Casey: Closer's song remains the same
On March 13, the latest Dropkick Murphys album comes out: "Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition."
But bassist and lead singer Ken Casey has something else on his mind. He's traveling to Clearwater, Fla., to meet with his pal and new Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon, of course, spent the past half-decade finishing games for Casey's favorite team. Each time he stormed out of the Boston Red Sox bullpen, the Dropkick Murphys' "Shipping Up To Boston" roared over the Fenway speakers.
So Item 1 on the agenda for Clearwater is ironing out Papelbon's role as spokesman for the Philadelphia branch of The Claddagh Fund, a charity Casey founded to support community-based non-profits.
Item 2 is figuring out the intense closer's new walkout anthem.
"He can't use 'Shipping Up To Boston,'" Casey said. "That's a Boston song. One of the Philadelphia radio guys suggested 'Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya.'"
"And I have to get with the new Sox closer [Andrew Bailey] to let him know he can use 'Shipping Up To Boston,'" Casey adds. "That's not Pap's song. That's the closer's song."
Casey and his bandmates have a long history with the Sox and the rest of the Boston sports community. Their song "Tessie" has been used as a Sox anthem since 2004. Another song, "The Warrior's Code," celebrates the life of boxer Micky Ward, and Boston royalty Bobby Orr appears in the music video for "Going Out In Style."
Casey flew with the Bruins to Vancouver for their Stanley Cup-clinching win last year, even getting the chance to hold the Cup on the ice. But that story has nothing on his tale from the 2004 World Series when he snuck onto the field in St. Louis following Boston's curse-breaking win.
"I tried to steal the pitcher's mound," he said. "I was pulling on it, but it wouldn't come up. So I grabbed a bunch of dirt. I still have it if you want me to pinch you off a little."
That is true fandom.
The "Live from Fenway" album includes a video download of the sold-out concerts at Fenway, recorded in September of last year.
With that experience behind them, would Casey consider playing any other ballparks, like, say, Yankee Stadium?
"No," he says adamantly. Then he thinks for a moment.
"The only way we'd play Yankee Stadium is if the Yankees grossly overpaid us."
We all know they just might.