“Good morning, Tigers. My name is Sparky.”

“WOOH! . . . HA! HA! . . . We know that!”

“Now, in a few minutes we go out there for Opening Day. This is it. We’re gonna hit!”

“YEAH!”

“We’re gonna pitch!”

“YEAH!”

“But first we’re gonna sing!”

“YE—wha?”

“Now don’t give me no lip. Talent we got. But I want spirit. So we’re each gonna do a verse of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ before we go out.”

“BOO! . . . NO WAY! . . . Ain’t in my contract!”

“Quiet down. It’s good for morale. I’ll start, just to show you how it’s done. Ah-one, ah-two . . . Take me out to the ballgame, With my pipe and my cap,Don’t give me none of that error stuffDon’t give me headaches, just let me puff,Cause I know we got enough talent,To beat the Yanks and the JaysNo you ain’t, ain’t, ain’t gonna loseOver my dead bodyyyyyy.” “Hey Sparky. That don’t rhyme.”

“So? All right now. Let’s hear the new guys. LaPoint, Coles, Collins, Engle, Campbell, Spilman. Front and center. And sing!”

“A-hem . . . cough, cough . . . Take us out to the ballpark,As long as you bring the map,All of these highways sure look the same,What time are they starting the game?Cause it’s true, true, true, we are Tigers,Let’s pray it doesn’t get darkWas it left? No, right! No left at the light,To get to the old ballpark?” “BOO! . . . You were off- key! . . . NEXT!”

“OK. That’s the idea. Where’s my DP duet? Trammell and Whitaker? Make it sweet, Lou.”

“You go first, Tram.”

“No, no. After you.”

“No, I insist . . . Take us out to the ball gamePut us there side by side,If I get the ball, then he gets the bag,If I get the bag, then he gets the tag,Yes it’s true, we’re on the same wavelength,Sometimes I think he is meYour pants? No, my shoes. Hey, that’s my cap!6-4-3, 6-4-3, 6-4-3 . . .” “LOUSY! . . . BOOO! . . . I don’t get it.”

“All right. Gibson. Your turn.”

“Nah. I don’t feel like it.”

“Gib-yyyyy . . . “

“Aw, hell. Take me out to the ballgame,On second thought, I’ll drive myself,Give me some fastballs ’bout letter-highThrow at my head and I’ll knock out your eye,I got married and got lots of money,But it hasn’t affected my swing.So it’s one, two, three over the fenceGod I hate to sing.” “YEE-HAH! . . . Call Willie Nelson . . . HOO!”

“Not bad, Gibson. All right. All you chewing tobacco guys. Brookens, Bergman. Hit it.”

“Cough . . . cough . . . (spit) . . . Take us out to the ball gameGive us our gloves and our cupsBuy us some Red Man so we can chewGet us mad and we’ll spit on your shoe,Cause it’s chaw, chaw, chaw for the TigersBetween the cheek and the gumWin, win, we’re gonna win,Or you can suck your thumb . . . Ptew!” “Great. Now I have to change uniforms. All right. Where’s my starting pitchers? Jack, Dan, Walt, Frank, Dave. You guys are getting a lot of ink. So make it good now.”

“Good evening folks . . . la-la-la-laaaaa . . . Take us out to the ball gameWe’re at home on the mound,Low and away is an absolute must,Don’t want no balls flying ooo-ver us,Just consider us The Armed ForcesWhat a great place to startCause it’s down, down, down ERAPick that strike zone a- parrrrt.” “BOR-RING! . . . give ’em the hook . . . BOO!”

“Now fellas. I think you know this man. Tom Monaghan, the team owner. He has a verse too.”

“Thanks Sparky. Oh, this is fun. A-hem . . . Take me out to the ball game.Or bring the ballgame to me,Buy me some pizza and some more pizza,And maybe a Coke and some more pizza,Cause I know, this year we will win it,It’s too expensive to lose,So it’s mushrooms, peppers and extra cheeseHey, put down that hot dog.” “Uh, thank you Mr. Monaghan.”

“Certainly. Now let’s go get ’em, shall we?”

“YAH! . . . GRRRR! . . . HERE WE COME! . . .”

“Hey, I didn’t get a verse, man.”

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