade, triple world champ bastards.

  6. BTB Says:

    How about the Cleveland Indians logo with the giant nose on a red faced indian?

    It’s something that does go under the radar a bit, but seriously, some team logos are pretty ridiculous.

  7. voopa Says:

    Chief Wahoo? What could possibly be wrong with the manically grinning Indian who’ll no doubt scalp ya when you turn your back?

  8. guitarpicker420! Says:

    Mr.C – I am with you completely on hating the Pats. Ever since Willie McGinnis pulled up limp while the Colts were driving to win the game and the Pats were out of timeouts. They get the free timeout, Willie sits out one play, stuffs the Edge to seal the win and then goes sprinting down the field as if nothing was ever wrong with his leg. Just plain dirty ball. Cheaters never prosper and I hope Tom Brady gets chlamydia from Giselle!

  9. Little Buddy Says:

    “Hey Ricky. This is Ricky..Pick up the phone Ricky” – Nice. The Ricky jokes just never get old.

  10. Brimley Says:

    Miner if you read this, please do all a favor and please post 10/09/99 for the ten year anniversary. This show is so underrated it’s absurd. This has my personal favorite Ghost and LxL…Also a sick Free and 2001…The buildup to the Ghost climax is out of this world and FULL of tension and release and the LxL hits type II territory quickly…

  11. bhizzle Says:

    I’ll agree with the chlamydia call only if its un-curable

  12. Frankie Says:

    6.18.94 Bowie is a grand slam hit for sure!

    Also, love the Herb Score backstage pass… classic! :)
    What show is that from?

  13. Pence Says:

    Mr C. “We’d” be glad to take you in.

    :thinking….daaaaa bears…. bears…. bears…. bears…. bears…. bulls… bears…. ditka. ditka. polish sausage. da bears. ditka:

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    i do find the Cutler saga engaging…

    outside the Boston area, the asterisk attached to the Pats championships will never be removed.

    let’s not forget the Belichick era actually *started* with cheating – there was a collusion/tampering scandal around his hiring

    I actually liked the Pats at first, cause they were the lovable losers made good, and they play a nice, disciplined, fundamental, team oriented style of ball. And I do respect them still. You have to.

    but every non Bostonian NFL fan will always assume there was vastly more video cheating than ever surfaced. Just how it is.

  15. joe Says:

    great Ricky story about when he was on the mets playing with John Olerud and told him that he used to play with another guy who wore a batting helmet in the field and Olerud had to tell Ricky that he was the same guy who Ricky played with who wore the helmet…

    and Pats haters can go eff yourselfs! In a league that has teams up one year and down the next, Pats are a model of what good management/coaching can do. (I don’t hate on Indy anymore, only the Steelers) (and Giants….and Chargers)(I guess you can add J-E-T-S to that list too).

    I can’t watch that Hitler video enough. “I miracled that wook bitch in Deer Creek.” classic

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    why bother hating on the Chargers? they’ll never win.

    It’s fun rooting against the Pats. Like the ‘Boys back in the day. A good villain has to be powerful.

  17. joe Says:

    LDT annoys the shit out of me with his whinny sideline demeanor

  18. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    everyone hates on whoever’s at the top of the pyramid. But it’s professional sports; there’s “cheating” or at morally questionable actions everywhere. Tampering is the perfect example: do you really think someone who’s signing a multi-year contract for tens of millions of dollars will just sign their life away minutes into free-agency?
    My point I guess is, the pats got caught videotaping, but you’ll never convince me that nobody else was doing it.

  19. SOAM Says:

    Lucic is the next Neely-taste the fear.

  20. joe Says:

    they went 16-0 the year AFTER they “got caught” and then 11-5 without the previous year’s MVP. How’s Matt Cassell working out for the Chiefs?

    ok, I need to watch the video again to get back in the right frame of mind…”Anyone who has ever sung along to that shitty Kids song, get out!”

  21. joe Says:

    your hipster sympathizing ass!

  22. voopa Says:

    @Brimley

    Totally agree. 10-9 gets overshadowed by the next night and the preceding Nassau stand, but is definitely no slouch!

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    Although I’m picking this fan fight, I know just how you feel, Joe – I was a jordan/bulls fan in the 90s and had to put up with a lot of whiny nonsense about the Jordan Rules and stuff…everyone hates a front runner

    (that being said, the phantom roughing call against the Ravens last week was a comically blatant Brady Rules moment and you can’t deny it)

    to be honest I’m mostly tired of the Pats, ready for the league to move on, and I like baiting Pats fans with the cheating thing, I doubt that ever really decided a game…or certainly not a championship.

    as I said once before, I only play a nice guy on TV, I was a born troublemaker for reals

  24. joe Says:

    ok, I’ll take the bait (again). Pats had an equally frustrating roughing call go against them in the same game, and have had others already this year. The difference is that after the call against Baltimore, the Pats took advantage and scored while Baltimore turned the ball over after they benefitted from a questionable call (which is just how they call it now in the protect the qb at all costs nfl). On to more happy thoughts, 3 weeks away and there is now a 75% chance that I’m going to drop everything and go out west. Could be a solo trip.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    by my count it was 2 phantom calls in the Pats favor to 1 for the Ravens :o

    agree the rule itself is ridiculous, the way its called now

    I can’t deny that when you give Brady an opening, he cashes it in. He’s a closer, like a Montana or a Jordan. Flacco and the R’s came up short. They’re good but they’re not at that level yet.

    last NFL thought – Red Zone channel is the best thing to happen since HD – has anyone else seen this thing?!?

    Cool you might get to go to 8!

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