As I always say, we seem to inspire each other on a daily basis around here in the blogosphere.
I've based a good number of my posts over the past year off of many of my fellow blogger's thoughts or ideas on a given topic.
Well, that inspiration has reared its head once again.
While I did make a "blog resolution" with myself to feature more music-based ideas around here, I haven't really come through on that promise up to this point.
Luckily, one of our favorite bloggers recently got those musical juices flowing for me.
Most of you probably know about Night Owl's latest "thing" by now, a little series he recently labeled as "Match the Song Title".
At the moment, I don't have any records in my "collection". Still, probably unlike most people around my age, I can appreciate a good piece of vinyl.
And, hey, I bet I'm one of the few twenty year-olds who can say that they own a 45. On purely the "coolness factor" alone, I picked up a few at the local flea market years ago.
This Strawberry Alarm Clock "nugget" is easily my favorite one from my modest collection.
Now, given my lifelong love for both music and baseball, music-related posts like Night Owl's are about as good as it gets. Both of my favorite hobbies together under one roof.
It's like a dream come true.
As he has done so many times in the past with this blog (and many, many others, for that matter), Mr. Owl has indeed inspired tonight's post.
While I won't be matching specific albums to the world of cardboard, I will be doing something along those lines.
Eventually, I'll give you a brief glimpse into a couple songs from a few of my favorite bands, interweaving the wide world of cardboard during the process.
For now, though, I thought I'd simply mention a couple songs that have been getting more and more airplay on my MP3 player as of late.
"Back to You", by The Riverdales
Surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of Chicago-based bands in my musical repertoire.
Aside from a couple Smashing Pumpkins songs, I can't think of a single one. And I'm not even all that big on the "Pumpkins", either.
I basically discovered the "hometown" Riverdales by accident late last year.
But they've been common suspects on my MP3 player ever since.
As you'll probably see in the later reaches of this post, I've always been a sucker for pop-punk groups.
The Riverdales are no exception.
At the moment, "Back to You" is probably my favorite number of theirs.
After I decided to feature it in this post, Raul Ibanez was the first name that popped into my mind. He'll be going back to the Mariners for the 2013 season, a year which will mark his third separate stint in Seattle.
A more than appropriate selection, I think.
"I'll Stick With You", The Primitives
Again, as you'll soon see, I've been on a bit of a kick with girl-fronted bands lately.
I'm not exactly sure why, though.
Although it's hard to put into words, something about the sound of The Primitives has captivated me within the last few months. I can't seem to stop listening to them.
Given the career-long bond between Chipper Jones and the Braves' organization, it's easy to see why I selected this particular card.
Unfortunately, I think Chipper and his single-franchise career may be a dying breed in the current game.
Only time will tell.
The second portion of this post wasn't easy to create.
In it, I've selected my two favorite songs from my four favorite bands.
The four bands weren't all that tough to choose. In recent years, four have distinguished themselves from the rest in my musical world.
However, only being able to pick two songs from each proved to be quite the challenge. All four occupy at least a couple dozen slots on my MP3 player these days.
R.E.M. is probably close to the 40-song mark by now.
As shown by the terrific photo I've selected, I prefer their earlier material to their later, more mainstream period.
This one proved to be a fairly obvious choice.
After testifying on Congress that he "had never used sterioids...period", Rafael Palmeiro was busted for using "the juice" in 2005.
Not persuasive enough.
I still can't figure out why I own any cards of this guy, to tell you the truth.
For a lot of the bands I like, I have a tough time picking a single, favorite song.
Not R.E.M., though.
"Gardening at Night" is and will always be my favorite number of theirs. "Pretty Persuasion" and "Exhuming McCarthy" come close, but not close enough.
In terms of cardboard, this one proved to be a bit of a challenge for me.
After all was said and done, though, I chose to feature Mr. Boggs.
Because he and a group of investors recently purchased the famous "Field of Dreams" site in Iowa.
I'm sure a lot of gardening will have to go into that place.
Don't let the name fool you.
The Muffs aren't some new death metal band or anything like that.
As the newest band to join my "Top Four", they've quickly earned a special place in my musical world in the past year.
Although relatively obscure, their songs are about as catchy and powerful as about any band I've heard in my life. The vocals and guitar of Kim Shattuck basically inspired the recent "girl-singer" kick I've been on.
If you're into pretty much any rock-related music from the '90s, I beg you to give them a listen.
Try these two songs, for starters...
If you haven't yet read this book, I highly recommend you go pick up a copy.
It contains a whole bunch of funny, interesting tidbits about this wonderful hobby. All while featuring some pretty darn awesome vintage cardboard in the process.
So, what did the authors have to say about this piece?
"Jim Bouton is a big mouth."
While I love both R.E.M. and The Muffs, two bands will always stand above all others in my eyes.
I've listened to each for virtually my entire life, yet I've never been able to definitively choose between them.
So, for now, let's just call this pair the "1a" and "1b" of my musical life.
Obviously, the Beatles need no further introduction.
I'd hope not, anyways.
Originally, I had "I Saw Her Standing There" in this second slot.
But, as "Nowhere Man" popped up on my MP3 player during my walk home from school today, I was convinced.
For now, anyways, it is indeed my second-favorite Beatles song.
One of their more inspirational tunes as well, if I might add.
Call my crazy, but I think "A-Rod" might benefit from giving it a listen right about now.
"I Should Have Known Better"
As far as "The Fabs" go, I'm more of a mop-top fan myself.
Don't get me wrong, though.
I absolutely love every part of their illustrious career. "A Day in the Life" and "Helter Skelter" are probably in my top five Beatles songs.
In the end, though, I just seem to like their earlier material a little better.
Although not one of their most talked-about tunes, this one off "A Hard Day's Night" has almost always reigned supreme in my Beatles fandom.
Needless to say, the Mariners probably "should have known better" when they signed Chone Figgins to that mega-contract a few years ago.
They'll basically be paying him eight million bucks to play in the Marlins' organization this year.
I'm a big fan of Figgins, however. I own around 150 cards of the guy, and I do hope he gets another shot in the bigs.
In hindsight, however, that has to go down as one of the absolute worst signings in baseball history.
While the Beatles may have changed the way I listen to music, the Ramones inspired me to start actually playing it.
Many of the first songs I learned on my guitar and bass were Ramones songs.
While they may not have intended to at the time, they've certainly inspired a great deal of music over the last forty years.
Narrowing it down to two songs of theirs sure wasn't easy.
I'm sure former Negro League star Judy Johnson was a nice guy.
But this card just fit too perfectly for me to ignore.
As far as my world of music goes, this is the song by which all others are judged.
Plain and simple.
Picking a related piece of cardboard, however, proved to be a difficult task.
To quote a lyric from the groundbreaking tune, it appears that former Brewer Jody Reed is indeed "losing his mind" in this particular shot.
Okay, perhaps my selection for this one is a bit lacking.
But it was the best I could find.
In the end, any post that can combine both music and sports is a special one for me.
After all, they've been a major part of me for my entire life.
And I don't see that stopping anytime soon.