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Disco demolition memories fine by Faust

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 10:34 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 7:42 a.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Longtime former White Sox organist Nancy Faust, in her third season playing before and during Cougars’ Sunday home games, relived some marquee moments from her past over the weekend.

GENEVA – Saturday's "Disco Demolition Night" anniversary naturally triggered "some colorful memories" from longtime former White Sox organist Nancy Faust.

She happily greeted a few more upon arriving at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark Sunday morning.

Faust's familiar round of "Sunday Funday" accompaniment helped the Cougars, Snappers and their fans get through playing two, just like the Sox used to.

"This is like Comiskey Park when I first started," Faust said. "Every Sunday game was a doubleheader. But they went nine innings. These are a little faster."

Per Midwest League rules, the Cougars and Snappers played a pair of seven-inning games. The Cougars earned a sweep, winning 3-1 and 6-5 in a combined 3 hours, 59 minutes of baseball.

While Cougars right-handers Jen-Ho Tseng and Paul Blackburn eased through Beloit's lineup, Faust embraced the challenge of keeping her musical whims and puns in tune for longer than usual.

Playing alongside a June 22 doubleheader between Kane County and Cedar Rapids provided a nice tune-up.

"I pay stricter attention at these games than I was paying for the last few years at the [White Sox] ballpark," Faust said. "Because there I was connected to a headset and there were so many activities, and it was more a matter of, 'Play, Nancy,' and I just would play. But now, I'm on my own to pay good attention. I can't let my mind wander here."

Daydreaming hardly stood a chance on July 12, 1979, as what initially was conceived as an innocent promotion between games of a doubleheader between the host White Sox and Detroit Tigers escalated into bedlam.

Sox executive Mike Veeck – son of then-owner Bill, a noted baseball visionary – hatched the idea. Some 60,000 fans crammed into Comiskey to explode disco records, but things shifted when many deviated from the itinerary and rushed the field, going wild.

Game 2 eventually was canceled.

"When it started, I wasn't aware that it was going to be out of hand, so I just went along with it," Faust said. "And I'm playing 'DUH, DUH, DUH…' when everybody's yelling, 'Disco sucks!' and it was a lot of fun. Next thing you know, you've got Bill Veeck pleading with people. 'Sit down. Take your seats.' "

Faust discussed the incident with considerably more calm.

"As time goes by, it's more of a historic, cultural event than it is an embarrassment," Faust said.

Not to mention a punchline whose staying power grows every July 12.

"At least [Faust] didn't have to be embarrassed," Mike Veeck laughed, "but I am tired of the old man getting lambasted for something he didn't do. It was my doing. He wouldn't know what disco was if it came up and bit him."

Bill Veeck died in January 1986, but chances are he'd have trouble escaping the teen-driven pop of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus if he were alive today.

To that end, Mike Veeck, the longtime president of the Class-A Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs, a New York Yankees affiliate, plans an organized destruction of those artists' discs on July 19.

"The idea is to have fun with it," Veeck said, "but I don't much care if it goes around the country or not."

Faust and her husband, Joe, laughed at the notion at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark over the weekend.

It was Veeck who had an indirect hand in Faust's involvement with the Cougars, as both were special guests on the club's "Night of 100 Promotions" in August 2011.

"That's why I'm still here, in fact. It went over so nicely and everybody was just go great that it just worked out," Faust said.

This marks Faust's third year of playing the organ before and during Sunday home games. She said she and club officials have yet to discuss a return for 2015, but her sunny persona and ease before a crowd makes that seem likely.

"All the ushers, they're always waving," Faust said. 'Good to see you back.' It just makes you want to come here. Makes you want to be part of the activities."

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