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Off the Diamond, Baseball Players Carry a Tune

We measure greatness in baseball by the numbers: home runs, strikeouts, stolen bases. But how about ability to carry a tune? A new CD showcases Major League Baseball players singing. Some also play drums, banjo or guitar.

San Diego Padres pitcher Scott Linebrink, one of the performers on Oh Say Can You Sing?, says he and some fellow players practice their music in the back of the clubhouse between batting practice and games. Linebrink also brings his guitar on the road.

"It's good just to sit in a hotel room with some of the guys and just kind of unwind from the game," he says. "It's a great stress reliever."

Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith says he recorded "Cupid" because it was familiar. He remembers hearing it around the house growing up. "My Mom was a big Sam Cooke fan... so 'Cupid' was a song that I was pretty familiar with and it brought back a lot of pleasant memories…"

For those who might wonder whether the players got any technical help so they could sound good on the recording, producer Scott Schorr says: "There was very little change on the voice. Of course, we added reverb. But no, [these] are their real skills."

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.