“All Up For The Lucky Seventh”

There are three lessons I hope you will learn from The Baseball Bloggess today:

1) The Seventh Inning Stretch has a special place in baseball history. It’s been around longer than you have. It’s what sets baseball apart from sports that make no demands of its fans.

2) The Seventh Inning Stretch is not a suggestion. It is not an invitation. It is a requirement. It is a job. Your job. All the instruction that you need can be found in its title. During the seventh inning, you stretch. It’s not hard to figure out. It’s not the balk rule, people. It’s simple.

Who – You.

What – Stretch.

Where – Are you here? Then, here.

When – The Seventh Inning.

Even a cat could figure it out.

3) Sitting can kill.

If you don’t stand for the Seventh Inning Stretch you are damaging your own heart and breaking mine.

We were at Game Three of the University of Virginia’s Blue vs. Orange Fall Ball series on Thursday. Although the afternoon was beautiful and the game was free, the place was not packed, but there were people there. More than just Editor/Husband and me. Let’s say 100 … 100 people.

This is true. 100 percent true. In the middle of the seventh the PA announcer said what he always says in the middle of the seventh, “Let’s all get up and stretch.”  And, we did, Editor/Husband and me.

We did. And, no one else. No one.

I looked around and felt a little stupid … people were staring at us. They were looking at us in a, “Oh, bless their hearts” sort of way and not in a, “Look! It’s The Baseball Bloggess and Editor/Husband! We are among greatness today” sort of way. I felt a little uncomfortable standing up. I’m pretty sure people were laughing at us.

Seriously? As Aretha would say, all I’m asking is for a little respect for the game.

First, history.

Let’s get the #FakeNews out of the way. President Taft, indeed, was a baseball fan.

Library of Congress

In 1910, he became the first President to throw out a first pitch to begin the season.

But, he did not invent the Seventh Inning Stretch in 1910 no matter what the internet tries to tell you.

It was around long before he was.

Here’s Harry Wright, center fielder for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in 1869.

Public Domain

Wright is the one in the center. Standing. (Standing.)

That year, Wright wrote this in a letter to a friend:

“The spectators all arise between halves of the seventh, extend their legs and arms, and sometimes walk about. In so doing they enjoy the relief afforded by relaxation from a long posture on the hard benches.”

“… extend their legs and arms, and sometimes walk about. …”

While plenty of stuff has changed since 1869, the basic rules of human ambulation have not. Extend legs and arms. Walk about. A little old fashioned, sure, but still the way we do things.

The Philadelphia Times, 6/2/1898

Before it was called the Seventh Inning Stretch, the inning was often known as the “Lucky Seventh” … the inning when a home team would, with a little luck, rally from a deficit, score needed “insurance runs,” or put the game away for good.

The Boston Globe, 7/1/1896

In 1896, The Boston Globe, reporting on a game between Boston and Washington, explained: “At the beginning of the seventh, even the women in the grand stand cheerfully responded to the call, ‘All up, for the Lucky Seventh.’”

All up.

Even the women.

All. Up.

All means you. If you can. I fully appreciate that some people cannot stand for the Seventh Inning Stretch. But, if you can, you do.

All. Up.

Tradition not good enough for you? Well, listen to John McGraw, one of baseball’s toughest, smartest, greatest.

Public Domain

McGraw was a member of the legendary Baltimore Orioles of the 1890’s. He later became player/manager of the New York Giants. Between 1902 and 1932 his Giants won 2,583 games, 10 pennants, and three World Series.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/13/1922

That Seventh Inning Stretch Is Great Stuff.

In 1922, McGraw explained the value of the Seventh Inning Stretch:

“Keeps you out in the open air. Doctors recommend it for heart trouble. Stretching in the seventh gives you a good chance to exercise flabby muscles. Puts pep into you. Stirs you up. Plenty of sunshine and green grass and thrills. It’s the best tonic in the world.”

A hundred years ago, McGraw knew what medical researchers have only just discovered.

Sitting can kill you.

Wait. What?!

If you live a sedentary lifestyle – if you sit around too much – you have a higher chance of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and experiencing depression and anxiety.

Who needs any of that?

“Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting,” warns Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working. “The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.

Look, I need all the readers I can get. I can’t afford to lose you.

So, let’s practice.

Let’s pretend it’s the middle of the seventh. Your home team is down one run. (If your home team happens to be the Baltimore Orioles, let’s say, 10 runs. Your Orioles are down by 10 runs. That sounds about right.)

Stand up.

Stretch.

Sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” (I know, I know. Why are you singing about being taken there since you’re already there? Tradition … that’s why.)  If you don’t know the words and are too lazy to Google them on the phone you’re still holding onto as you stand up, just hum.

(If you do sing it, please do it properly, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” It’s Jack. No “s”. Not Cracker Jacks. Cracker Jacks doesn’t make sense. Cracker Jack makes all the sense in the world.)

See?

Now, root-root-root for your home team. Because, if they don’t win it’s both a shame and your fault because you didn’t stand up.

You may sit down now.

There. That wasn’t hard.

P.S. Virginia’s Team Blue tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh, defeating Team Orange on Thursday 3-1. 

That was thanks in part to excellent cheer leading from the dugout …

Rally caps …

And, Editor/Husband and me. Because, we stood. And, stretched.

Photos: University of Virginia, Blue vs. Orange Fall Series. Charlottesville, Virginia. October 18, 2018. © The Baseball Bloggess

27 thoughts on ““All Up For The Lucky Seventh”

  1. And, for cryin’ out loud, sing the name of your team! It’s not “the home team”. It’s the team’s name. It’s not hard to figure out guys. If you don’t know the name of the team, don’t spend fifty bucks going to the game, put it in an envelope and send it to me! I’ll use it to go to a game, and when the Seventh Inning Stretch rolls around, I’ll sing the team’s name.

    (And yes, the same rule applies if you’re rooting for the visiting team. Why the hell would you sing about cheering for the opponent?)

    Ahem. Sorry. Hot button topic.

    • Oh, yes … absolutely. Although some team names are a mouthful, still, you’re absolutely right. I would also suggest that miming the “one-two-three strikes, you’re out” with one hand is a nice touch … not mandatory, but certainly a nice touch.

      (I should not tell you this, but at points this year at Orioles games, Editor/Husband would change the words to … “… it’s root, root, root for the Orioles, if they don’t win, who’s surprised?”)

      • In the interest of increasing blood flow and all those other exercise benefits, I think the one-handed “you’re out” should be the mandated minimum, with a full-body, extended routine a la “Police Squad” strongly encouraged.

        Okay, maybe not. But, yes, some physical motion should be involved. Don’t wait for the post-anthem dance moment. If all those pop stars can sing and dance at the same time, you can too.

        (And I think that wording change is justified. Just wait’ll next year!)

  2. Yikes! Who wouldn’t want to get up and stretch after sitting on a bench for seven and a half innings? Thank heavens the tradition was started. Perhaps the other attendees were simply suffering from the poor circulation caused by sitting on their brains for so long.

  3. Another excellent entry on a theme which unfortunately requires more attention lately than any serious fan would/could imagine. Why even go to a game if you’re not going to pay attention and respect its conventions and traditions? I approve this “rant”

    • It was so peculiar … someone said it was because it wasn’t a “real” game, but it was. People stood at Games 1 and 2. I can’t figure it out … just a perfect storm of mass laziness I guess. In any event, it felt really weird to be the only ones standing … maybe no one else cared, but I thought it was a pretty good game and I was ready to do my job. And, I think people at major league games do pretty well with the standing and stretching and singing and such.

  4. Loved this! I do not attend, but at home that is get up time…sign along with the 7th inning America the Beautiful song in addition to the Cracker Jack sing. It just perfectly times with my mandatory stand time! I agree, wonderful, needed rant!

    • I haven’t quite figured out “America The Beautiful” or “God Bless America” showing up in the 7th Inning … I know it’s a remnant of 9/11 … but it sort of seems like too much to me. Most teams have a special song that comes after “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” too. I know there are definitely some pitchers for the visiting team that get annoyed when the middle of the seventh gets so stretched out and they just want to start pitching while they’re still warm!

    • It really was bizarro world that day. I still don’t get it. Virginia fans know — and uphold — the 7th Inning Stretch rules, so I don’t know what laziness got into people that day. Maybe because the small number of people were so scattered around the park? Still … it’s pretty easy to just stand up. And, good for you! :)

    • Ha … Your fitbit line made me laugh! I know the science says they don’t really get people more active because basically they only count steps, but not the quality or intensity of movement. I teach some vigorous Yoga classes, but my students with Fitbits complain they don’t recognize their workout, so before class I’ve seen some students marching in place simply to pick up some steps. Not sure that standing for the 7th Inning Stretch will make anyone fit … but it’s far better than just sitting! :)

  5. Awesome post! OK, unrelated. Cap on or off. National anthem. No brainer. God Bless America? No where in US Code is it required, yet many (most) remove their caps. I don’t. Nice song, Kate Smith knocked it out of the ballpark with her rendition, but it’s not our national anthem. Am I a cretin??

    • I think “God Bless America” served its purpose 17 years ago. But, it seems unwieldy and weird now in the middle of the game. The national anthem isn’t patriotic enough? I was pleased when the Orioles swapped out “God Bless America” for Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” complete with a video of Americans of all colors and persuasions. But “God Bless” was back the last time I was there. One step forward, one step back.

  6. “Because, if they don’t win it’s both a shame and your fault because you didn’t stand up.” I cried. I laughed so hard, and thought I could hear what I imagine your voice sounds like saying it. Thank you so much for giving voice to what’s in my baseball brain. Fantastic work!

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