Celebrities love sports. Celebrities have lots of money. Celebrities can afford to attend the World Series, even if it’s taking place at Chicago’s Wrigley Field—the first time since 1945 the Cubs have hosted any kind of World Series games—with an average ticket resale price of a student loan. (Some of them probably accepted their tickets for free, which is Bad, but it’s hard to blame them.) The celebrities were on hand to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” too, which leads the seventh inning for every Cubs game. Despite all the celebs who’ve been around, only a few got a chance to belt it out in front of the militant faithful. But who did it best?
3. Vince Vaughn
This was bad. The Cubs had just given up a more-or-less game-ending home run to go down 7-1 with two innings left, and the unbeatable Indians bullpen on deck. They were not winning this one. The people would soon be spilling out into the Wrigleyville night, dressed in their “drunk Chicago Cubs fans” outfits, despairing and despondent and looking for a police animal to punch. Poor Vince Vaughn, whose best comedy plays as the rakish underdog, didn’t have a chance at rousing the crowd out of its stupor.
But he tried. He mimicked the late Harry Caray; he did an admirable speak-sing rendition of the lyrics in the tone of a man trying to cheer up his bawling child. There were shots of the crowd looking bored, singing along in a perfunctory fashion, checking their phone, but they were playing along. “Let’s win this thing!” Vaughn yelled, convincing no one. “Let’s do this! Let’s do this! Here we go!”
The Cubs lost, 7-2.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 30, 2016
2. Eddie Vedder
Vedder is the working man’s rock star, which is why he dedicated his performance to the most working man Cub: catcher David Ross, who resembles a coal miner and will retire whenever the World Series. A regular guy. “Let’s sing it for him!” Vedder said. “Let’s sing it for Harry!” He turned the song into a slow dirge, but there were more smiles on the faces of the crowd. The Cubs were winning—it was a tight game, it seemed like they might blow it, but they were leading, which was good enough. There was even a reaction shot of Bill Murray, which didn’t come during Vaughn’s rendition. (Presumably, Murray looked sad at the time.)
It was the right tone for the moment—sturdy, confident, funereal in an anticipatory sense. The fans weren’t deliriously optimistic about their chances, but they felt strong. Pearl Jam may never be as fondly remembered as Nirvana, but Vedder did this better than Kurt Cobain ever would have.
The Cubs pulled this off, 3-2.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 31, 2016
1. Bill Murray
The cult of Bill Murray is weird. Websites like the Chive have adopted Murray as a mascot because of his “what’s good with me, man” attitude, as though being a beered-up, humanist louch is the whole point of Murray’s admittedly excellent work. But whatever: Murray’s reputation as lubricated facilitator of good times was enhanced with his unhinged performance, which came with a tossed-off monologue and a Daffy Duck impersonation. Aside from Barack and Michelle Obama, Murray is probably the only Chicago celebrity who would be given the whole benefit of the doubt for shouting whatever he wanted into the microphone. “Hooting over the P.A. at the World Series” is surely a lifelong goal for many a Chicago drunk; Murray did it, winning the crowd’s enthusiasm even with the Cubs down a run.
Also, it’s very impressive to sing in the Daffy Duck voice, even for a few lines.
Alas, the Cubs lost, 1-0.