Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a movie musical released in 1949, starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. Sinatra plays Dennis “Denny” Ryan, while Kelly plays Eddie O’Brien, and the two play second base and shortstop respectively for the Chicago Wolves. Denny and Eddie are also vaudevillians, performing on stage during the off season and breaking out into song at intervals throughout the film.
The movie opens with Denny and Eddie performing Jack Norworth’s “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on stage, and immediately upon the end of the performance, they have to quickly hop a train to head to spring training. Upon their arrival, they learn that the team has a new owner: K.C. Higgins. The Wolves are stunned to discover that “K.C.” stands for Katherine Catherine, and their new owner is a woman.
Katherine, it turns out, knows her baseball, and it doesn’t take long for Denny and Eddie to both fall in love with her. Meanwhile, Wolves fan Shirley Delwyn develops a crush on Denny, and she is relentless in her pursuit of his affections. Shirley invites the entire Wolves team to a clambake, and at the party, Eddie’s dancing and singing draws the attention of Joe Lorgan, a gambler.
Lorgan offers Eddie a job performing nights at a new café he is opening up, which Eddie accepts against his better judgment. Due to the lack of sleep from sneaking out nights, Eddie’s performance on the diamond suffers, and the Wolves’ chances at winning the pennant start looking bleak. Realizing he’s affecting the team as a whole, Eddie tells Lorgan that he’s quitting the nighttime gig.
Meanwhile, having no knowledge of Eddie’s late-night activities, Katherine believes his issues on the field stem from a lack of fun. In an effort to get the team back on track, Katherine offers to date Eddie. When Lorgan shows up to confront Eddie and finds him with Katherine, he reveals to her that Eddie had been singing and dancing nights with a team of girls. Katherine benches Eddie, and Eddie realizes that Lorgan was deliberately trying to make the Wolves lose so that he could win a bet he had placed against the team.
While I don’t want to give away the ending to any future viewers, after a series of events involving a bean ball and a couple of fake doctors, things work out in the end for the Wolves and for our two heroes.
As for me, I found this movie highly entertaining. Comedy and energy permeate the plot, and the tunes have a way of sticking with you even after the movie is over. It’s lighthearted and fun and a worthwhile way to spend 90 minutes of your day.