BOSTON (CBS) — Thursday was supposed to be the Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park. But there is no baseball in Boston — or around the country — due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While there was no rooting for the home team, peanuts or Cracker Jacks being purchased, or out-of-tune singing of Sweet Caroline at the old ballyard, Fenway Park’s organist is keeping the music going. Josh Kantor, whose tunes always add a little extra to the ballpark experience, is keeping fans entertained in this baseball-less time.
We could all use a seventh-inning stretch right now, and Kantor is providing that and much, much more. As he does at every home game, Kantor is tickling the keys for a daily dose of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” giving folks a soundtrack to get up and stretch from the comfort of their own homes. You can catch his daily webisodes on his Facebook page, 7thinningstretch2020. from 3:00-3:30 p.m. ET.
This all started last week when MLB’s opening day came and went without baseball. A friend of Kantor’s suggested he play some tunes over a daily live stream, and after some research and a little help from his wife, Kantor was back to playing music for the masses. He’s now doing daily episodes, which are archived on Facebook for those who can’t tune in live. Each episode begins with “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” and then it’s up to the viewers where that day’s episode goes. It’s an interactive escape that includes plenty of music and some trivia, with Kantor taking requests from viewers.
“We have a lot of fun doing it and we have a lot more people watching and making requests on the live chat than we expected,” Kantor told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton on Thursday. “We realized it was not only helpful for us to have a moment each day when we could forget our stresses, but it was helpful for others. So we’re committed to do it every day.”
It’s a great break for everyone cooped up at home, whether you’re really missing the world of sports or just want to hear how your favor song sounds on an organ. Kantor is willing to give any song a shot.
“This is sort of my dumb parlor trick that I’ve been working on for decades. If I’ve heard a song before, and someone asks to hear it, I can usually conjure it up and at least maybe remember how the chorus goes and play it,” he said. “Part of the fun and adventure is that moment of uncertainty, where I’m not sure if I’ll remember it and maybe make a little mistake.
“It’s OK, we’re all human and doing the best we can, and we have to accept right now that good enough is good enough. It’s a little like a tight-rope act from time to time,” he joked. “Am I going to fall or am I going to make it across?”
Kantor has been the organist at Fenway Park since 2003. He loves to hear from fans on social media during games, and even stops to chat with folks after games.
“I cannot wait for that kind of normalcy to resume,” he said. “When we can all be back at Fenway and I can be chatting with people.”
There’s no word on when that day will come, but until then, Kantor will be providing a little bit of the America’s pastime every day.