Top of the Morning, April 19, 2014
He can't sing a lick and is a diehard Cardinals fan.
So what was UI president Bob Easter thinking when he agreed to belt "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" — the seventh-inning anthem of the Cubs — during a high school baseball game today in Champaign?
"If I could get out of it, I would," Easter said with a laugh late Friday afternoon. "I am not a singer. I'm a monotone, so it will be a recitation."
This spring, Centennial High decided to bring in celebrities to sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at select home games. The lineup has pizazz: UI volleyball coach Kevin Hambly; radio personalities Brian Barnhart, Mike Haile and Brian Moline; Champaign mayor Don Gerard; and the family Tate — columnist Loren, his daughter Lori and son Travis, a former pitcher for the Chargers.
"I was astonished and excited by the reaction we got," said Doug Yoder, president of Centennial's baseball booster club. "Several of them said they can't sing worth a lick. I told them I'd be more than glad to turn up the music and drown them out."
That's fine and dandy with Easter, who said he sings regularly ... "to myself."
"After I was invited to do this, I sent an email to my wife: 'What do you think of this?'" Easter said. "She said 'This is really a bad idea.'"
"Sometimes you allow yourself to be humiliated for the good of the cause."
Easter still could get off the hook. It could rain (yeah, right — check out the sunny forecast on A-6). Or the game could end before his fifth-inning performance due to the mercy rule.
Bad news, Bob. Centennial said it'd bump your solo to earlier in the game if the score gets out of hand.
"The closer it gets," Easter said, "the more apprehensive I get."