Sunday, April 6, 2008

Baseball is a Game

Baseball is a game of statistics
Did the announcer say this was the Blue Jays 32nd home opener? How can that be? I was but a teenager that historic first game in the snow. That means I'll be...51 in a couple of weeks. I've heard it said that statistics are easily manipulated. Manipulate me that one!

Baseball is a game of memories
Our late father with a drawer full of the undated $2 general admission tickets the Blue Jays used to entice fans with in the early years. "Who wants to go to the game today?" Mom with a picture of Ted Williams on her fridge. Paula shouting herself hoarse without realizing it. Maureen studiously keeping score. Little Tracey catching that home run ball with her forehead. Ouch! Courting days with Garry. Say, whatever happened to our disposable income? Whatever happened to $2 tickets.

Baseball is a game of music
Nova Scotia's own Ralph Fraser on the organ at Exhibition Stadium. "Our Day Will Come" accompanying the egress after a loss.

100 years of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
Composer Albert Von Tilzer (yes, Harry's brother) and lyricist/performer Jack Norworth had yet to attend a major league baseball game when they collaborated in 1908 on the song which will be sung by fans everywhere as long as the game is played. 1908 was a good year for Jack as he married superstar singer Nora Bayes. Nora included "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in her solo act and sheet music sales, as they say, went through the roof. Jack and Nora headlined the Ziegfeld Follies and introduced their own hit "Shine On, Harvest Moon". The popular couple would split after a few years. Theirs was the second of five marriages for each. Those show folk!

Classic movie connections: Jack Norworth, the actor, can be seen in Jean Renoir's "The Southerner" (1945) playing Dr. White. Frances Langford plays Nora Bayes in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942) introducing "Over There" with Cagney's George M. Cohan. The couple were biopiced in "Shine On, Harvest Moon" (1944) starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis Morgan. MGM produced a delightful musical in 1949 starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra based on the ever-popular song.


Nellie Kelly loved baseball games
Knew the players, knew all their names
You could see her there every day
Shout Hooray when they'd play.
Her boyfriend by the name of Joe
Said to Coney Isle, dear, let's go
Then Nellie started to fret and pout
And to him I heard her shout

Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
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 it's one, two, three strikes you're out
At the old ball game

Nellie Kelly was sure some fan
She would root just like any man
Told the umpire he was wrong
All along, good and strong.
When the score was just two to two
Nellie knew what to do
Just to cheer up the boys she knew
She made the game sing this song

Repeat chorus, stretch, head for the concession stand.


  1. Here in the States, many claim that baseball's title of "the National Passtime" has been usurped by football. That may be, but I'll take nine innings, rain delays, double headers, hot dogs and overpriced beer, and the seventh inning stretch any day of the week over that other "national passtime."

    Go Sox!!

  2. Baseball is also a game of superstitions. I've always liked the number 32, so this is going to be a very good year.
    Fifty-one is another of my favourite numbers!



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