An emerging staple of the Major League Baseball landscape over the last few years has been the walk up music batters select to be played as they make their way to the plate. Matt Carpenter happens to favor a song called “Long Hot Summer Day” that appears on the Turnpike Troubadour’s 2010 album Diamonds & Gasoline. The song was originally written and performed by country legend and father of Newgrass, John Hartford.
When Matt Carpenter made an appearance in the All-Star Game earlier this year, social network channels erupted with chatter from Turnpike Troubadours fans elated that “Long Hot Summer Day” had found its way onto primetime television. Now it will be showcased on baseball’s biggest stage during Cardinals home games.
Turnpike Troubadour fiddler and St. Louis Cardinals fan Kyle Nix says the exposure has really helped the band out. “Regionally in Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and in Kansas and stuff like that, it seems to have blown up our fan base really big,” says Nix. “You’ll see it on Twitter quite a bit.”
Kyle Nix says the band didn’t initially plan to record “Long Hot Summer Day,” but after seeing how it was received live, it made it onto their second record. “Evan [Felker] was listening to a lot of John Hartford, and I was listening to a lot of bluegrass stuff, and we lived in the same house here in Stillwater at the time. I was just kind of a neat little song. It was cool the way Hartford did it, just by himself, tapping his foot, playing the fiddle. And we figured it might be cool to put a whole band behind a song like that.”
Matt Carpenter isn’t just a fan of “Long Hot Summer Day,” he’s been a solid fan of the Turnpike Troubadours for a few years, attending shows in McKinney, TX, and College Station, TX. Carpenter’s wife is from College Station, and Carpenter was born in Galveston. While in St. Louis recently for a Cardinals game, Kyle Nix was invited down on the field by the ball player.
“Got to meet him, got to watch batting practice, met some great people in the clubhouse,” Nix says. It was a really cool experience. Kind of a surreal thing. It’s you’re favorite team and you’re down on the field. And he was such a nice guy. He talked to us for a long time. Just a really humble guy, and a hell of a ball player too. I’ve been a Cardinals fan ever since I was a kid because of Ozzie Smith. I used to love to watch Ozzie Smith because of the flips and all that stuff. Then of course when Mark McGuire got on the team and hit all the home runs. I played baseball growing up , and the closest thing you have in Oklahoma is the Cardinals.”
Does Kyle Nix have a prediction for the World Series?
“I have a want. I think it was ’04 that the Red Sox actually swept the Cards in the World Series. I would really like the Cards to sweep the series just to pay them back for it, that’d be great. I’m not going to predict that, but I’d like to say the Cards in 6 games. I think they’ll do good. I think they’ll take it, but don’t hold me to that. I just hope.”
But no matter the outcome, the 2013 World Series will be a win for the Turnpike Troubadours.