Singin’ the Blues

Last night while watching the opening of the Olympics, I heard the following words put together in one sentence: “16-year old” “jazz singer” and “national anthem” I immediately began cringing. That may have been the worst set of words put together since Maximilian Schell asked Montgomery Clift to make a sentence with “hare, hunter, field.” (See Judgment at Nuremberg) Then I heard some idiot woman butcher one of the three best national anthems around (Australia and Germany have the other two and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as the EU anthem is different). It reminded me of one of my least favorite aspects of Major League Baseball.

Now I like the national anthem as well as the next person. I’m all for rockets glaring red and bombs bursting in the air and proving through the night. I’m for the land of the free and also for the home of the brave, but I’m not for butchering the song. I’m never sure whether  I’m going to hear “light my fire” or a dirge. I understand that this is the highpoint of a lot of singers’ careers, but except for their mother, no one came to the ballpark to hear them sing. They want to hear two words only: “Play Ball.”

So I want to ask the people who sing at the ballpark to do me a favor. Just sing the song. Sing it like it was written. Then shut up and let the game begin. Heck, the quicker you get done, the quicker we get to the seventh inning stretch and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”


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