Bluegrass Goes to Bat

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The bluegrass/baseball connection goes back to Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys fielding a team as a pre-show promotion. Baseball is referenced in bluegrass songs like Jimmy Martin’s “Home Run Man” and the Gibson Brothers’ “Iron and Diamonds.”

Our own CBA message board shows how passionately many bluegrass fans feel about their local nine. Chances are, if the subject line of a posting says “No BG Content,” it’s about baseball.

There’s no better example of the convergence of our national pastime and our national musical heritage than San Francisco Giants’ third-base coach Tim Flannery.
Tim’s a guitar pickin’ Kentuckian who’s leading an effort to raise funds for a very worthy cause. Following is a press release I wrote for this important event:

A musical benefit for San Francisco Giants’ fan Bryan Stow is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9th at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Giants’ third-base coach and bluegrass musician Tim Flannery headlines the event with his band Lunatic Fringe.
Also on the bill are Randi Driscoll, Turi and Brent McClain, Dennis Caplinger, Jeff Berkley, and Dean Smith. Comcast SportsNet personality Amy Gutierrez will serve as master of ceremonies.

Stow, a San Francisco paramedic, was brutally attacked in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium following the 2011 season opener between the Giants and Dodgers. He recently transferred to a rehabilitation facility after five months in the hospital, and while there are hopeful signs for recovery, a long and difficult road remains ahead for Stow and his family.

Yoshi’s reached out to Flannery, who has bridged the world of baseball and bluegrass music for decades, to put together an evening of entertainment for a good cause. A native of Kentucky, Flannery has performed bluegrass, folk, and original music for many years in the San Diego area, where he played and coached before taking a post with the Giants.

Flannery’s decision to join the benefit is typical of the outpouring of support that Stow and his family have received from Giants’ players, coaches, and fans.

“We’ve all been affected by this hate crime,” said Flannery. “We want to help and we have the entire Stow family in our prayers.”

Flannery has used his music to benefit good causes in the past, such as donating proceeds from CD sales to bring underprivileged children to baseball games. He’s mixed his talents for baseball and music throughout his career and makes a point to check out the local music scene wherever his team’s travels take him. And wherever he goes, his guitar goes too.

I go nowhere without Loretta,” said Tim. “That’s my guitar’s name. I do most of my writing during the baseball season.”

What do the Giants’ players and coaches think about their guitar-pickin’ third-base coach?

“That he’s full of passion has 11 records out and loves mountain music. Every time we play Cincinnati my brother comes down from the mountains of Kentucky with our mother’s milking jars,” Flannery chuckled.

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