It surprises me that now fifteen years after Harry Caray passed away that the Chicago Cubs organization is still working on having seventh inning stretch guest conductors for the upcoming season. I totally understand why the Cubs decided to have guest conductors in 1998 yet, the novelty has most definitely wore off. With the uproar of having celebrities who were only there to promote their latest movie, television show, record, book or what ever and did not really talk about what was happening on the field should be a clear indication that the novelty of the guest conductor has worn off.
The whole thing about the seventh inning stretch was just to have fans refocus on the game and have a little more fun by singing a silly song about baseball. When Caray worked for the other Major League team in the City, someone heard Caray singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and thought it was entertaining enough to share with the fans in attendance of the game. The organization worked it out with Caray to sing at every home game as they all felt including Caray himself, that others would feel even more comfortable singing knowing that Caray was not the best singer in the World either. When the Cubs hired Caray to replace legendary play-by-play announcer Jack Brickhouse, Caray was able to continue what was started on the South Side in singing this song that was first heard in ballparks in 1934.
The tradition is still a lot fun however, it is time to give the seventh inning stretch back to the fans and take it back out of the announcers/television booth. When Caray died, the seventh inning should have been removed from the announcers/broadcasters booth and let the fans enjoy it with the organist as it once had been within the Friendly Confines prior to the arrival of Harry Caray. The effort in 1998 to fill in for Caray was a very nice tribute to Caray’s legacy however, it is time to let this go and give the stretch back to the fans. The game should always be about the game and not who the celebrity who is going to conduct the stretch at today’s game.