The new world of quarantines and business closures have left us missing a lot of things, today we can add baseball. Thursday was supposed to be the home opener at Fenway Park, where Josh Kantor has played the organ for the last 17 years. He's entertaining fans a different way now, from his living room instead of the park but not without an organ.
He spoke to Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu, and said he would typically be meditating to prepare for Opening Day "trying to visualize how the day is going to go and maybe start thinking about ideas of songs I might play."
"I get to soak in the beauty of Fenway Park."
Once Major League Baseball suspended the season and Kantor says, "I realized I was really missing baseball and really missing getting to do that job. And I could see just from online communications that a lot of other people were also missing baseball and were keenly aware. It felt like there was a void, that it wasn't there in conjunction with the arrival of spring."
But with that void came an idea, one we've all turned to in this time of social distancing.
"A friend I've known for a very, very long time said you should do a livestream and play some songs. I had never even attempted a livestream before," Kantor said. And the response was more than he expected.
"I figured one or two people would pop in and make a request and I would play for ten minutes. And instead, we got roughly one hundred song requests. I realized at that point how much I had missed it and how much I kind of needed it."
Kantor calls it 'The 7th Inning Stretch' to encourage people to stop and stretch it out. He thinks it's something we need right now. "You stand up and stretch and maybe sing along with some of the songs"
And when it's pointed out that he is providing a service that is much needed at this time, he stays humble in his response. "I would say they're helping me get through my day more so than the other way around."
Kantor does keep in one constant, a familiar song. "I've been asked to play that song at weddings and funerals. I recorded a version of it once that got put into a snow globe."
The song?" Take Me Out To The Ballgame," of course.
"I guess it's my Stairway to Heaven."