Eddie Vedder - "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"
Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, a tradition at Chicago's Wrigley Field has long been that the crowd sings along with a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch. For years, this was led by Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray who passed away in 1998. Since then the team has had each game's version sung by some sort of celebrity. There have been horrible versions (Coach Ditka's comes to mind), great ones, and everything in between. One celebrity who has capably led the song at least three times is Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Today I'm offering up two of those performances captured from streaming videos.
The first of these is from July 4, 1998. Cubs fans will remember this as the year the Baby Bears won the wild card and Sammy Sosa battled with Mark McGwire for the single-season home run crown. It was a pretty special year, to say the least. Too bad they got swept by the Braves in the NLDS. Vedder's performance this day was a bit... lewd. Unless my ears deceive me, it appears he sang "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack" as "Buy me some penis and crack...". Maybe it's just me? It also sounds like he says "Root, root, root for the Cubbies/If they don't win it's a game...". Unfortunately, all too true some years.
The second version here is from Mother's Day 2006, just last month, when the Cubs took on the San Diego Padres. Vedder repeats the "crack" joke from '98 here, although he appears to have been kinder with regard to the team's futility. However, his words at the end of the song are a painful reminder of the ass-kicking the Cubs got that day thanks to the Padres - "Ten runs! We can do it!". It was not a pretty sight.
For those keeping score (ahem), I believe Vedder's third performance of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley was on June 20, 2003. I don't have audio of that one.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Eli I now have the 2003 performance too, complete with Ramones-inspired "Hey ho! Let's go!" at the end:
I actually attended a game at Wrigley once when Billy Corgan sang the national anthem and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." It was pretty nifty, even though I'm not really a Pumpkins/Corgan fan.