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- Posted on Aug 17th 2007 5:00PM by Gaylord Fields
In the eight-and-a-half-minute song suite, written by Jim Steinman and appearing on Meat Loaf's grandiose, megamillion-selling 1977 rock opera 'Bat out of Hell,' Meat sings a duet with his lady in which the couple reminisce about and then re-enact their "first time," specifically his furtive teenage attempt to "score" with her. The setting for their potential mutual loss of virginity is a parked auto in which a baseball game plays on the car radio, simultaneously and cleverly commenting on the action in the back seat as well as the play on the field. For the recording, Meat Loaf and Steinman were inspired to ask Rizzuto to provide the double-entendre play-by-play section of 'Paradise,' as they were huge fans of his unusual broadcast style. The former Yankees player and broadcast legend -- keenly familiar with the linguistic concept of scoring in the baseball sense, if not necessarily in the bedroom one -- accepted the job.
Employing and elaborating on the well-established "first base, second base" sexual metaphor, Steinman and Loaf devised a script for the Scooter that was loaded with sly innuendo such as "He's rounding first and really turning it on now; he's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for second" and "He's gonna slide in head first!" When the song became the cornerstone of 'Bat out of Hell' as well as an FM radio staple, word eventually got to the charmingly scatterbrained Rizzuto that the baseball commentary he provided for the song's bridge wasn't necessarily about baseball. As a practicing Catholic, he was reported to have been embarrassed about his bawdy contribution to rock history and equally concerned that it would tarnish his clean-cut image with fans.
However, Meat Loaf has claimed that Rizzuto was more savvy than he had let on. "Phil was no dummy -- he knew exactly what was going on, and he told me such," the rotund rocker said. "He was just getting some heat from a priest and felt like he had to do something. I totally understood. But I believe Phil was proud of that song and his participation." Whether Rizzuto was in on the concept or not is ultimately immaterial. What does matter is that his performance, in a just world, would qualify the Baseball Hall of Famer for induction to two other halls of fame -- those for broadcasting and rock 'n' roll.