Baseball Releated Songs: “Cooperstown” by The Felice Brothers

In today’s episode of Baseball Related Songs, we pay attention to another little gem of a song: Cooperstown by The Felice Brothers.

The Felice Brothers got a somewhat unusual start as they played in the Subway in NewYork City. Living in an apartment in Brooklyn, they would play at 42nd Street and Union Square and in Greenwich Village. Originally, the three brothers came from Palenville, New York.

In 2006, the band released their debut album Through These Reins and Gone all by itself. The next year they released their second album Tonight At the Arizona through the British independent record label Loose.

2008 was a breakthrough year for the band as they signed a record deal with Team Love Records in the USA, toured intensively to promote their new album and played at several festivals. In August of 2008, the band performed at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. Due to torrential rains, high winds, and lightning storms, power was cut to the entire Newport, Rhode Island area. As the stage the band was performing on had no generators, the band performed unplugged for over an hour.

The relationship of the song “Cooperstown” is not hard to guess although some of the lyrics are rather mysterious. Take The water’s wide, It’s deep and wide, It’s down a long and windy road, And everyone knows that a boy can’t swim it for example. Yours truyly thinks it is a metaphor for reaching the Hall of Fame is hard. It is given to only a “few.”

Andy Whitman stated on his blog andywhitman.blogspot.com: “Any time you can mix ghosts, baseball, and Bob Dylan into the same song, you’re doing all right. It’s hazy and indistinct, propelled by accordion wheezes and guitar strums, and those snarling Dylan words that are, impossibly, written and sung by somebody named Ian Felice. And like a lot of the songs that Dylan sings, it communicates a great deal without making a lot of literal sense.”

The raw voice of lead singer Ian Felice makes this song easy to enjoy.

Even though the title of the song is Cooperstown, the song itself is about Ty Cobb, who debuted in 1905, the year that is mentioned in the song.

Ty Cobb - Wikipedia

Also the lyrics “And all the wolves are all between” are pretty mysterious. But that part can be explained as those who hated Cobb for being a mean player. Ty Cobb had a reputation for sharpening his spikes to hurt his opponents. After his career he was also blamed for being a racist but all these allegations have never been proven.



The lyrics of Cooperstown are as follows:

The water’s wide
It’s deep and wide
It’s down a long and windy road
And everyone knows that a boy can’t swim it


In Narrow’s Church
The white walled church
They’re singing that gospel song
“Bye and Bye, I will see my King”

The clouds will break
And the pews shake
And the choir softly cries
And it’s Georgia in the spring of 1905


Ty Cobb
You’re dead and gone
You had a game like a war machine
And through the great
Hall of Fame you wander
In Tigers Field
A girl in heels

She had a face like a magazine
And through the long metal stands she wandered


The ball soared
The crowd roared
The scoreboard sweetly hummed
And tomorrow you’ll surely know whose won


I’m on First
And you’re on Third
And all the wolves are all between
And everyone’s sure that the game is over


The catcher’s hard
He’s mean mean and hard
And he nips at the batter’s heels
And everyone’s sure that the game is over


The ball soars
And the crowd roars
And the scoreboard sweetly hums
And tomorrow you’ll surely know whose won


The water’s wide
It’s deep and wide
It’s a down a long and windy road
And everyone knows that a boy can’t swim it


The clouds break
And the pews shake
And the preacher’s feet do pound
As the rain beats the streets of Cooperstown


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