The Associated Press – August 9, 2001
CHICAGO – More than 300 “guest conductors” have led the crowd at Wrigley Field in singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch.
When former Chicago Bears tackle Steve McMichael got his chance, he did what the likes of Bill Murray, George Foreman or a purple dinosaur named Barney had never done. An umpire had him removed from the building.
On Tuesday night, McMichael, who is now involved in professional wrestling and whose nicknames include “Mongo” and “Ming the Merciless,” made an editorial comment about a call by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez that ended the previous inning.
“And don’t worry, I’ll have some speaks with that home plate umpire after the game,” McMichael said just before breaking into the song that became a longtime Wrigley Field tradition under the late Harry Caray.
The statement was met with a roar of approval from the crowd, but Hernandez appeared angry and signaled for McMichael’s ejection. According to Cubs officials, Hernandez asked crew chief Randy Marsh to call the pressbox and ask that McMichael be removed.
McMichael left without incident, according to John McDonough, the team’s vice president of marketing and broadcasting. He said McMichael was planning to leave after he sang anyway.
In fact, McMichael said he didn’t know about any ejection until later Tuesday night when he was watching the end of the game in a restaurant owned by his former coach, Mike Ditka.
“Then I heard on TV they say the ump asked the people to get him out of here or the Cubs were going to forfeit the game,” he said Wednesday afternoon before appearing on a radio talk show.
McDonough said the team wasn’t pleased with McMichael’s comment and issued an apology. But he said he didn’t think McMichael “was trying to incite anything whatsoever” with his comment.
“There was so much emotion and I think Steve got caught up in the moment,” McDonough said.
McMichael, a fan favorite when he played with the Bears from 1981-93, said he was simply joking around.
And while he apologized to the Cubs for any embarrassment he might have caused, he wasn’t apologizing to Hernandez. He even suggested the umpire should thank him.
“They stopped booing him and started cheering me,” he said on the radio program.