The National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Association of America recently released its list of the top songs of the past century, and a baseball ditty came in way up at No. 8.
"Thank God, I'm a Country Boy," it's not.
Instead, it's ... drum roll, please - or rather organ music, please ... "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark notes that baseball finished 20 spots higher on the list than the Beatles and beat out Bruce Springsteen by 51 places, Elvis Presley by 60 and Bob Dylan by 84.
Some baseball people were befuddled by the strong showing of the song written in 1908 by Jack Norworth, who likely never saw a game of base ball (yes, it was two words back then).
"It doesn't seem like it should be in the `song' category," Anaheim Angels general manager Bill Bavasi told Stark. "It might belong with themes. You know, like the themes from The Jetsons or The Flintstones or Car 54, Where Are You? But the fact that `Take Me Out to the Ball Game' is considered a song and beat the likes of `Satisfaction,' `Stairway to Heaven' and `Louie Louie' is truly impressive. Demented ... but impressive."
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Doug Glanville provided a more mathematical commentary.
"It should be [ranked] seventh - for seventh inning," he told Stark. "The ranking should go with the number. Like `Take Five,' by Dave Brubeck [unranked] - that should be No. 5."
Glanville proposed that baseball should pair songs with innings.
"In the first inning, play [the winner] `Over the Rainbow.' In the second inning, play [No. 2] `White Christmas.' And if we happen to get to the 55th inning some night, play [No. 55] `When You Wish Upon a Star.' "
"Nah," Stark, wrote. "If anybody ever gets to the 55th inning, they ought to play, `I Just Wanna Go Home.' Because, at that point, if any living organisms were actually left in the stadium, they sure as heck would care if they ever got back."
`Woo' for the home team
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" soared in popularity when the late Harry Caray started singing it during the seventh-inning stretch at Chicago Cubs games in 1971.
After Caray died in 1998, the club continued the tradition by having celebrities do the honors. This year's list includes Ann-Margret, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Mickey Rooney, Susan Hawke of Survivor and Barney the Dinosaur.
And Ronnie "Woo-Woo" Wickers, who on May 24 became the first regular fan to sing the song on Wrigley Field's public-address system. He's known for wandering the Friendly Confines shouting players' names or other words with a "woo" at the end. "Sosa, woo. Lieber, woo. Cubs, woo!"
Caray called him "Leather Lungs."
Wickers' version - "One, woo. Two, woo. Three, woo. Take me out to the ball game" - was hardly the worst ever.
That, Cubs marketing vice president John McDonough said, is a tie between the warblings of former NFL coach Mike Ditka and ex-Cub Rick Sutcliffe.
"Ditka's, in 1998, is a classic," McDonough said. "He breathlessly missed every note. It was like running a two-minute drill. It was so campy bad that it was great."
Sutcliffe feigned surprise that his version was considered off-key. "Really?" he said. "I thought I was pretty good."
Not so, laughed former teammate Bob Dernier: "Ditka lowered the bar, but Rick managed to get under it."
`Never come back'
On Tuesday, former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Steve McMichael, now "Mongo" and "Ming the Merciless" of professional wrestling fame, became the Cubs' first "Ball Game" singer to be thrown out of the game.
McMichael took the mike an inning after plate umpire Angel Hernandez had called Chicago's Ron Coomer out on a close play.
"And don't worry, I'll have some speaks with that home plate umpire after the game," McMichael told the fans just before breaking into song.
Hernandez whirled toward the press box and ejected him.
Cubs management apologized for the gaffe, but McMichael stood his ground, saying later he was actually trying to protect the umpire.
"They stopped booing him and started cheering me," McMichael said.
He also joked that the reason he wanted to talk to the umpire was to give him the name of his eye surgeon.
By the way, "Three Blind Mice" did not get a call on the top songs list.
Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.