Close your eyes. Think of the most trivial grievance you can conjure. Then think of something even more inconsequential. Here’s what comes to mind for me, a person with a perfectly happy life and no real reason for animus.
It really sticks in my craw when people do not sing the words to Take Me Out to the Ballgame correctly. Specifically, they alter Jack Norworth’s lyrics toward the end. In his infinite wisdom he wrote, “root, root, root for the home team.” He did not write “root, root, root for the Cubbies” or any other specific franchise.
And, look, the good people frequenting America’s ballparks are not intentionally disrespecting the song. In their minds they are simply showing support by firmly identifying who the home team is. Surely some see beauty in that.
Not me, though. It bothers me. It is the real shame, far worse than the home team losing.
Call it a personal failure or bizarre hangup. I’m not sure I disagree. It’s just that the song was perfect before. “Home team,” to use a baseball pun, already covers all the bases. It makes the song universal. It suggests that we’re all connected, that we all have our biases but still find common enjoyment at the ballpark, basking in the wonder of the game.
Changing the words leaves us fractured, or, at the very least, creates the perception of division. You see, “home team” can also be bent to mean the visiting team in the mind’s eye because it is your “home team.”
Too deep? Maybe. Too niche a concern to write about? Almost assuredly. But if one can’t live his own truth, what’s the point of getting up in the morning?