The Chicago Cubs recently announced that they have decided to pull the plug on a Wrigley Field tradition: celebrity guests singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch. The reason? Well, I think ostensibly it’s to return to the more old-fashioned ballpark traditions and make the games less about out-of-town celebrities. But if that’s the official reason, the unofficial one is that so very many of the performances in recent years have really, really sucked. I mean, with some of these performances, if they didn’t force you to turn away or cover your ears, then they made you roll your eyes or scratch your head.
Anyway, today, in order to prove that Theo Epstein and his staff at Wrigley Field made the right call in canceling the celebrity appearances, I’ve put together this list of the worst renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in Wrigley Field history. I’d say “enjoy,” but that’s ridiculous. Just try not to cringe.
Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael didn't really botch the actual song when he stepped into the booth, so I couldn't claim that this was a terrible performance. However, when he stepped into the broadcasters booth on August 7, 2001, to lead the crown in "Take Me Out," he did do something else that was a major no-no: he threatened the home plate umpire, Angel Hernandez.
You see, Hernandez had just made a questionable call at home plate, so the fans were already upset. Then, after McMichael sang the song, he said he'd be waiting for Hernandez after the game.
Of course, he wasn't. Hernandez had him kicked out of the stadium. Like a boss.
Honorable Mention: Steve McMichael
Eddie Vedder grew up a Cubs fan, has performed "Take Me Out" on a number of occasions, and seems to be generally well-liked within the "Friendly Confines." However, when he led the crowd in song on July 4, 1998, Vedder altered the lyrics in a very interesting way. Instead of "buy me some peanuts and cracker jack," he sang "by me some penis and crack." Then, instead of "root, root, root for the Cubbies/if they don't win it's a shame," he sang "if they don't win it's a game"—which was either a dig at sports fans who take games way too seriously, or a reference to the fact that the Cubs suck and in fact lose most games.
And yet the Cubs had him back to sing "Take Me Out" again after that. I wonder what he had to do to make that happen.
9. Eddie Vedder
Oh Kellie. As the TV news guy points out here, it's not just that she blew the words and said "popcorn" instead of "peanuts." It's that just went on...and on...and on...and on about it afterward. Just say, "oops" and be done. Don't dig deeper.
Though, seriously, popcorn? Give me a break, Pickler.
8. Kellie Pickler
Chicago native Laurence Tureaud, better-known as the one and only Mr. T, was invited to throw out the first pitch and sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in 2009...about 20 years after the height of his fame. The performance? BRUTAL. Who would have thought that Mr. T would be a terrible singer?
Oh, right. Everyone.
7. Mr. T
Denise Richard led the Wrigley Field crowd in song back in May of 2009. Why Denise Richard? Because she grew up in the Chicago area and is (or was) a D-list celebrity, that's why.
Is she even a baseball fan, let alone a Cubs fan? Well, judging by the fact that she had to write the words to the song on her hand, I'm going to say probably not. But maybe she was just really nervous on account of the fact that she is truly terrible at singing.
6. Denise Richards
Danica Patrick was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, and grew up in Roscoe, Illinois. That's definitely Cubs country, so you can see why they might invite her to sing "Take Me Out" (in addition to the fact that she is very famous). Unfortunately, her performance was even worse than her GoDaddy.com commercials. And we all know just how terrible those are.
5. Danica Patrick
This one isn't the worst, but it is my personal favorite. I mean, is Captain D-Bag Jay Cutler particularly well-liked in Chicago? Did Cubs fans want the Bears quarterback to serenade them? And did they want him to serenade them so poorly that their ears bled? I highly doubt it.
(No, I don't like Jay Cutler. Why do you ask?)
4. Jay Cutler
From a Bears player that Chicagoans merely tolerate to a Bears legend that Chicagoans love more than sassage and above-ground public transit. Former Bears coach Mike Ditka sang "Take Me Out" a while back and it was an absolute disaster. Even the Superfans hated it. Ditka might just be the most tone-deaf person I've ever heard.
3. Mike Ditka
Now, if you're looking for a reason why the Cubs have nixed the celebrity guests, look no further than Ozzy Osbourne. At least some of the other people on this list are from Chicago, but obviously Ozzy is not. Then the guy didn't even attempt to learn and/or sing the actual words to the song. And I don't mean, like, oh it's Ozzy and you can't understand what he says. I mean, the guy literally just mumbled and grunted. There were almost no word-like sounds at all.
It was just terrible. But, you know, at least he didn't do what the next guy did...
2. Ozzy Osbourne
Why does Jeff Gordon top the list? Well, the little singing that he did wasn't worse than Ditka's, and he knew a few more words than Ozzy Osbourne. The problem is that he committed the Cardinal sin—oops, I shouldn't say that. Let me rephrase. He committed the Cubbie sin for visitors to the Friendly Confines: he got the [email protected]#$ing name of the stadium wrong!
Right off the bat, Jeff Gordon callsthe place WrigleyStadium. Stadium!
Seriously, dude. I know you've probably scrambled a few brain cells driving around in circles for all those years, but get the name of the incredible historic sports venue right.
Anyway, unfortunately I couldn't find a video with just Jeff Gordon. But I did finda compilation, and his lowlights are scattered throughout. So take a look.
1. Jeff Gordon
baseball, Chicago Cubs, MLB, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Wrigley Field,