To a Glorious Fourth!
My first year as a blogger, I wrote about The Glorious Fourth.
The sentiments still hold.
What it all comes down to is, warts and all, there is something grand and glorious about the American Experience.
And it is worth celebrating with a big old glorious birthday party.
To a Glorious Fourth!
And, in honor of The Fourth, the other day I e-mailed Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino – with a guess at his address – to request that the PA announcers at Fenway Park start encouraging the fans to sing along with The Star Spangled Banner, rather than just stand there while the performer-du-jour performs.
Here’s my note to Larry Lucchino:
Dear Mr. Lucchino,
Now I may be completely mistaken here, but I do seem to recall that, when I was a kid sitting in the bleachers watching Bill Monbouquette, Frank Malzone, and Pete Runnels lose more than their share of games, when the national anthem was played, people actually sang along while John Kiley carried the tune on his organ.
These game days, there always seems to be a performer on the field doing the honors - which is fine. If I had a great voice, I'm sure I would be quite thrilled if I were given the chance to sing The Star Spangled Banner at Fenway Park. What I do wonder is why the fans aren't encouraged to sing along with Sgt. Joe Blow of the State Police, or the reigning Miss Massachusetts, or whoever it is out there. Sure, we're asked to stand and remove our hats and honor our country, but I think we should be asked to join in. This is, after all, our national anthem (for most of the people in the stands, at any rate), not a performance piece.
Whether it's Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Sweet Caroline, Dirty Water, Tessie, or The SSB, I happen to be one who sings along without any encouragement. When it comes to the national anthem, however, I'm occasionally given a dirty look by those around - as if I were at the Met trying to drown out or one up Placido Domingo. I think most people don't believe that they're supposed to (or are even allowed to) get in on the act. I'm obviously of the belief that the fans should join in. Since so many are a bit reluctant to - given that a performer has just been introduced on the field - I think they should be invited to. If the corporate preference is to let the performer perform, well, I guess you should make that clear by asking people to stand in respectful silence while Sgt. Joe Blow performs.
Lest you think this request is coming from a jingoistic wingnut, I assure you that this is not the case. I note my liberal position on the political spectrum to suggest that, if someone with my political leanings doesn't object to singing the national anthem while at a ball game, ain't nobody going to.
My next in-person game is the Yankees on August 5th, when I'll be sitting in the bleachers with my sister (and fellow Star Spangled Banner singer) Trish. I hope that, by then, the Fenway Faithful will be encouraged by the PA announcer to, in the words of Don Orsillo, “stand as one” and sing along.
With best wishes for a triumphal season,
Maureen Rogers, Lifer
And, better yet, here’s Larry Lucchino’s response to me:
I like this idea. Let us look into it further. Thanks for writing and for making your point so well.(Dan-check out Aug 5th schedule for organ sing along.)
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Device
Whatever you say about the Red Sox, and I say plenty, they are pretty responsive to fan squawking. Pink Slip readers of long standing may recall a 2006 post venting about trying to by tickets online. Shortly after I posted my screed, I heard back from the then Red Sox VP of marketing, whose e-mail to me included an exchange he’d had with none other than Mr. Lucchino about my experience. To see that story, click here.