The Wrigley Seventh-Inning Stretch Is Changing!

David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

And not a moment too soon. It had gotten pretty lame.

Last October, I made a post here, somewhat inelegantly titled "Dump The Celebrity Seventh-Inning Stretch", arguing for the elimination of the celebrity seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley; the D-list celebrity/sports figures that were giving lame renditions of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and even lamer interviews on WGN-TV were getting tiresome.

The Cubs listened, according to Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:

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."

It's as if they read my mind. This sort of guest would be true to the spirit in which the original singing of the song was created by Harry while he was still a White Sox broadcaster in the 1970s, and brought over and made the Cubs' own after Harry moved to WGN's Cubs telecasts in 1982.

In my October article, I suggested the Cubs could keep the tradition by having the current broadcasters rotate the duty. It sounds like they might do some of that, along with celebrities who have more of a connection with baseball. Let's hope so, anyway.

Sullivan's article also mentions some changes in the types of music you might hear before games at Wrigley Field, and this welcome note:

We talked about cutting down some of the pregame (advertising announcements), so I think there will be more music playing pregame, adding a little more life in the stadium.

This is good news, too. Pre-taped ads, for the last few seasons, typically started about an hour before game time and blared into everyone's ears for at least half an hour. Music will be a welcome change.

While I'm on this subject, I'll once again call for the Cubs to

PLEASE TURN THE VOLUME DOWN ON THE P.A. SYSTEM

because it's way, way too loud, especially if you're sitting right under a speaker; if you're unfortunate enough to be seated in a location like that, you probably can't carry on a conversation with the person sitting next to you.

Thanks for listening, Cubs management, and ditching some of the D-list celebs (like Jane Lynch, pictured here) for people more connected to the team, and to Harry Caray, who created the thing in the first place.

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