There Goes the Ball Game


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The story goes that in the summer of , he was riding the New York subway when he saw a sign: Was there a better example of a nationally shared experience than a ball game? Sheet music and piano rolls of the song flew out of music stores.

There Goes the Ballgame

What really knocked the song out of the park, of course, was its almost instant ubiquity at baseball stadiums across the country. Just to root for the home town crew, Ev'ry sou [common slang at the time for low-denomination coin] Katie blew.

There Goes the Ballgame

But as the verse progresses, the set-up unfolds with the gal telling her fella to forget the movie show because she wants to go to a ball game. In time, fans would forget the verses in favor of the catchy refrain.

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There Goes the Ball Game ()

Again, those words sat on the bench at games. Decades before product placement kickbacks became the norm, Norworth did a favor for Fritz and Louis Rueckheim, who manufactured a popular mixture of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts called Cracker Jack. Another way of thinking about it is that having a ball game is synonymous with having a competitive matchup that is fair and interesting to watch.

This phrase has been borrowed from sports jargon and is commonly applied to other competitions, such as a close political race. When "we DON'T have a ball game," it suggests that the "match" is one-sided.

The Story Behind "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" (Also: Lost Verses!)

Say one team is leading another in an American baseball game In professional games, at least, that represents almost a sure win for the first team. But suppose the occurrence of the unlikely event that the trailing team hits a "grand slam" home run for four points. Now, it's , not , and the formerly one-sided game is suddenly "competitive" especially since the trailing team is still "at bat," and might add more runs.

Similary, " I have a meeting.

There Goes The Ball Game

Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Donalen 18 1 3.


  • a whole new ball game;
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Since even the person who said this to OP couldn't explain what he meant, I'm afraid I'm duty-bound to vote to close as "too localised". I think your vote to close is premature. People often repeat expressions they've heard without completely understanding their meaning. Yes, but it seems very likely that in this case the original speaker not only didn't understand what he himself meant - he was quite probably misrepeating some version of "We've got a whole new ball game". I find no instances in Google Books of "We've got a ball game" followed by, for example, now, going or any other word consistent with it not being a straightforward literal statement as in I agree with closing this; the answers illustrate how unclear the question is.

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When the state of affairs change dramatically and presents new opportunities. James Waldby - jwpat7 I agree this is a common idiom taken from sports jargon, but I don't believe this is the phrase referred to by the OP.


  1. There Goes The Ball Game lyrics;
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  5. I retracted my downvote. Though I have mixed feelings about having what I think is my correct interpretation of the question folded into someone else's answer.


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    6. Since your answer was already chosen, I suppose it's all good. Perhaps you'd be so good as to track down a few more instances where OP's "cut-down" version could be anything different to, say, a boxing commentator saying "We've got a boxing match" halfway through the fight.

      Which would simply mean that the earlier rounds weren't much of a contest, but would in no way imply that "We've got a boxing match" was something worthy of consideration here on ELU. Whereas jwpat7 is spot-on in pointing out that "

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