Maybe it was race driver Jeff Gordon’s shout out to the fans at “Wrigley Stadium.” Or Ozzy Osbourne, who decided the lyrics of “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” were not nearly as interesting as the mostly unintelligible words he’d picked out for himself. Or perhaps it was actress Denise Richards, who brought along a little cheat sheet in case she forgot the words.
Whatever the reason, the Chicago Cubs have decided to make the broadcast booth at Wrigley Field, and more importantly, the microphone, off limits to the likes of Vanna White, Erik Estrada and Mickey Rooney. No more Kid Rock, who, as the story goes, knew it was customary to say something at the end of the song, but went with “Let’s get some lunch!” instead of the more traditional “Let’s get some runs.”
“It was a good idea at first,” Al Yellon, who runs bleedcubbieblue.com, said of the Cubs’ decision to allow celebrities to take over the job the late Harry Caray handled so famously for so many years. “But it turned into a celebrity fest with D-list celebrities.”
The song is played during the stretch around the major leagues, usually the ballpark organist leading the fans in song. Some parks have their own traditions, of course — Fenway Park and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth inning, for example. The Florida Marlins tried to skip “Take Me Out to The Ball Game” to go with dancers leading fans to Gloria Estefan songs, a tradition that lasted all of two games.
For a team that doesn’t exactly have a long history of embracing change, lights didn’t arrive until 1988, messing with a musical tradition tied forever to Caray might seem a dramatic step. But the Cubs have a new regime in place, with Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel trying to turn around baseball’s famous losers and chairman Tom Ricketts pressing for upgrades to Wrigley, the oldest ballpark in the majors behind Fenway.
Caray, then with the White Sox, is credited with singing the song first at a game. He was so bad that team owner Bill Veeck had the idea to secretly put a microphone in the booth so everyone could join in and, well, mask the warbling.
And join in they did, first at White Sox games and then at Wrigley, when Caray started his run with the Cubs in 1982. Fifteen years after his death, Caray is still part of the celebration, both inside the park where some guest singers still mention him, and outside, where fans can see a statute of Caray in his famous singing pose.
Not only did Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer trade paint during the AdvoCare 500, but they instigated a brawl in the garage area at the Phoenix International Raceway.
Jeff Gordon is one of the most successful NASCAR drivers of all time but during Saturday’s Budweiser Shootout he was involved in a horrific crash at Daytona after colliding with Kurt Busch with two laps to go.
Gordon found himself upside down, and he flipped several times in what was the worst crash of his career but was able to exit his car and walk away without any injury.
During the NASCAR “After the Lap” event in Vegas Jeff Gordon seized the opportunity and thrilled the crowd with some break dancing at center stage that would definitely make the producers of Electric Boogaloo ponder if they should release a third movie.