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How to Thwart God Bless America

Ever wondered how you can countervene God Bless America, the seminal song of American folk lore and, in more recent years, an extended break between the top and bottom half of the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium? It takes a lawsuit.

According to the New York Post, Bradford Campeau-Laurion, a Red Sox fan who happens to live in Queens, sued the Yankees and New York City after being thrown out of a game last year when he got up to use the restroom halfway through the incredibly elongated, live version of God Bless America that the Yankees trot out every game.

During a game last season, Campeau-Laurion left his seat during the song, "violating" a call for fans to be still for the patriotic anthem. He was quickly thrown out of the stadium by two uniformed New York police officers, one of whom told him to, "Get out of my country."

The suit clears the way for fans to get up and use the restroom whenever the want during a game, which, of course, they should have been able to do already. The ruling also made Campeau-Laurion a somewhat richer man, earning $10,001 from the city for the behavior of the officers.

Hey, maybe now he can afford a seat to one of the Yankees-Red Sox games in August!

As much as it may seem bizarre and out of the blue, the lawsuit isn't the first time the Yankees' performance of God Bless America has come under fire.

The team began having performers play God Bless America back in 2001, after 9/11, and the move immediately earned the organization plaudits for its patriotism and decorum. But when the team continued to play the song every game the next year, opponents began complaining about the lengthy delay it causes so late in a game. Perhaps most notably, then Twins ace Johan Santana and his former manager, Ron Gardenhire complained about it more than once in 2004, claiming that it was a significant tactical advantage for New York.

By Cameron Smith  |  July 8, 2009; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  Yankees  | Tags: God Bless America, Red Sox, Yankee Stadium, Yankees, lawsuit  
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Gee, I hope I don't get chucked out the next time I go for an ice cream during "Thank god I'm a Country Boy."

Posted by: capecodner424 | July 8, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

God Bless America doesn't belong in Baseball - it needs to go. Anyone know if this is a team level decision, or something from the commissioner?

Posted by: CajunD | July 8, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

This will probably be the only time in my life I side with a sox fan. GBA needs to go--it kills me everytime they play it at nats games. I refuse to stand and I refuse to take off my hat. It's NOT the national anthem, of which I am highly respectful. I have been literally screamed at by other fans for not standing. Hey, I'm at a baseball game. Drinking a beer. Clearly I love america. But GBA needs to go.

Posted by: WrongDog | July 8, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

WrongDog, those who screamed at you do not know flag etiquette. Removing your cap and saluting during God Bless America is not proper. The only appropriate time to salute during the playing of a song is when that song is the National Anthem. As Yogi Berra says about baseball statistics, "you could look it up" in the Flag Code.

FYI, should you be at a hockey game, or on hand when the Blue Jays come to a U.S. ballpark, the proper and respectful way to acknowledge Canada or any other friendly country is like this. When their anthem is played, it is proper to stand and remove your cap as a mark of respect. Military personnel would stand at attention for the same reason. BUT YOU DO NOT SALUTE. Remain standing after their anthem finishes and then salute (if a civilian, place your hat or your hand over your heart) at the start of the Star Spangled Banner.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 8, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. God Bless America at the ballpark messes with the tone of the 7th Inning Stretch. If they really want to sing GBA - to which I would still object, except perhaps on Memorial Day and July 4 - they should pick another inning.

Every stadium flies the flag, and we sing the National Anthem prior to each game. God Bless America and other displays of patriotism more appropriately belong to parades and civil ceremonies than to a day/evening at the ballpark. Forced displays of patriotism have no place in a free country.

Now, if these teams really want to do something patriotic, perhaps they can donate a day's payroll to the medical treatment of our veterans. For that I'd be glad to pause and sing, "God Bless America," and perhaps even "I'm Proud To Be An American."

FYI, a single game's payroll for the Nats: $369,925
For the Yankees: $1,243,513

Posted by: chrisduckworth | July 8, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Take Me Out to the Ballgame should replace the National Anthem as our National Song. It is the only one I can sing and embodies all our national values. That way, we could dispense with God Bless America in the 7th inning stretch, and the bullying by the patriotic morals police. Also, the Nationals have not won a game since a young lady butchered God Bless America last Sunday. It sounded like atonal music. So, by having to sing a song on Sunday, you risk angering God and America. It's just too dangerous, and if you don't think so, you weren't listening to the Nats get swept by the Rockies this afternoon.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Thirty-five years ago Albert Brooks, in his pre-acting days, did a stand-up routine about the search for a new national anthem.

I still remember one of the versions auditioned. Sing along to the tune of "The Star Spangled Banner" to..."As we all stand here waiting for the ballgame to start..."

The album this appeared on was "Comedy Minus One", but you can find his "New National Anthem" routine with a quick web search.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 9, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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