Friday, July 4, 2014

HBR AMERICA SPECIAL REPORT: If AL teams were guitars.

Happy Independence Day everyone! I wanted to do something super American, so I'm doing a three-parter on baseball and guitars. Part one, published below, is a list of all the teams in the American League, and what guitars they'd be if they were guitars instead of baseball teams. Part two will be the National League, and part three will be what position famous guitarist would play if they were on a baseball team.

Here we go! (teams ordered by standing on 7/4/14)


Baltimore, Guild Starfire: A respectable guitar that produced a lot of hits, and has been in and out of style since the 60's.

Toronto, Gibson Firebird: John Gibbons is Canada's team's manager, so I figured they should be a Gibson. The Firebird would be the #1 guitar if it were made by most other companies. Over the course of the last 15 years, there's a couple of Jay's teams that could have finished first in most other divisions.

NY Yankees, Gibson Les Paul: Yup, I'm a Yankees hater AND a Gibson hater. It's the kinda guitar that rich dicks would have, and it's a team full of rich dicks. That being said, both are incredibly popular for a reason. I don't know if you can debate the fact that they have the most consistent quality of any guitar/team in history.

Boston, Fender Jazzmaster: A classic second tier/second rate guitar that became nauseatingly popular in the 00's. I'm a Sox fan and a Jazzmaster owner, but that first sentence wasn't at all difficult to write. I'm amazed at the price that people will pay to A. own a Jmaster, and B. go to a game at Fenway. In 1980, you literally couldn't give those things away. However, there is a certain coolness to Fenway, and the Jazzmaster's design that make both the guitar and the team deserving of a large chunk of their fandom.

Tampa Bay, Danelectro U2: I feel like the Rays rebranding (dropping the "Devil," changing the uniforms) is cosmically similar to Danelectros re-emergence in the market. Pastel colors and a cheap price tag, BUT surprisingly good (at times). Really, you could choose any Dano, but I picked the U2 because I feel it was the first reissue they really pushed.


Detroit, Epiphone Sheraton: Similar to the Starfire/Baltimore relationship, just a little older. You can't argue with the Tigers as a franchise, or the Sheraton.

Kansas City, Peavey Wolfgang: They were kinda good in the early 80's but that's about it, so why not hook up the Royals with Eddie Van Halen's custom guitar? Peavey came out with this crappy axe in the 90's, just when grunge and alcoholism were about to end EVH's guitar dominance. The Royals might have finally righted the ship, about a decade after America was looking to jump on the bandwagon of a bunch of perennial losers with a cool stadium.

Cleveland, Fender Mustang: Kinda retro, kinda ok... I play one of these guitars most of the time. Cool, but definitely not a top tier axe. I love 'Stang because it fits really well in the mix, though every now and then, it can jump out and take the lead. That's kinda how the Indians are in the AL Central.

Chicago Sox, Harmony Rocket: Old crappy guitar that some people like cause it's old and crappy. I get it, I think it's cool too. Harmony, for most of it's existence (both as an independent company, and when they were owned by Sears) was based in Chicago.

Minnesota, Gibson Explorer: Minnesota is full of Scandinavians, and Scandinavians like metal, (as far as I know). So let's hook them up with friggin' metal axe that's worthy of their Viking heritage.


Oakland, Epiphone Les Paul: Some Epiphone Les Pauls are as good as Gibsons at one tenth of the price. Basically, Oakland is trying to be sometimes as good as the Yankees with one tenth of the payroll. This one was a no brainer.

LA Angels, Gibson SG: Another pricey guitar for a club with a big payroll. The Angels are kinda an alternative to the Dodgers, both geographically and culturally. The SG always felt like, "Hey if you're looking for a quality instrument that's not a Strat or LP, check this our. Least fun fact of all time: SG stands for "Solid Guitar."

Seattle, Ibanez GR series: Could really be any Ibanez, since Raul Ibanez played most of his career with the Mariners. When I was a kid, I feel like Ibanez was really trying to cash in on the metal-er side of the grunge market. I think the modern GR series look the most like whatever the hell they were pushing on 13 year olds in Guitar Player in 1994.

Texas, Washburn Whatevers: Welcome to Texas. We play metal riffs on these crappy guitars. I don't know, these could be any Washburns, as long as Floyd Rose has something to do with the bridge and they look like a guitar that I would never buy.

Houston, Flying V: The Astros are cool because of the silliness of 60's space age design. The Flying V kinda fits with that motif. It seems pointless to me that mission control is in Houston (probably just LBJ playing favorites), and it seems pointless to design a guitar that is almost impossible to play sitting down. I do however, take great pleasure in knowing there were all these designers in the 50's and 60's who thought the 1980's would look exactly like the Jetsons.

Check back tomorrow morning for part II, the National League

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