Skip to main content

Ballad Of A Ballgame

Ballad of a Ballgame
Words and Music by Christine Lavin
Copyright 1987 Flip-A-Jig Music (ASCAP), Happy Valley Music (BMI)

Do you remember that song by Janis Ian
The one where she complains about
Not getting chosen for the basketball team?
Remember? For those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball?
I would have written about that except she done it first
'Cuz when you're five foot two... okay five one and a half
And everybody else in the whole gym class
Is five foot three and even taller
It hurts

Truth is, I hadn't thought about that for years
And then a recent phone call rekindled all those fears
A softball game Robin said
And you're invited
Softball! Great! That's my game
Why, Softball's practically my middle name
I'll be right over I said
Sounding excited
Even though..
I can't throw
I can't hit
I can't run
I admit
I can't catch
I can't pitch
In softball
I haven't found my niche

But I don't let details get in my way
Team sports (grunt) that's what I loves to play
So I got dressed
I got my sneakers tied
Made it to the park in time
For choosing sides

Pick me, Pick me, Pick me, Pick me, Pick me
Pick me, Pick me, Pick me, Pick me, Pick me
Glove? Ya, I own a glove, but I didn't bring it
Because it's being repaired, but I can always borrow from the other team
Pick me, Pick me, Pick me, Pick me, Pick me

This part goes on for quite a while 'cause twenty people showed up
to play, and they picked ten to a side. So as the ranks of the unchosen
were depleted and the ranks of the chosen swelled, and I was still
standing there... Tried to act really casual y'know... Looked down at
the ground... Looked up at the sky... Noticed clouds were rolling in...
A wind had kicked up off the river... a bad sign...

Well Deja Vu I was the last one chosen
Even after 'her highness' Falicity Rosen
They put me in a field so far out into the right
I was practically out of sight
But everybody said I had a real good day
I didn't make any errors
I didn't make any plays
You see, the ball never actually came out my way
And I figured the afternoon was gonna end this way.

Now, coming up to bat was a whole different kind of humbling
experience. I took one swing and missed which was no surprise. I took
another swing and missed. That was no surprise. Then I practiced
strategy. I let one go by. It was called a ball, and I had a proud
moment! Which didn't last long 'cause then the pitcher threw one I just
couldn't resist. I swung, and I actually hit it! But it was a
pathetic little dribbler right back to the mound and the pitcher threw
it over to first base and I was OUT, which again is no surprise but as I
was walking to the bench to pick up my glove, the captain of the other
team says to the captain of my team "Hey - it's okay - she doesn't know
how to play so we won't count her outs" and I turned around and said
"No wait a minute - I WANT my outs to count! I WANT you to count my
outs!" Which made me instantly unpopular with my whole team. So I said

Oh I get it, Don't count my outs
That's good strategy too
It makes me feel so special
Thank you very much,
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

Well eventually I resumed my place in the outfield and continued  
watching the dandelions grow and blossom and turn into puffs and blow
away in the chilly wind. Watched the clouds above me spelling doom in
the sky. And it wasn't long before I began to question my worth as a
human being, and my reason for living...

And then Top of the 7th
Two on
Two out
A crack of the bat
A mighty clout
My whole team turned and cringed to see
That speeding ball heading vaguely toward me
I ran as fast as I could
I said a prayer
I stuck out my glove
The ball landed in there
No one could believe it on either team
They hooped and hollered and stomped and screamed
And even total strangers watching clapped and cheered
Aware that god had performed a miracle here
I was carried to the bench
I was handed a beer
And then the clouds broke apart
And the sun reappeared
Well, I'm exaggerating about the sun coming out
But it felt like it did in my heart because
I wanted to live again

Oh by the way
We lost that game seventeen to three
But I considered it a moral victory
And Janis Ian wherever you might be
Take heart
There's hope for you
'Cuz there's hope for me!

Oh Take me out to the ballgame
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts
I'll buy you Cracker Jacks
As long as you count my outs when I come up to bat
Oh now it's root root root
Root root root for both teams
Win or lose
Lose or win
We're all the same
Oh won't you
Please take me out
To the old ballgame
[She was all that she could be]
Come on
Please take me out
To the old ballgame