Elope with me, Miss Private, and we'll sail around the world
I will be your Ferdinand and you my wayward girl
How many nights of talking in hotel rooms can you take?
How many nights of limping around on pagan holidays?
Oh, elope with me in private and we'll set something ablaze
A trail for the devil to erase

San Francisco's calling us, the Giants and Mets will play
Piazza, New York catcher, are you straight or are you gay?
We hung about the stadium, we've got no place to stay
We hung about the Tenderloin and tenderly you tell
About the saddest book you ever read, it always makes you cry
The statue's crying too and well he may

I love you, I've a drowning grip on your adoring face
I love you, my responsibility has found a place
Beside you and strong warnings in the guise of gentle words
Come wave upon me from the family wider net absurd
"You'll take care of her, I know it, you will do a better job"
Maybe, but not what she deserves

Elope with me, Miss Private, and we'll drink ourselves awake
We'll taste the coffee houses and award certificates
A privy seal to keep the feel of 1960s style
We'll comment on the decor and we'll help the passer by
And at dusk when work is over we'll continue the debate
In a borrowed bedroom virginal and spare

The catcher hits for .318 and catches every day
The pitcher puts religion first and rests on holidays
He goes into cathedrals and lies prostrate on the floor
He knows the drink affects his speed, he's praying for a doorway
Back into the life he wants and the confession of the bench
Life outside the diamond is a wrench

I wish that you were here with me to pass the dull weekend
I know it wouldn't come to love, my heroine pretend
A lady stepping from the songs we love until this day
You'd settle for an epitaph like "Walk Away, Renee"
The sun upon the roof in winter will draw you out like a flower
Meet you at the statue in an hour
Meet you at the statue in an hour


Lyrics submitted by ReActor, edited by CaptainOAP, alice144, seanjgaw, Mellow_Harsher, stormville

Piazza, New York Catcher song meanings
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  • +12
    General CommentMike Piazza is a catcher for the New York Mets. New York papers suggested that he was gay, causing him to have a press conference announcing that he wasn't. His career batting average is .319, but I suppose it may have been .318 when the song was written. The pitcher is probably Sandy Koufax, one of the greatest southpaws of all time, who refused to pitch on Yum Kippur. The Giants would be the San Francisco Giants, the statue is probably the giant Willie Mays statue in front of SBC Park. Mays is regarded by many as the greatest living ballplayer.
    five_to_oneon October 10, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General CommentWhile the song references baseball, its clearly not about baseball. The pitcher refered to is unlikely to be Sandy Koufax, though the stories of him not pitching on holy days may have inspired the reference. My guess is that its no one in particular.

    Although I doubt this is the case, I do wonder if the Pitcher/Catcher segment is meant to drawn upon the use of those terms in reference to gay relationships. The Pitcher could be someone who is reluctant to accept his sexuality. The song itself isn't quite specifically about a heterosexual relationship and the setting in San Francisco could be a hint, too. I think I'm stretching this, but you never know.
    BStuon March 19, 2006   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationI think many people have correct interpretations, especially pertaining to the baseball and homosexual references. I do, however, think many people are missing the mark.

    The male in this song is obviously gay. I think many people are overlooking the female's sexuality. For starters, he calls her his "wayward girl". While this can have several meanings, especially as they pertain to sailing across the world, I believe it is also a reference to her ambiguous, perhaps bisexuality. She's wayward in the sense that she can't make up her mind, or rather that she is attracted to both sexes.

    Further, he calls her Miss Private. From this we know she isn't married, but also that some part of her life is kept secret to some extent- her sexuality. Now look at the third stanza. Her family, in a friendly yet assertive manner, is telling the male that he will be good for her. Perhaps they know about her sexuality- he will be better for her than another female. What's really important in this stanza, however, is the last line: "Maybe, but not what she deserves." He realizes that he may care for her well, but in reality she deserves someone that can truly love her, and someone that she can truly love as well. He can't give her this.

    On a different note, look at the very first stanza. "How many nights of talking in hotel rooms can you take?" They've eloped; they're supposed to be madly in love, yet they are simply talking in the hotel room. I think this is a reference to the "pretend" nature of their relationship, in that, while they may care for each other, neither is in it for love.

    This is further explained in the last line in the fourth stanza, where the bedroom they share is "virginal". Lastly, look at the spelling of "heroine". He is not referring to the drug, which is spelled "heroin", but rather an important, courageous woman: "heroine". More importantly, she is his "heroine pretend", meaning that she is not the love of his life, the woman who has captured his attention, but rather simply a cover-up of sorts.

    At first I thought this song was about love. Now I believe this song is about a relationship between two individuals, neither heterosexual, who are about to enter into a phony romantic relationship. They still may care for each other and be friends, but they are not truly in love.
    thoughts3on March 02, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI'm pretty sure five_to_one nailed it on the head when he said the statue they speak of is probably that of Willy Mays, outside the San Francisco Giants stadium. It not only fits the setting of the song, but the band hints at it with a clever turn of phrase when they speak of the statue in the second verse,

    'We hung about the tenderloin and tenderly you tell, About the saddest ending of a book you ever read, It always makes you cry, The statue's crying too and well he may.'

    The way that Stuart sings that very last line he pulls those last three words, 'well he may' in together very tightly, making the phrase sound very much like the name Willy Mays. It's fairly subtle wordplay but exactly the sort of thing that makes Belle and Sebastian lyrics so much fun to listen to.
    westbeach_21on February 03, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"outside the daimond" refers to life outside of baseball. Yes "the diamond" actually makes up maybe 1/4 the playing field, but often that term is used as a euphamism for the enire field of play. Like "the gridiron" in American football, or whatever corresponding term in everyone else's football. It's the baseball manager who is often referred to as being "on the bench." I'd imagine this verse refers to a retired player who's life is empty after leaving baseball (since leaving "the diamond"), so he longs to come back as a manager (return to the bench).

    Also, I agree that the pitcher, while maybe inspired by Sandy Koufax, is just a random character. I also think in the song's PRIMARY meaning (not discounting that it might have a layered meaning or have other little thoughts invoked), baseball just provides the setting. Whether or not Mike Piazza is gay is just something two carefree lovers discuss to pass the time on a cool summer evening. Later on, in their hotel room, they "continue the debate" over Piazza's sexuality...just for something to do during their honeymoon.

    My interpretation is that baseball is something of a red herring - a distraction. I find the most meaning in the line "you'll take care of her, I know it...not what she deserves." Stuart knows he can't provide for this girl, as the family he wishes to take her away from; but she deserves someone who can make her happy as well. The baseball game is an enjoyable distraction. Discussing Piazza's sexuality is a distraction. It's an avoidance of the reality of life. The pitcher in the song has made baseball his life. When he leaves baseball he doesn't know how to live and can't manage, so he longs to return to baseball. Sure, elope to San Francisco, but what about after the honeymoon?

    How brilliant! Just as Stuart's lovers are distracted from the realities of life by baseball, the listener is distracted from the realities of the lyric's meaning by a barage of references to baseball. But that's just my take.
    ZinbobDanon May 02, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt certainly refers to both. Ferdinand and Miranda in the "O Brave New World" I-will-enlighten-and-awaken-you sense, and the Ferdinand Magellan in the "circumnavigate the world" sense.

    This is certainly the cleverest song on DCW.
    pkjunon March 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentActually, I'm with you BStu, I think at one level this song could be a commentary on sexual orientation in general. I know all of these are a stretch, but . . .

    "Oh elope with me in private and we'll set something ablaze / A trail for the devil to erase"

    The words "in private" are highly reminiscent of the argument that a government has no right to legislate what people do in private in regard to sodomy laws.

    "Ablaze" for some reason reminds me of "flamer" referring to blatantly gay men.

    "A trail for the devil to erase" also seems to bring up the accusations of some christians that homosexuality is sin.

    "San Fransisco's calling us the Giants and Mets will play / Piazza new york Catcher are you straight or are you gay?"

    These references are pretty obvious: San Fransisco and questioning one's sexuality.

    "We'll comment on the decor and we'll help the passer by / And at dusk when work is over we'll continue the debate / In a borrowed bedroom virginal and spare"

    "We'll comment on the decor and we'll help the passer by" seems to refer to stereotypes of gay men, especially television shows in which gay men do help somewhat random people with decor and fasion.

    "we'll continue the debate" seems to refer to the debate over gay rights, or possibly the debate over whether one in a homosexual couple should come out, perhaps as BStu has said about the pitcher/catcher metaphor.

    Now bear with me, but in addition to its literal meaning, "a borrowed bedroom virginal and spare" may refer to sexuality, though this is very shaky, I know.

    "The catcher hits for .318 and catches every day / The pitcher puts religion first and rests on holidays"

    Oh, this passage! The pitcher and catcher metaphor as it relates to sexuality comes to mind, but also, "The pitcher puts religion first and rests on holidays" seems not only to refer to a baseball player (whomever you say that player is) but also seems to refer to the apprehension of some homosexuals for whom religion is a large part of their lives.

    "I wish that you were here with me to pass the dull weekend / I know it wouldn't come to love my heroine pretend"

    This is also shaky, but "my heroine pretend" may refer to a gay lover, as some would say that he takes the place of a woman in a sexual relationship, though I personally disagree with this idea.

    Anyway, there is textual evidence for this, but I may be over-analyzing this. However, most of Belle and Sebastian's songs have many many layers of meaning, so it is not unlikely that this is a song about a young couple, baseball, and homosexuality, and numerous other subjects. I think perhaps I'm inclined to like this interpretation because I'm gay myself, but it has some merit nonetheless.
    Speed Is Dreamingon April 01, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSpeed_Is_Dreaming makes a lot of good points. Also I agree that the "will he may" is a deliberate reference to "Willie Mays".

    Upon first hearing this song, I thought it was fun and sweet, but further listening I think it's about complicated feelings of identity and self worth, and the inability to love until identity is accepted and established. Bear with me here.

    The line which sums this up for me is "Life outside the diamond is a wrench." The diamond has two meanings, the baseball diamond, and an engagement ring, which symbolizes clear, proud, and mutual love. The "wrench" is acute emotional distress.

    The baseball player mentioned experience a lot of pain off the field due to their homosexuality (Piazza) and race (Mays).

    Regarding the engagement ring, homosexual athletes probably feels they can't openly proclaim their love and wear rings. The narrator can't (for whatever reason) give one to Miss Private, though he desperately longs to.

    I think Miss Private is a woman. The narrator feels that she doesn't return his love and so doesn't discuss it with her, and thus can relate to ball players who suppress their feelings.

    I think she does return his feelings. She, after all, has an "adoring face." But, because he thinks she's out of his league, the narrator can't see this. Hence the "maybe, but not what she deserves" line. He's baffled as to why her family thinks he can take care of her, but they realize he is actually good for her.

    I think Willie Mays sees it too. He's constantly overlooking all this people in their wrenches, and it breaks his heart.
    mhallon November 16, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"The catcher hits for .318 and catches every day
    The pitcher puts religion first and rests on holidays
    He goes into cathedrals and lies prostrate on the floor"

    along with what you were saying, Speed_Is_Dreaming: this stanza is fairly obviously about homosexuality, unfortunatly you have to know the slang to understand it. there is the classic pitcher/catcher (dominant/submissive) slang of gay males. "the pitcher puts religion first" is about being ashamed/hiding being gay, and "he goes to cathedrals and lies prostrate on the floor" is also about being ashamed of being gay, but also very cleverly about submission, or hiding being gay... well, if you want to analyze it that far.
    lovesickforeveron April 28, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis makes me think of The Graduate for some reason. It's probably the idea of running away with a spouse (against the consent of parents), and being intrigued with having no idea what the future holds next.
    pinkerton1229on October 30, 2011   Link

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