You’ve probably heard of the 7th inning stretch if you’ve watched or been to a baseball game. The 7th inning stretch is a long-standing tradition that takes place between the halves of the seventh inning.
During this period, the well-known “Take Me out to the Ballgame” begins playing over the speakers while fans and spectators stand up, stretch, and sing along to the lyrics.
The song is usually heard during the top and bottom of the seventh inning in both Minor League and Major League Baseball games. Hence, fans refer to it as the 7th inning stretch.
So when did MLB games introduce the seventh inning stretch? What purpose does the 7th inning stretch serve in baseball stadiums? Who composed the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” song?
Read on as we present fascinating facts about the 7th Inning Stretch, including its origin and how long it lasts.
What is the Origin of the 7th Inning Stretch in Baseball?
Unfortunately, there has been no precise date that states when the 7th inning stretch originated. However, we’ve come across different hypotheses that suggest the probable date that this custom began.
One hypothesis holds that there was a pause in play in 1869 during a match between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and Brooklyn Eagles so that spectators could visit the bar and order additional beverages.
Another hypothesis asserts that the 7th-inning stretch happened in 1882 during a baseball game between Manhattan College. They took a break in the action to allow everyone to stretch, since the spectators on the hard benches were becoming antsy.
The most popular hypothesis suggested that the 7th inning stretch originated on the 14th of April 1910, when President William Howard Taft stood up and stretched during the seventh inning.
President Taft was a huge man, standing over six feet tall. Hence, he needed to stretch his body throughout the lengthy baseball game. As viewers watched the president stand up and stretch, others did likewise, and word of this brief pause in the activity immediately went across the country.
What is the Purpose of the 7th-inning Stretch in Baseball?
As earlier mentioned, the seventh inning stretch is intended to provide a small break in play for fans to stretch, use the restroom, purchase more food and beverages, and take a mental break from the game.
The break, which features the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” song, is meant to serve as a gentle reminder to the audience that this competition is ultimately just a game meant to be enjoyed.
The song is usually led by a team’s mascot on the big screen. Since the pause in action during this period is longer than other breaks, it gives Television and radio broadcasting stations the opportunity to promote longer advertisements.
While this period benefits fans in diverse ways, the broadcasting networks also profit from marketing and advertisement deals displayed during the break.
Who Wrote Take Me Out to the Ballgame?
The ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ song made its debut in baseball in 1934 at a high school in Los Angeles, thanks to the popularity of the seventh-inning stretch during baseball games.
It was written by the songwriters, Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, who never went to a baseball game until 1940. The song quickly gained popularity when Harry Caray routinely sang it before baseball games at Wrigley Field.
According to Harry Caray, ‘take me out to the Ballgame’ was the only song he knew the lyrics to. On this note, he never hesitated to pump his voice through the Comiskey Park speakers early in 1976 while singing the song.
Thanks to his influence, the beautiful song has found its way into the hearts of many fans. And today, everyone enjoys the melody of the sound during the 7th inning stretch.
Which are the other Songs Played During Baseball Games?
There are different songs played before, during, and after a baseball game. These include songs like God Bless America, played before each game in the United States, and Oh Canada, played during a baseball game in Toronto.
Since there are additional festivities before the game starts on opening days and the World Series games, you will frequently see well-known artists perform these songs live.
Music, in addition to the national anthem and Oh Canada, is an essential component of baseball games. During a game, the home team plays the music of their choice over the speakers as each batter or pitcher enters the game.
It is one of the benefits of playing baseball at home. In a nutshell, the music selection can help the home team prepare for the game.
The songs that each baseball club sings during or after a game are distinctive. The New York Yankees play “New York New York” by Frank Sinatra following each game, and the Boston Red Sox play “Sweet Caroline” in the 8th inning.
How Long is the Seventh Inning Stretch in Baseball?
The 7h-inning stretch can last for about 5 to 15 minutes. This time frame can be shortened or prolonged by a commercial break or some form of entertainment by the mascots. Hence, it is dependent on any advertisement scheduled during the stretch or if there’s a pitching change.
EndNote on What is the 7th Inning Stretch in Baseball?
Indeed, “Take Me out to the Ballgame” is the national anthem of baseball. Fans always wait until the seventh inning stretch to listen to the melody of the famous song.
Despite the difference in hypotheses surrounding the song’s origin, its popularity continues to grow from generation to generation. It is pretty sad that people don’t often talk about the songwriters, Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, who graced the baseball world with such an excellent masterpiece.
Although they ain’t alive to see how delighted baseball lovers sing their song, their legacy will live on for ages to come. “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” was performed for the first time at a High School baseball field in 1934.
It would have been nearly impossible for the aforementioned song to find its way to fans’ hearts if there was no break for singing it during baseball games. That is where the 7th inning stretch comes in handy.
Thanks to this short break, fans could refresh themselves and regain the energy they need to watch the rest of the game.