“The fat lady sang. Actually, she screeched. Then she scratched her crotch and spat,” wrote Sports Illustrated. In 1990, comedian Roseanne Barr was booed by fans at San Diego Padres-Cincinnati Reds game at Jack Murphy Stadium. She later claimed that she was initially having trouble hearing herself over the public-address system, so her solution was to plug her ears with her fingers and sing as loudly as possible.
Her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was not well-received, but her behavior following the song impounded her faux pas. Barr mimicked the often-seen actions of baseball players by spitting and grabbing her crotch as if adjusting a protective cup. Barr’s husband, Tom Arnold, later made a ceremonial pitch, but Barr got more boos as she waved to the crowd and left with him.
Barr had been encouraged by baseball officials to “bring humor to the song”, but the routine offended many, including the players on the field. The popular sit-com comedian was public enemy number one. President George H.W. Bush called it “disgusting” and “a disgrace”. Barr never apologized, and remained defiant. In her 1994 book, “My Lives”, she wrote “I think I did great and people wanted more” and “I’m not Anne Frank, gotta hide out because the PC police are gonna find me and kill me. I’m an American, and that is my song, too. What you gotta be – Pavarotti (who sometimes lip-syncs, by the way), or Liza or Barbra to sing the national anthem?”