1. It celebrates a racist sport, having originally been written back in 1908 when baseball was still segregated and African-Americans were barred from the major leagues. Baseball’s subsequent integration cannot erase this song’s tainted origins.
2. The song is about a young lady named Katie Casey or Nelly Kelly (depending on the version) who was keen on baseball. It not only relies on gender-role traditionalism for its premise, but is also culturally insensitive toward persons of Irish ancestry.
3. In the song, the protagonist asks her young man to “take me out to the ball game” and “buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,” displaying a totally outdated sexist attitude. Why can’t she take herself out to the ball game and buy her own peanuts and cracker jack? Or she could take a friend, without regard to gender identity.
4. As originally written, the song describes this lady as being “baseball mad—had the fever and had it bad”. This is not only demeaning to those with real mental health problems, but also disrespectful to the millions of people who die of infectious diseases each year.
5. According to the song, Katie (or Nelly) “told the umpire he was wrong, all along, good and strong.” Such disruptive behavior and disrespect for authority should not be condoned, much less celebrated.
6. The words “root, root, root for the home team—if they don’t win it’s a shame,” encourage pure partisanship, perpetuating baseball’s inherent unfairness arising from the home team advantage. If the best team doesn’t win it’s a shame; statistically, in 50% of games that won’t be the home team. In addition, this line overemphasizes the importance of winning, at the expense of the fair play and fun that should be the primary objectives of what is, after all, just a game.
7. The references to peanuts and cracker jack are socially irresponsible: they encourage unhealthy eating habits, while deliberately ignoring the imperialism, environmental impact and human rights abuses associated with peanut farming. Also, the eating of peanuts could prove fatal to nearby spectators with allergies, and the toys formerly included in cracker jack boxes have been a significant contributor to oceanic plastic pollution.
8. The song is the inauthentic product of cultural appropriation; its writers had never attended a major league ball game.
9. The song is now out of copyright. Perpetuating its popularity deprives struggling present-day songwriters of an opportunity to earn royalties.
10. Most troubling of all is the line “I don’t care if I never get back.” Apart from its dangerist implications, this is female submissivism at its worst. The singer is prepared to risk death (and perhaps a worse fate) just in order to watch baseball. Her priorities are clearly in need of adjustment.