Where did that song come from anyways??
I was watching another Atlanta Braves victory on television the other night and the seventh inning stretch is happening. (Pssst….do you like the way I mentioned the Braves are on fire there??!!) Everyone in stadium stands and sings the unofficial anthem of baseball “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
My sister, who is watching the game with me and is not a baseball fan, ask me “Where did that song come from?” My answer, “Hmm…well…I am not sure, but everyone sings it at MLB games.” Then my mind starts to swirl with questions…where the heck did that song come from? Did some guy that was a huge baseball fan write it? Inquiring baseball minds want to know the answers to these questions!
The original song was written by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer in 1908. Norworth saw a sign advertising that there was a baseball game on that day and he jotted down the lyrics “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” while riding the subway in New York City. Later, Von Tilzer would add the cheerful music to the lyrics. Interesting enough, at the time they wrote this song neither one of these men had ever attended a baseball game. The song’s chorus is what music you will hear in MLB parks during the 7th inning stretch.
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame
For its one, two three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.
At most MLB stadiums they now replace “home team” with the name of home team. For example: Let me root, root, root for the Braves (Pssst…see how I mentioned the Braves again?! They are smoking hot!!) If you have ever seen or do see the film by Ken Burns called Baseball the original song in it’s full length version is feature in it. Carly Simon is singing this version. Here is the YouTube link :
Give it a listen, it is sure to brighten your day. But what you are likely to hear at a MLB game today is just the chorus as listed above. This song has had such a lasting effect on our culture it was voted on of the “Songs of the Century” by the National Endowment of the Arts. Baseball is a game built on a storied history, with great traditions. So the singing of this song at MLB games is just one way baseball acknowledges its past and embraces its traditions.
For me personally, I can never hear this song and not smile. It brings back memories of my youth when my family would attend baseball games on hot southern evenings. We were together as a family enjoying sports and all was right in my world. So the next time you are lucky enough to be at a baseball game and you hear “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch, smile for Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer as a way of saying thank you for writing a classic song.