Monday, May 04, 2015

Hit 'Em All

AT&T Park, San Francisco
May 2, 2015

"Bodies fill the fields I see, hungry heroes end..."  Umlaut love Metal.  Umlaut loves baseball.  Metallica are one of my favorite bands.  The San Francisco Giants are my favorite team.  I've been a Giants fan since I was around 5.  I've been a Metallica fan since I was around 17.

If you had said in 1982 that the San Francisco Giants would (1) win not only their first World Series Championship in S.F. but also 3 in 5 years and (2) there would be a Giants game dedicated to Metallica you would have been an insane person... but here we are in 2015 and all of that has come to pass!

The 3rd edition of this "only in San Francisco" event found things more dialed in than the previous games.  The Metallica theme was more complete throughout the entire game and also more successful in capturing the vibe of the band.  This extended to the marketing campaign leading up to the game which included the launch of the Giants new black alternate home jersey the team will wear at Saturday home games for at least the rest of this season.

Fade to Black!  Metallica + San Francisco Giants + Humor = Awesome.  More Metal bands (including Metallica) should have a self-deprecating sense of humor.  Metal bands are way too serious now.. which makes Metal fans way too serious.. which makes me bored.  I'm talking about more stuff like this too:

"... a huge statue of Cthulhu would come out."

Anyway, what makes these Giants / Metallica games even more awesome is I see Metal friends and Baseball friends in a setting that's more casual to chat and shoot the shit than at a gig.  We don't have to shout over a PA to hear each other and the food is better.  Thankfully some of my best friends are on the same page as me about this game, this team, and this music.  Pretty damn cool and so full circle, man.

As at the previous Metallica games, things kicked off with the best rendition of the National Anthem EVER.  Here's the official MLB video from the 2013 game: 

Please rise..
[Photo courtesy of]

In years past the go-to Bay Area musician to perform the National Anthem at a Giants game would have been, like, Huey Lewis & the News.  They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating... and I say fuck that.  METAL.

However, one thing that annoyed me at the past Metallica games was that some of the elements that were supposed to give the game a "Metallica theme" were tone deaf... Such as having the stadium's at-bat images of players given "funny" Hair Metal wigs for the night.  Is there anything that is completely not Metallica than that??  Thankfully, this year they figured it out and the players' at-bat images were given simple dignity and metalization with the "Metallica font" used for their names instead of silly Photoshopped wigs and hairbands.

Simple.  Effective.  Metal.  Awesome, right?  This despite the fact I'm pretty sure in real life neither Crawford or Panik are Metal fans.. but that's cool.  Only the Oakland A's seem to have legit Metal fans on the roster... but Umlaut is not a fan of American League baseball.  Anyway...

The Giants charged out of the dugout and onto the field with 'Battery' blasting from the PA.. which ruled.  Another music highlight was Maiden's 'Run To The Hills' that segued into 'Frantic' during an early inning.  The Metallica tunes and other appropriate songs (such as Sabbath's 'The Wizard' and Thin Lizzy's 'The Rocker'!) held up until the 9th when ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones made it jarringly clear a longer Metal playlist would be needed next year.

Another aspect of this year's game that made it better was each band guy did something individual during the game.  James did the team intros.  Robert got things rolling with the traditional "Play Ball!" cheer and rode around the field with his family and Lou Seal in his golf cart between innings.  Lars threw out the first pitch (wide and outside but over the plate) and he, his wife, and son hosted an in-between inning event on the big screen.  Best of all, during the 7th Inning stretch Kirk played 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' atop the visitor's dugout armed with his axe and a wah wah pedal.. which was awesome.

What?   Oh right.. There was also a game played!  This year the Giants held on to defeat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (HAHA.. Lame name..) 5-4.. which sort of.. kind of.. made up for the 2002 World Series.. but not really. For the record, the outcomes of the past Metallica games were:

May 3, 2013:  The Giants defeated the fucking Dodgers 2-1 on Buster Posey's first walk off HR ever in the 9th! Seek.. and .. destroy..

May 16, 2014: The Giants lost to the Marlins 7-5 when the bullpen collapsed and gave up 2 runs in the Top of the 9th.  Sad but true..

After the game we few, we happy few, made our way across Lefty O'Doul Bridge to The Yard for some victory beers.

 ... 'cause you're Metallica.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  In high school, the baseball jocks were the worst assholes in the school.  In the original Metal Days, when jocks started showing up at shows (like Metallica) they brought their bullshit to The Pit and used it as an excuse to simply fuck people up.  Jocks have ruined a lot of things over the years.. So, yeah, part of me realizes this is all so ironic... but the truth is in the mid 80's when Umlaut became bored and disillusioned with the original Metal scene I started following the Giants hardcore as something to be passionate about.  Also, players come and go and I've always worshiped the game and this team and not the jocks.  Am I rationalizing?  Maybe... but the fact that two of my favorite hometown things have joined forces like this is mind blowing, amazing, and above all... F-U-N.

Click HERE to get this hella awesome patch..