Schneider takes his songs out to the ballgames

July 28, 1991|By Tara Finnegan

For Bob Schneider, the songs remain the same.

He is never at a loss for words, or notes, when it comes to baseball.

"I have always been a huge baseball fan," Schneider said. "I can't imagine writing 14 songs about any other sport."

When he is not yodeling about the Yankees, his former favorite team, Schneider is a children's entertainer in Toronto and has recorded five albums, with the most recent being "Playing Baseball."

Schneider, who is the son of a Yankees-fan father and a [then-New York] Giants-fan mother, turned in his Yankees loyalty to become a Blue Jays fan about five years ago.

His ballpark shows feature baseball ditties about third-base coaches to batboys to Hall of Famers.

And it doesn't matter where he serenades.

The 45-year-old Bronx native has sung at Class AAA ballparks throughout North America. Schneider and his backup singers, the Rainbow Kids, who are chosen from each of the city where he performs, recently performed for the Syracuse Chiefs [Toronto Blue Jays farm team] and the Rochester Red Wings.

His only major-league performance was at Shea Stadium in front of about 30,000 on Father's Day.

In short he has covered all the bases.

"The baseball thing leaves an impact," Schneider said about his songs. "They are becoming absolute favorites."

In the tune "De Ump," one child is chosen to play a mean, intimidating umpire who calls "Stee-rike" in a deep, guttural voice while the other children sing.

Another song, "Baseball Hall of Fame," which Schneider said is a favorite among players and managers, is a tribute to our national pastime greats.

The tune "Third Base Coaches' Dance" describes the idiosyncratic gestures of third-base coaches as they fastidiously wipe their shirts and tug their caps. And not one facet of the sport is left out as Schneider salutes the major-league mascots with "B.J. Birdy Boogie" [the Oriole Bird is featured in this one]. "All these characters . . . make it easy to write about," Schneider said. "The ballpark shows are better than I could have dreamed."

Schneider said most of his songs are generic in nature so they can be sung anywhere. But he says he will substitute names of players and change some words to localize the song. For example, he will improvise parts of "Love My Baseball" to "Love My Orioles." Schneider and his tour are scheduled to return to Toronto where he will perform 25 shows before traveling to Nashville and Columbus, Ohio.

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