Sunday, November 7, 2010

Take me out to the ball game

While I was travelling last week, I helped pass the time by re-watching a couple of innings of the original Baseball documentary by Ken Burns on the Air Canada entertainment system. One of the innings features the wonderful version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game by Carly Simon and I immediately made a mental note to put up a blog post about it.

Most of us know the song from the seventh-inning stretch at baseball games, but what not everyone realizes is that the version normally sung at the ballpark is only the chorus and that the full lyrics contain a little-known and somewhat unconventional story. The complete lyrics to the song, which was composed in 1908 by Jack Norworth, are shown below:

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said "No,
I'll tell you what you can do:"


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.

Katie Casey saw all the games,

Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

[repeat Chorus]

Note (Courtesy of Wikipedia): The term "sou", now obscure, was at the time common slang for a low-denomination coin. Carly Simon's version, produced for Ken Burns' 1994 documentary Baseball, reads "Ev'ry cent / Katie spent".

What I find interesting is that it's the female character in the song that wants to go to the ballgame, even though her boyfriend suggested that they take in a show. It obviously wasn't out of the ordinary to be a female super-fan back in 1908, otherwise Jack Norworth wouldn't have created a song based on such a keen female "rooter". In any event, the full Carly Simon version sure would sound good at Royal Athletic Park, don't ya think?