Damn Yankees

You’ve gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win
That’s when the grin should start

Tuesday night all fans of our national pastime turned their eyes towards Anaheim, California to watch this year’s mid-season classic, the All-Star Game.  Last year at this time, all eyes were on Saint Louis, the 2009 host city for this event.  Saint Louis is a great baseball town and while all other major league action has halted other than the game in Anaheim, there is still some major league action to be had in Saint Louis.  Tuesday night, Anne and I went to the Muny to go see the musical, Damn Yankees.

We’ve got to think about the game!
The game, the game!
We’ve go to think about the game,
The game, the game!
Booze and broads may be great,
though they’re great they’ll have to wait,
While we think about the game!

Damn Yankees is a musical comedy that debuted in 1955.  It features the character Joe Boyd, a long-suffering, middle-aged fan of the Washington Senators baseball team.  Joe is approached by a slick salesman, Mr. Applegate, who is in reality the Devil.  Joe is convinced to sell his soul to the Devil to become the young and strong slugger Joe Hardy (“Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo”), the new long ball hitter for the Senators.  Joe takes up this offer, leaves his wife but then starts to have regrets.  He eventually hits upon a loophole that might get him out of his pact with the devil and still save the Senators from those damn Yankees. 

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, and little man, little Lola wants you …

This comic send-up of the Faustian legend is a delight to theater patrons and baseball fans alike.   The show contains two other famous tunes, “Heart” and “What Lola Wants, Lola Gets”.  The Muny’s productions department out did itself and created a remarkably realistic recreation of our nation’s capital sweltering summertime weather.  As Muny trivia, Vincent Price most famously played the role of Mr. Applegate.  In this weeks production, Mike Shannon, the Cardinal’s radio announcer played the announcer in the show.

Also on Tuesday, George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees died of a heart attack at the age of 80.  Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 million in 1973.  Almost forty years later the Yankees are a billion dollar empire.  Steinbrenner built-up the Yankees with a mixture of bluster and big bucks that polarized fans all across America.  His death on the day of the All-Star game was the second in three days to rock the Yankees.  Bob Sheppard, the team’s revered public address announcer from 1951-07, died Sunday at 99.  It is seldom right to speak ill of the dead, but I can’t think of anyone more likely to have Mr. Applegate on speed dial than George Steinbrenner.

Whenever I’m from time to time depressed
And a trauma wells and swells
Within my breast
I find some pride deep inside of me
And I fondly walk down the lane of memory
I see Bonaparte
A mean one if ever I’ve seen one
And Nero fiddlin’ thru that lovely blaze
Antionetts, dainty queen, with her quaint guillotine
Ha ha ha ha

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