In today’s episode of Baseball Related Songs, we pay attention to 31 Seasons in the Minor Leagues, performed by Jason Molina’s band Magnolia Electric Co.
The song comes from the EP “Hard to Love a Man.” Magnolia Electric Co. is the successor of the band Songs: Ohia of which Jason Molina also was the lead singer.
Songs:Ohia was merely a slow core alternate country project in which Molina performed solo at times but also played with rotating musicians.
Eventually, his music evolved into Indy Rock with a strong influence of country music: Magnolia Electric Co.
Born in 1973, Molina started to play guitar at the age of ten. He attended Oberlin College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1996. After playing bass guitar in various heavy metal bands in and around Cleveland, Molina became a solo artist under an assumed band name, recruiting other musicians for each project as needed, the aforementioned Songs:Ohia.
After Songs:Ohia, Molina formed the band Magnolia Electric Co. The band existed from 2003 through 2009. During the duration of Magnolia Electric Co, Molina was already bothered by alcoholism, something not many knew, even his close friends did not know about it. After a European tour, that was planned for November and December, was canceled three days before it would start, a short note on the website of the band stated that the European tour was canceled due to health problems. Also, the US part of the tour was canceled for the same reasons. In fact it was the end of Magnolia Electric Co. and Molina’s public appearances.
On May 5, 2012, a post titled “a note from Jason” was posted on the Magnolia Electric Co. website, explaining certain aspects of his situation for the first time, saying that it had been “a long hospital year”, Molina expressed gratitude and appreciation for the monetary and emotional support he had received from fans and friends. He gave a brief update on his condition, saying, “Treatment is good, getting to deal with a lot of things that even the music didn’t want to. I have not given up because you, my friends have not given up on me.” The note concludes optimistically, saying that there were a few music projects on the “distant radar screen.” (source Wikipedia)
Eventually, Molina died on March 13 at the age of 39 due to his alcoholism. Dutch newspaper NRC had the following headline after his death: “Musician Jason Molina died Saturday, drowned in alcohol.”
The song 31 Seasons in the Minor Leagues is rather depressing. It tells the story of a career minor leaguer whose career is deteriorating. Archivedinnings.com stated the following: When I first saw the title to this song, I immediately thought of Crash Davis in Bull Durham, also a career minor leaguer who, except for a short stint in the show, never made it out of the minors. The melody and the lyrics are all pretty depressing, but I suppose Crash’s situation as a whole is pretty depressing too. Had this song existed twenty years earlier, I have no doubt it would have been included in the Bull Durham soundtrack.
Despite the depressing atmosphere of the song, it is one of those little gems.
The lyrics of 31 Seasons in the Minors are as follows:
I can tell by that look some of you don’t understand
And I can’t see how any of you can
When the dark walks up to you
You gotta shake his hand
You ain’t ever gonna win the game
Hell kid you don’t even know the coach’s name
And everything you ever looked up to
Now it’s all looking down on you
Trying to see if you can get back up
Out of that hole you climbed into
But they’re not expecting much
Cause you got so far down
You got so far down
Well you’re right, cause I had to take a look around
See the way they’re talking
There ain’t nothing here but good
All I had to do was take a swing
I’d hit that thing
But I’ve been in long enough to know when it’s no good
I’ve been in long enough to know when it’s no good
I’ve been in long enough to know I ain’t even getting close
I ain’t even getting close