It is October and we are lucky to have two Los Angeles-area teams in the playoffs this season — the Dodgers and Angels. If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket to a game you’ll likely participate in some treasured traditions such as eating hot dogs, cheering for the home team and singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”
Just what is the story behind the song and why is it played in every Major League Baseball game in this country?
According to Time, the song was written and composed approximately 105 years ago by two men who had never seen a baseball game. Writer Jack Norworth wrote about a girl named Katie Casey who wanted her boyfriend to take her to a baseball game instead of a show. It originally consisted of 32 lines but the most famous lyrics are those she told her boyfriend:
Take me out to the ballgame,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I ever get back, ’cause it’s root, root, root for the home team,
if they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one , two, three strikes you’re out, at the old ballgame.
Composer Albert von Tilzer set the poem to music and the duo set off promoting the song to vaudeville performers and it eventually became popular among entertainers instead of athletes. a
All of that changed, however, in the 1980s with Chicago sports broadcaster Harry Caray. He started a tradition of having guests sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and when he begn to work for the Cubs his tradition was broadcasted to a national audience thanks to superstation WGN.
“Other teams quickly followed the lead of the Cubs and White Sox, substituting or supplementing the ‘Mexican Hat Dance’ or ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’ with ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ in the seventh,” reports ESPN. “And now, all 30 major league clubs play the song in the seventh inning, as do all minor league teams and many college and high school teams.”
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