Bonnie Raitt And Stoking The Beepball Fire

by Kevin Burton

   I’ve always turned to Bonnie Raitt to raise the temperature in all things beep baseball. Boy do I ever need the help just now.

   I mentioned last month on Page 7 that some friends invited me to join the new USA Legends beepball team (“Let’s Hear It For Geezer Beepball,” May 8).  So, God willing, I’ll be playing one last World Series this year in Wichita.

   After five years out of the game and with extremely challenging family issues to deal with, plus the quarantine safety issues we all face, it hasn’t been easy to get back in the groove. In the old days I could turn to Bonnie Raitt for help.

   For the explanation for what in the world Bonnie Raitt has to do with beep baseball, I go all the way back to my early years with the Columbus Vipers. 

   To psyche myself up for competition I used to blast multiple rock and roll songs. I did this before getting to the field. I must have had a dozen of them. Played them back to back to back to excess. 

   That got the juices flowing all right. But then I would get to the field, spent.  I would be flat. That wouldn’t do.

   Then I determined I would pick one song and would wait until just before game time to play it loud and proud.

   The song that I chose, improbably, was “Shake A Little” by Bonnie Raitt from her Road Tested album. 

   So I smiled this week when I stumbled upon Bob Gersztyn did a good job ranking his top ten Bonnie Raitt songs. 

  He had “Have A Heart,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Something To Talk About,” “Angel From Montgomery,” “Nick of Time” and “Thing Called Love,” all on his list.  Pretty good list, I’m not in the mood to quibble with it.

   But “Shake A Little” will always be the most special to me.  I’m not even sure it’s my favorite. The beepball connection puts in it in a whole other category. I’ll just call it most special. 

   Four notes into the introduction I am already gone, back to that gameday place. There is no feeling like it and no mistaking it.

    I couldn’t have any old let’s-go screamer as my mental warm-up song. There had to be some depth behind the lyrics.

   I don’t even have a full handle on the story behind the song.  But lyrics like “Everybody feels the water rising, you could go under or enjoy the ride,” say it all for me.

   In other words, the pressure of gameday is there and applies equally to all. Will you go under or rise to the occasion? 

   When Raitt sings, “I can’t wait another minute baby, do the things that we’ve never done,” I guess that could relate to the Vipers vanquishing one of the truly bog boys of beep baseball. 

   And the chorus, “Shake a little for me baby. Take me to the water when my well runs dry. Shake a little for me baby. Just a little now, just a little noooow.”

   And for four minutes or so before the first game of the day I would bust a move next to my little tape player. From there to the team huddle, from there to the field of battle.

   After a while my Columbus team mates picked up on it and adopted the song too.

   I haven’t done the song justice, picking it apart this way. But it was rocket fuel for me back in the day. I hope it still works for an old beepballer.

   It will take more than a song to get me ready to make a contribution to the Legends, but it’s a good starting point. 

   The time of me as a 24/7 beep baseball guy has come and gone.  But I am looking to honor the game and help my team mates with my performance at the series.  Looking to shake a little, one last time. 

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