Wrigley Roundtable

August 26, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Once again it's time for our weekly segment in which we debate a selected matter of interest. The topics could range from the Cubs to baseball or other sports, to movies and music. Our panel of bartenders will weigh in, and we invite any of our readers to offer their two cents as well. So grab a beer and a handful of stale popcorn and tell us what you think.

Today's Topic: Singing the stretch, is it time for a change?

Looking back I have fond memories of watching the Cubs games on WGN. So many day games, watching Ryno, Dawson, Dunston and the rest, and of course listening to Harry Caray sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the stretch. Harry would lean out the broadcast window and bellow "Lemme hear ya!" as the crowd cheered on. No matter what, win or lose, you could count on Harry to sing with such light-hearted enthusiasm that you couldn't help being lost in the moment.

Of course Harry passed away in 1998, and as a nice tribute to him, they began having various guest conductors sing the stretch. The first few years it was kind of cool to see all these different personalities in the booth. Fast forward 10 years later however and it has really turned into a stale, tired routine.

You have celebrities that not only don't follow the Cubs, but sometimes don't even know the words to the damn song. And heaven forbid we need to get ourselves fired up for a rally in the bottom of the 7th. Sorry but the vocal stylings of Phil Donahue isn't going to get this crowd pumped up. And even then, the regular celebrities that are Cubs fans don't really do much for me. Oh look, Jeff Garland is singing......again.

Plus it's been long enough that you now have a generation of kids that don't really know why we have guest conductors all the time in the first place. Sure they've heard about Harry Caray, but to them the guest conductors are the tradition at Wrigley not the legend who started it.

So here's my thought. Why not do away with the guest conductors. It's a tired schtick and more often than not it involves people that don't really belong there belting out uninspired renditions. Limit it to just the guys in the broadcast booth. Let Pat and Ron take turns and let Len have a chance to belt out a few voice cracking notes now and then*. But when we really need that extra boost, like when the game is tied or we need to get a comeback rally going, that's when you bust out an old recording of Harry Caray singing. Seriously, how pumped up would you be at the stadium if you suddenly heard the old familiar hollering of Harry? I can't see how the crowd could get more fired up than that, and it would be a much, much greater tribute to Harry than, oh say, this, this, or this.

*note that I didn't mention Bob Brenly. I can't imagine Bob singing it. You would have to change it to the "seventh inning buzzkill" if he did. No offense Bob but you're just not all that exciting.