Trophy by Emily Clouse

This Song Sucks Ass: A Line By Line Analysis Of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” And How I’d Fix It

It’s about time someone improved these lyrics.

Ryan Ciecwisz
Oct 14, 2019 · 4 min read
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Last week, I went to a baseball game and while I was filling my windbreaker’s pockets with the peanuts the guy next to me left unguarded while in the restroom, I realized Take Me Out to the Ball Game, written in 1908 by Jack Norwich and Albert Von Tilzer, sucks ass. This is how I’d fix it.

Right away, the listener is given a demand. When a song starts, I should feel like I’m talking to a nice singer, but instead, it feels like I’m talking to my disrespectful stepson, Jace. I’m thinking, “What’s the speaker going to do next, tell me to strip down to my underwear and do a funny dance to humiliate myself with my terrible body? No thank you.” That’s why you need to start with a NICE line where the speaker introduces themselves. For instance, “Hello, I Am Mr. Cowboy.” This also establishes a clear protagonist, something the original lacks.

Another demand…? And who WANTS to be in a crowd? I don’t think it would be a leap to say this speaker is probably a pervert and needs a crowd so he can mush his ass against another person’s ass. I just don’t see Mr. Cowboy doing something so crass. Instead, a more suitable line would be, “I Have No Date to the Dance.” This establishes pathos. We connect with Mr. Cowboy and want him to get a date to this dance.

So it’s not enough that you bring this pervert to the game so that he can satisfy his forbidden desires of the flesh, but you’ve also got to be his sugar daddy? Scrap this line for something more bold; “I Just Killed the Mayor and His Dad.” This creates a complex moral conundrum. We feel bad that he has no date, but we don’t like that he’s a murderer.

If this speaker doesn’t care about anything, why should we? Congratulations on being a sociopath, I guess? Mr. Cowboy encapsulates contemporary masculinity by embracing his emotions, not hiding from them. The next line should be, “But I Feel Really Sad About It.” Mr. Cowboy isn’t your typical murderer; he feels remorse. It’s another twist. The listener’s opinion of Mr. Cowboy is further complicated by the character’s depth.

When I hear this, I wonder, “What is going to happen to me if I don’t?” I’ll probably get a kick in the rump. Where I come from, we don’t get people to fall in line with threats of violence. My stepson gets people to do his bidding that way, but he’s probably the worst behaved 36-year-old I’ve ever met. That’s why I’d change this line to, “I’m At the Dance and My Shirt Is Stained.” Wow. Can you imagine anything worse? Mr. Cowboy has reached the dark night of his soul. Consumed with guilt for killing the mayor and his dad, dateless at the big dance, and he looks like fucking shit. Now THIS is a story.

The real shame is that I wasted fifteen minutes re-listening to this song (it took me that long because I had to use my stepson’s computer without permission, so every time I heard a noise, I got scared it was him, slammed the laptop shut, and hid). Anyway, I’d update this to, “My Crush Just Asked Me to Dance.” Our hero is on the path to redemption.

The problem with this line is that it’s quoting the rules at you, which presupposes you have broken the rules. Sorry, but when I listen to music, I want to relax and have 9 or 10 IPA’s with my boys, not be made to feel like a troublemaking rascal. Change this to, “Oh No, the Hangman Is Here.” The brief bit of happiness is torn from Mr. Cowboy. His reckoning is upon him.

Just boring as shit. This should be an epic conclusion, like “And Now I Am Dead.” Wow. I’m tearing up just thinking about the journey Mr. Cowboy went on. I bet a lot of people will think of this as a tragedy (like when I found out the woman I married had an unruly stepson) but it’s actually a celebration of life. So take note, Jack and Albert; this is how you write a song.


Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

Ryan Ciecwisz

Written by

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

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