April 22, 2012
The Cubs, the A's, and a Music Video
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.