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WSI's FLYINGSOCK.COM.  Chicago White Sox coverage with totally biased attitude!

Eighty-Three Years and Waiting


Nancy Faust:
Last Sox Fans' Icon

by George Bova

There’s not much a true Sox fan takes for granted.  When in doubt, expect the worst possible outcome whenever the matter at hand is in doubt.  If Britt Burns pitches nine innings in a scoreless playoff game, we Sox fans aren’t surprised when Britt is trotted out one more time to get hit in the tenth.  If the front office stumbles into an everyday lineup that represents the club’s best hope for a new winning dynasty, we Sox fans are hardly surprised our owner chooses to pursue a labor war instead.  This is our lot and sanity dictates only the most realistic view of our plight.

Many of us pine for what was lost nine seasons ago when the last game was played at Old Comiskey Park.  Time marches on and we’re left with only our memories of what we so enjoyed in the past.  New fun and new traditions are promised in modern times.  The Sox’s front office will somehow solve how to make us fans appreciate the baseball shopping mall Illinois taxpayers built for us in 1991.  After eight seasons of stonewalling the issue, the Sox finally emerged from their denial and publicly admitted they were looking at ways to improve the ambience of New Comiskey Park.  The Sox front office is a collection of miserable dogs, but they are trainable if we persist in gently commanding, “No!” each time they appear ready to pee on the carpet.  They relish trampling our team’s traditions and leave bitterness in their wake, but we can hope for the best.

Only one Sox fans’ icon has survived nineteen years of the current owners’ front office foolishness -- Nancy Faust.  She has earned her perennial perch inside Comiskey Park as the club’s talented and innovative organist.  She’s done it with an entertaining style that has not passed from fashion for thirty seasons.  Thank goodness she is still with us!

You might be amazed that she has chosen to stick around this long.  Don’t be.  Even back in 1972, Nancy hoped she could remain the Sox organist forever.  She’s lasted because her routine has never gotten stale.  She was playing the Fifth Dimension in 1971 and she’s playing Smashing Pumpkins today.  The lady is timeless.  There are 350 ballplayers in the American League and most of them don’t last for more than a couple of years.  Nancy still manages to create a clever organ ditty for nearly all of them.  Sox fans play the song over and over inside their heads trying to recall the title and what the connection is to the play on the field.  There is not a single Sox fan that wouldn’t recognize it as a unique and integral part of their Comiskey experience – right there with exploding scoreboards and Saturday night fireworks.

She is a Sox fan’s treasure and a baseball original, making her music the most unique and recognizable of any in the major leagues.  Her most popular songs and traditions have been endlessly copied.  Fans across America now stand and cheer their team’s impending victories to the tune “Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Good Bye”.  Beyond pleasing casual fans, Nancy reserves special rewards for the true aficionados of her craft.  Comiskey is the only major league ballpark where baseball fans will ever hear the final few bars to the acid rock classic, “In La Gadda Da Vida”.  This was originally Pete Incaviglia’s ditty, but has become too popular to stop playing.  Chris Berman is considered a genius amongst Baby Boomers for shoving this famous old song title down our throats in his high-decibel ESPN routine.  Nancy slyly places it into her regular repertoire, known and appreciated only by those truly paying attention.

So she endures – the one and only Sox organist for thirty seasons.  Her music has played through fourteen managers, six uniform designs, and three ownership groups.  We Sox fans aren’t used to our team icons lasting so long.  This Sox front office always manages to chase them off.  We loved Harry Carey but he left us amidst great acrimony with the front office in 1981.  Bill Veeck was another fan favorite who went to his grave without ever mending the broken fences created by the insults and slights he felt from the current owners.  For over a decade Carlton Fisk commanded the team’s clubhouse and Sox fans’ respect, but not even he could not be given a graceful exit.  Pudge was unceremoniously cut and shown the door in Cleveland the very first day of a road trip.  Guilty as charged, this front office can be cold and vindictive.  Nancy isn’t so much indispensable to them as she is simply a survivor of their goofy reign.  Clearly they are capable of foolish public relations moves.  So far they haven’t made a move on her.

Beware, however, what waits around the corner.  An unending set of dot race permutations now litters the entertainment between innings.  Rock’n roll blares during each home half of the inning.  Nancy’s organ time is mostly restricted to the visitor’s at-bats.  More ominously, a no-talent fat man now captures a larger share of Comiskey’s entertainment program.  In shameless self-promotion, he passes out white socks and implores his “fans” to swing the freebies in a show of support.  If he is so damned popular, why don’t the fans bring their own socks?  His lamest bit takes place in center field with a contestant stuffing “Sox Cash” into their shorts.  The dope doesn’t know the difference between a major league ballpark and an NBA arena.   Sox fans strain to watch the tiny little spectacle five hundred feet away.   The Sox only make it worse by showing the silliness on the jumbotron screen.  Time to change the channel!

The front office has gradually given this no-talent fool more and more entertainment time while cutting that available to Nancy.  It seems they can’t move fast enough to trample every last tradition we Sox fans value and cherish.  Veeck, Carey, Fisk – isn’t it obvious why we Sox fans rightly fear what they’ll do next?

That’s a shame.  A talented and innovative entertainer waits patiently for this nonsense to end.  Meanwhile the Sox front office serves up garbage and fools itself into thinking we want more.  Let’s hope they pull out of their state of denial in time to make things right.
 


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

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