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April 22, 2012

Wezen-Ball

The Cubs, the A's, and a Music Video

by Larry Granillo

It was 1992. The Oakland A's, behind Tony La Russa, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, and the Bash Brothers, were only a year removed from a three-year run in the World Series. The Cubs, meanwhile, had been to the playoffs once in eight years, and Greg Maddux was only just beginning his stretch as the greatest pitcher alive. Away from sports, Garth Brooks had friends in low places, Pearl Jam was destroying the charts, and Uncle Jesse was breaking little girls' hearts all over the world. Not to be forgotten, Chicago Cubs fan Richard Marx was dreaming of a World Series win for the North Siders.

From this early-'90s potpurri, a music video was born. No, it wasn't "Jeremy" or even that silly Beach Boys video that had Uncle Jesse up on stage drumming. Not even close.

It was "Take This Heart," a single off of Marx's "Rush Street" album. And if you think 1992 Richard Marx was going to make a music video and not include his dreams of winning the World Series for the Cubs, you're crazy! For this epic, in-no-way-cursing-his-favorite-ballclub video, Marx went all out.

As the action begins, we see an overhead shot of (presumably) the Oakland Coliseum at night. Bob Uecker is narrating the action, setting the scene: Game Seven of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, and Richard Marx, looking awfully silly in a Cubs uniform, is being called out to hit against Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley. Interior shots of the stadium are supposed to make us feel like we're in a 1992 major-league ballpark (it's most likely a scene ripped directly from the movie Major League), though the backdrop behind Marx as he steps to the plate looks even sillier than Marx himself. Eckersley lets loose and Marx swings right through the pitch. Strike one!

And, yes, this is still a music video.

The scene cuts away to what we get to watch for most of the video: Richard Marx and his band rocking out to a love song—"Ain't nothing gonna take this heart away!"—on the infield of the Oakland Coliseum. We later get a scene of Marx and his cronies screwing up in spring training before being taken back to the action. Will Marx get that hit off Eckersley to win the World Series? Greg Maddux, who is watching from the dugout, is rooting for him. Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Tony La Russa all show up on the field, in archived shots ripped straight from the actual World Series.

The love song continues.

Finally, Marx is down to his last strike. Maddux looks disgusted. Eck stares at the camera and rears back one more time. Marx swings, and the ball is driven to the wall. Someone wearing an A's jersey (Dann Howitt, apparently) races back to the wall and leaps (Rickey, in more archived footage, races back as well). It's a home run! Richard Marx has just won the World Series for the Chicago Cubs! The crowd goes wild! Uecker can't contain his excitement.

And then Richard Marx wakes up, only minutes away from beginning a concert. It was only a dream. Poor Richard Marx. Poor Cubs fans. Poor Greg Maddux and Dennis Eckersley, who appear to have actually been filmed at Phoenix Municipal Stadium expressly for the music video. Poor Major League Baseball.

I know, I know. You don't believe this video exists, despite my many pleas to the contrary. How could it? But it did, and it does. Watch it and enjoy below. In the meantime, let's devote all our energy to getting Eddie Vedder and Garth Brooks, two noted baseball fans, together to create the sequel. They could even get Uncle Jesse to play drums!

Thanks to the Terrific Girlfriend for finding such an important and amazing piece of baseball history.

9 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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monkey

Do they really need 5 guitarists?

Why do both teams have home jerseys on?

Why is Bob Uecker here?

I think this video needs a follow up video to explain these questions in more detail

Apr 22, 2012 08:29 AM
rating: 2
 
Ken Arneson

Oh, orange-seated Oakland Coliseum, how I don't miss you. But on the other hand, oh, pre-Mount-Davis bleachers, how I do miss you so.

Apr 22, 2012 10:59 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Larry Granillo
BP staff

I had no idea Oakland Coliseum used to be orange. Was having trouble figuring out what stadium he was at until I saw that. I knew it looked really different before Mt Davis, but didn't think they'd replace all 60,000 seats...

Apr 22, 2012 18:34 PM
 
lmarighi

My memories of the orange seats are almost all from the Oakland Library's summer reading program. All you had to do was read like 6 or 7 books (over the whole summer! Not hard for a near-sighted kid who loved books), and you got a voucher for up to 4 $1 Upper Reserved seats. All my other game memories from those days are of sitting in the bleachers (back when they were still bleacher seats, obviously).

Apr 23, 2012 09:41 AM
rating: 0
 
monkey

Are there not still bleacher benches in the outfield? I could have sworn that the outfield is just benches and the monstrosity that is MT DAVIS

Apr 23, 2012 20:30 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Doug Thorburn
BP staff

Am I the only one that thought "Dukes of Hazzard" with the Uncle Jesse reference?

Thought process: "Wait, that was an 80's show, and why would little girls have their hearts broken by an old man in coveralls?"

Then the other shoe dropped.

"oh right - Full House, quasi-mullet, Stamos. THAT uncle Jesse."


...and now for something completely different.

Apr 22, 2012 18:32 PM
 
trueblue33

Eck was probably intimidated by Marx....it was the first time he'd ever faced somebody with more hair than him.

I'm still wondering just how the Cubs get home field advantage in Oakland in Richard Marx's fantasy world.

Apr 23, 2012 07:23 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Larry Granillo
BP staff

You're not the only one wondering this, so I should probably explain...

It is the bottom of the 9th and the Cubs have home-field advantage. It's not Wrigley Field, obviously, but it's also not technically the Oakland Coliseum.

There are 4 stadiums at play here (maybe 5):
* The blimp shot at the beginning is Cleveland Municipal Stadium (I'm told from people who would recognize it. I believe it. It's definitely not an overhead shot of Oakland - too little foul ground).
* The early crowd cheering shot (from down the first base line) I'm pretty sure is taken from Major League, which would make it Milwaukee County Stadium.
* The scenes with Marx, Eckersley, Howitt and (presumably) Maddux were filmed at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Note the white 410 sign and the horrible batter's eye with vertical stripes. That horrible batter's eye is still there, though the wall lettering looks different: http://www.ballparkreviews.com/phoenix/municipal5.JPG
* When the footage cuts to Rickey racing back to the wall, you can see the Coliseum's wall (yellow lettering, Catfish Hunter's retired jersey). Further evidence that Rickey, Canseco, etc are just archival footage. The Coliseum is also where Marx and his band spend the video rocking out.
* There's a shot or two of a crowd of Cubs fans (you can see them at 4:36). I can't quite tell if they're from a different stadium (ie, the shot was taken from yet another movie), but I'm thinking probably not.

Further, both clubs are wearing home uniforms, so that doesn't help. Uecker tells us the home run wins the game, though, so I'm happy to go with that. Everything else, I guess we can chalk up to Marx's dream!

Apr 23, 2012 07:52 AM
 
Shaun P.
(676)

I remember seeing this video back in 1992, and that just killed it for me. "That's not Wrigley! Why is Eck in his home uniform?" Etc.

Larry, if I had known you hadn't known about this video, I could have sent you a copy; pretty sure I have it on an old VHS tape somewhere . . .

You have seen the video for Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard", with Mickey Mantle hitting a stickball home run, yes?

Apr 23, 2012 08:07 AM
rating: 0
 
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