April 22, 2006

CHANGE IS ALWAYS BAD, BUT ESPECIALLY IN BASEBALL:

To many, organs give life to baseball (Scott Merkin, 04/21/2006, MLB.com)

White Sox organist Nancy Faust could be described as one part entertainer, one part musician and one part mad scientist. How else could the following scenario be explained?

Let's say, for example, Cleveland's Travis Hafner is stepping to the plate at U.S. Cellular Field. What music does Faust immediately decide to play for the Indians slugger? Her choice is either J. Geils' "Centerfold" or Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer," of course.

"Livin' on a Prayer" has the lyric "We're halfway there," thus relating somewhat to HAF-ner. But "Centerfold?"

"Because of Hugh Hefner," said Faust with a laugh, referring to how Hafner and Hefner have very similar last names. "That's the way my little brain works."

Faust's little brain has been working as part of the White Sox organization since 1970, when as a psychology major at North Park College, she listened to her friends and wrote a letter to the team about becoming the organist at Comiskey Park. She was hired almost immediately and only missed time out of her booth on the main concourse for the birth of her son during close to four decades on the job.

That stretch of consecutive workdays came to an end for Faust last Friday night, by her own choice. With television cameras and friends sitting around with her husband at their farm in Mundelein, Ill., Faust began her new employment structure of only working day games.

While Faust made the call in this particular situation, other organists around baseball have gradually been moved out of their position or reduced to lesser in-game roles. It's not exactly a bitter switch, but more an indication of the changing times and cultural tastes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 22, 2006 9:42 AM
Comments

She's the best. Disappointing that she's scaled back tho.

I mean she's a spring chicken. Bob Sheppard is 95 and is still the Yankees announcer. Suck it up babe.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 22, 2006 11:20 AM

And if you've known her a decade or so she'll do special requests for you.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at April 22, 2006 11:39 AM

While Faust made the call in this particular situation, other organists around baseball have gradually been moved out of their position or reduced to lesser in-game roles.

Lambert Bartek has been the organist at Omaha's AAA ballpark since my dad was young. The guy has to be three hundred years old and he's still going strong, so what's this lady's excuse?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 22, 2006 4:23 PM

April and early may used to be workaholic month for the late Eddie Layton. He'd either do a mid-week afternoon Yankees game, followed by a Knick or Rangers playoff game, while on the Saturday, it would often be the other way around -- daytime playoff game, followed by a nighttime baseball game
(though when the two conflicted, Layton's replacements were generally pretty awful).

Posted by: John at April 22, 2006 6:18 PM

If he'd only stuck around John. Eddie wouldn't have had to worry about being over-worked in April and May, what with the disaster the Knicks have become, and the Rangers failures since they won the Cup in '94. (And with today's performance the Rangers look to be well on their way to the golf course this April).

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 22, 2006 6:25 PM

Her all-time greatest moment came in the 1970's. When the Orioles trainer 5'6" 305 lb Bob Salve ran out on the field to tend to an injured player she played Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move". Even the injured player laughed.

Even a Cub fan like me thinks she's the greatest. I'm sure Raoul has other stories.

Posted by: jeff at April 22, 2006 10:15 PM
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