Impressed with Hawks organist Sir Foster’s versions of contemporary classics by the Ying Yang Twins, Sage The Gemini and Gucci Mane during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, SB Nation’s Ethan Rothstein (or his headline writer) calls Foster, “sports’ greatest organist.” And while Foster’s performance last night was certainly memorable, were former US Cellular Field organist Nancy Faust still active, he’d be competing for second place. From CSTB, 9/18/2010 :
(the Nancy Faust bobblehead, handed out to the first 10,000 fans at tonight’s loss to Detroit)
I attended a 2005 ALCS game between the Angels and the host White Sox during which The Cell’s venerable organist Nancy Faust played a brief, between-innings interpretation of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” that even the Sun Ra Arkestra would’ve struggled to make sense of. I know this is a bold statement — what self-respecting adult actually admits to recognizing a Jimmy Eat World song? So with Ms. Faust’s pending retirement in mind, the New York Times’ Karen Crouse honors the former by declaring “her music has been the grace note bridging memorable eras in the team’s history, from the baseball barker Bill Veeck to the showman Ozzie Guillen.
Faust was an innovator, choosing songs that played off names like a musical Chris Berman. She has a knack for matching songs to on-field situations, perhaps the most famous example being her inspired choice of Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” when an opposing pitcher was pulled in the heat of the 1977 pennant race. For White Sox fans, the song became a part of the everyday rotation, right up there with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”
Eric Carlson, who is 29 and a lifelong White Sox fan, believes so. He met Faust as a teenager when he approached her booth behind home plate during a game to suggest she play “Around the World” by the group ATC.
When he returned to his seat and heard the strains of the song fill U.S. Cellular Field, Carlson said: “I felt special. I was thinking, of all the people in the stadium, she was playing that song for me.” Speaking by telephone, he added: “Most of the players, they don’t even want to give you the time of day anymore. But Nancy’s very down to earth and approachable.”
Carlson, though part of the generation that is the target of baseball teams’ entertainment upgrades, remains an unabashed fan of Faust. “Some of the songs she plays, I feel they actually sound better than the originals,” he said, adding: “I™m a Sox fan, so I’ll still go to games after this year. But it won’t be the same.”
It’s a wonderful story but with all due respect to Mr. Carlson — who seems like a nice enough fella — the Air Traffic Controllers don’t have any songs called “Around The World”. Where are the fact-checkers for this kind of thing?