Originally posted on World Series Dreaming  |  Last updated 2/20/13
FINALLY!  The Cubs have heard our cries!     Cubs in-game programming director Jim Oboikowitch said Tuesday there will be some changes to the stretch this year after listening to what fans had to say. “I think we definitely want to focus on former Cubs players, people that are Chicago natives, people who know baseball and who are Cubs fans,” he said. “I do think we want to get ‘A-listers,’ so if there is that celebrity in a movie …  But we want them to understand what they’re coming to do — not just come into the booth and say, ‘My movie hits theaters tonight,’ or ‘My book is in stores.’ “They should know something about the Cubs. They should know the background of Harry Caray and what we are doing, and I think it will be a little more teaching them and exposing them. We do want the best guests, so we might come across that situation. But I think it’s all about preparing them so they’re not on with (broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies) and talking about stuff while a big home run is being hit in the bottom of the seventh.”…from Paul Sullivan’s article in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday   They have announced that starting this year, some major changes will be taking place when it comes to the singing of the 7th inning stretch! FINALLY!  As if listening to some of the most off-key, ear piercing attempts at singing the song wasn’t bad enough, we had to sit through the bottom of the inning while those people, some of which don’t even have a clue what a baseball is, let alone appreciate what it was that they just did, all while Len and (previously Bob, now it will be Jim) have to interview them about their latest piece of work they are there to promote and we have to miss the actual call off part of the game, and in the bottom of the 7th inning, sometimes that can be a very crucial part of the game.  Sometimes, you could even feel the awkwardness between the announcers and the guests as it’s obvious that the guests aren’t there for the game, nor do they care about anything going on down on the field, and Len and Bob had no clue what to keep talking to them about once their promotion of the latest movie, book, cd, etc was over.  It was even more painful if the Cubs had a nice long inning!  At times, you couldn’t help but wish the manager would make a trip to the mound to pull the pitcher so that the TV guys could take a break and get rid of the guest! When you are at Wrigley, and the 7th inning stretch time arrives, you have to hold your breath and hope and pray that the next minute of your life will not sound like fingernails going down a chalkboard.  You never really know who (or what) you are going to get.  Will they know the words?  Will they scream it?  Will they try to take that minute and crunch the song into a 10 second blurb (as the crowd still sings at their own pace)?  Do they know that it is common knowledge that you replace the word  ”HOMETEAM” with “Cubbies”?  Now, at home or on the radio, you can just mute the sound and save your ears, but when you are at Wrigley.  It surrounds you.  You can’t even try to escape to the bathroom because they play it in there, too!  With the news yesterday that the Cubs have FINALLY heard our cries about the 7th inning stretch and have agreed that they will not be having just random celebrities into the booth who are there to do nothing but promote their latest movie, album, or book, I thought I would compile a list of some of the WORST 7th inning stretch performances.  Listen at your own risk! Perhaps one of the WORST EVER was Ozzy Osbourne.  Bless his wife for trying to cover his noise up, but it didn’t work.  He didn’t know the words.  He was so off-key, it was painful. ********************************************************************************** This one is just a montage of various really REALLY bad performances from Wrigley ********************************************************************************** I realize he’s Da Coach… and he’s one of the biggest Chicago icons… but EVERYTIME he takes the mike, it seems as if he is not only yelling at his team through the whole thing, but he seems to try to beat his own speed record in singing it…Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, Mike Ditka ********************************************************************************** Jay Cutler gave it a shot, and his offensive line couldn’t save him here either. ********************************************************************************** Mr. T… I Pity the Fool  ********************************************************************************** Another humorous montage.  ”Popcorn and cracker jacks?”  Really?  Ugh! ********************************************************************************** Danica Patrick.  It’s a good thing this girl can drive a car, because she’d never make it as a singer! ********************************************************************************** Denise Richards…Oops! ********************************************************************************** One of the funniest stretches, however, it wasn’t during the song that made this one famous, but what happens after Steve McMichael sings, when he calls out to umpire Angel Hernandez and what he says to him actually gets him ejected from the game… by the umpire!  Pretty sure that is the ONLY time an umpire ejected a stretch singer during a game! ********************************************************************************** Since you made it through all of those ear piercing noises above, I thought I would treat you to what it all was about.  Harry Caray could sing it like no other.  He had it perfected to a piece of art.  After suffering through all of these attempts at singing the stretch, I do believe that I need to give even more kudos to Harry for getting up there and singing it every home game for years, and for the most part, perfectly every time.  Enjoy as Harry’s voice sings sweet notes in your ear, and Arnie Harris scans the crowd for the women who are barely dressed! One more thought on this change coming to Wrigley.  The Cubs have heard our cries.  We want more that mediocrity and don’t want to settle for less than we deserve.  This holds true not only on the field, but now they are even making it happen for our entertainment at the game.  Now, they can’t guarantee that we won’t hear the horrible off-key renditions of the song.  Heck, I can’t think of many people who have actually “nailed it” as far as singing it, but they can make sure that the guests in the booth understand that when in the bottom of the seventh inning and the bases are loaded and Anthony Rizzo comes to the plate, WE DON’T WANT TO HEAR THAT YOUR MOVIE STARTS IN THE THEATERS ON FRIDAY! So, to the Ricketts Family, thank you for hearing us and our complaints about the stretch in years past.  Perhaps now, in the bottom of the seventh inning, we can actually enjoy that part of the game again! Readers, they are not going to get rid of the celebrities in the booth, so my question for you is, WHO WOULD YOU NOT MIND STILL BEING IN THE BOOTH TO SING THE STRETCH?
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