The song expresses sadness at the loss of a baseball team and its ballpark, which once gave its fans and players joy, along with other childhood delights such as "rock candy and a great big Fourth of July".
A key phrase in the song is "Now the children try to find it / And they can't believe their eyes / For the old team just isn't playing / And the new team hardly tries."
The song has often been cited by books and websites that discuss old-time baseball. It is typically assumed to be about Ebbets Field and the Brooklyn Dodgers, as contrasted with the New York Mets (who, ironically, won the National League pennant in 1973), although it could be about any ballpark and team.
The song can also be seen as a metaphor for any kind of loss, as suggested by the next-to-last line in the song, which is not necessarily connected with baseball: "And the sky has got so cloudy, when it used to be so clear..."
It was used in the HBO documentary Brooklyn Dodgers: Ghosts of Flatbush.