It’s NIGHT in the big city
somewhere a car alarm goes off
a woman walks barefoot, her high heels in her handbag
“Tonight we’re going to head out to the field of dreams, schemes and themes.”
Nelly Kelly loved baseball games,
Knew the players, knew all their names.
You could see her there ev’ry day,
When they’d play.
Her boyfriend by the name of Joe
Said, “To Coney Isle, dear, let’s go”,
Then Nelly started to fret and pout,
And to him, I heard her shout:
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.
Nelly Kelly was sure some fan,
She would root just like any man,
Told the umpire he was wrong,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Nelly Kelly knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:
The Singers and Songs
- The Skeletons: Take Me Out To The Ball Game
- Mabel Scott: Baseball Boogie
- Chance Halladay: Home Run
“In the 50’s, every red blooded American boy either wanted to play baseball, or be Elvis Presley. Here’s a rockabilly song by Chance Halladay that combines the best of both worlds.”
Watching baseball, sitting in the sun, eating popcorn,
reading Ezra Pound,
and wishing that Juan Marichal would hit a hole right through the
Anglo-Saxon tradition in the first Canto
and demolish the barbarian invaders.
When the San Francisco Giants take the field
and everybody stands up for the National Anthem,
with some Irish tenor’s voice piped over the loudspeakers,
with all the players struck dead in their places
and the white umpires like Irish cops in their black suits and little
black caps pressed over their hearts,
Standing straight and still like at some funeral of a blarney bartender,
and all facing east,
as if expecting some Great White Hope or the Founding Fathers to
appear on the horizon like 1066 or 1776. But Willie Mays appears instead,
in the bottom of the first,
and a roar goes up as he clouts the first one into the sun and takes
off, like a footrunner from Thebes.
The ball is lost in the sun and maidens wail after him
as he keeps running through the Anglo-Saxon epic.
And Tito Fuentes comes up looking like a bullfighter
in his tight pants and small pointy shoes.
And the right field bleechers go mad with Chicanos and blacks
and Brooklyn beer-drinkers,
“Tito! Sock it to him, sweet Tito!”
And sweet Tito puts his foot in the bucket
and smacks one that don’t come back at all,
and flees around the bases
like he’s escaping from the United Fruit Company.
As the gringo dollar beats out the pound.
And sweet Tito beats it out like he’s beating out usury,
not to mention fascism and anti-semitism.
And Juan Marichal comes up,
and the Chicano bleachers go loco again,
as Juan belts the first ball out of sight,
and rounds first and keeps going
and rounds second and rounds third,
and keeps going and hits paydirt
to the roars of the grungy populace.
As some nut presses the backstage panic button
for the tape-recorded National Anthem again,
to save the situation. But it don’t stop nobody this time,
in their revolution round the loaded white bases,
in this last of the great Anglo-Saxon epics,
in the territorio libre of Baseball.
- Cowboy Copas: Three Strikes and You’re Out
- Sister Wynona Carr: The Ball Game
- Buddy Johnson: Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?
- Les Brown and His Orchestra: Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio
- Billy Bragg & Wilco: Joe DiMaggio’s Done It Again
- Teddy Brannon Orchestra: Don Newcomb Really Throws That Ball
- Sonny Rollins: Newk’s Fadeaway
- The Treniers: Say Hey
- Sam Bush: The Wizard Of Oz
- Ry Cooder: 3rd Base, Dodger Stadium
- Damn Yankees (Original Broadway Cast): Heart