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Eject The Organist

September 19, 2012

Perusing Baseball Think Factory this morning, I came across this link to an article in Slate about the apparently repeated practice of minor league umpires ejecting organists who dare to play “Three Blind Mice” in response to a blown call:

Consider Mario Seneca. Last month, the minor league umpire ejected a Daytona Cubs intern after the 21-year-old University of Illinois student dared to play “Three Blind Mice” over the park’s public address system in protest of a close call. As you can hear in the video below, Seneca points to the sky and shouts “You’re gone!” The reaction of the Cubs’ broadcaster: “That is absolutely awesome!”

Despite the quotidian nature of these vision-related insults, “Three Blind Mice” has always had a special power to enrage. Umpires have been chucking anyone with the temerity to so much as hum the song since at least 1936. According to an Associated Press report from July of that year, umpire and Norman Rockwell subject Beans Reardon “chased [pitcher] Jim Weaver off the Pittsburgh bench” for singing the song, proving that if catchers wear the tools of ignorance, umpires don the tools of sensitivity. In 1941, the Cubs expanded the possibility of song-based heckling by introducing the first ballpark organ. Though Wrigley Field ivory tickler Roy Nelson stuck to friendlier fare, the musicians weren’t as kind in Brooklyn. In May 1942, Ebbets Field’s Gladys Goodding welcomed Bill Stewart, Ziggy Sears, and Tom Dunn to the field with umps’ least-favorite nursery rhyme. “It was a request number from a fan,” UPI reported.

I’d like to see them try to eject Art Blakey.

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