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Watch the infamous ‘Disco Demolition Night’ fiasco of 1979 in its entirety
09.22.2016
10:52 am

Topics:
Crime
Music
Sports

Tags:
disco
riots
baseball


 
A bounty from the Internet! Some outstanding personage has uploaded the entire broadcast of the WSNS Channel 44 Chicago broadcast of the July 12, 1979, double-header between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, better known to you as “Disco Demolition Night,” a promotion spearheaded by DJ Steve Dahl at Chicago rock station WLUP. The event notoriously became a single-header after the second game had to be canceled because of the mayhem brought upon by the antics of the mostly white audience of rowdy rock music lovers.

On that day, disco-haters were enticed by inexpensive admission (98 cents and a disco record to add to the pile) to come out in droves. The gimmick was that between the two games, a large box containing hundreds of disco records would be blown up. Some time earlier, Dahl had lost his job after WDAI switched to a disco format, which inordinately pissed him off, and he turned that ire into a big part of his schtick at WLUP, and eventually the idea for “Disco Demolition Night” was born. In the event, the large crowd was full of rowdy stoners who didn’t give a hoot about baseball and just wanted to heap scorn on disco music. The detonation of the disco records had the double effect of rendering the field unusable and causing the throngs to descend into truly lawless chaos. 

The uploaded video is nearly three and a half hours long. It shows the entire first (and, it turned out, only) game of the twin bill, in which the visiting Tigers defeated the hometown White Sox 4-1. By the way, Harry Caray, who later became a national icon for his work with the crosstown Cubs, was a White Sox employee at this time, and he is one of the announcers calling the action. (In fact, Caray’s true mark on baseball history came decades earlier, during his quarter-century of radio broadcasting for the St. Louis Cardinals.)
 

Moments after hundreds of disco records were exploded in center field
 
As Slate’s Matthew Dessem astutely points out, the tone of the day’s action was set early on, during the National Anthem, during which a fan’s cry of “Faggot!” can clearly be heard (it’s at the 6:44 mark).

In retrospect, the spasm of hatred directed towards a pleasure-oriented music genre that was inclusive in terms of African-Americans, Latinos, and homosexuals seems positively Trumpist in spirit. The United States is the only country that has had a strong “anti-disco” movement. I like the Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath as much as the next music lover, but you know, enough’s enough!

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Baseball general manager gets prostate exam (during game) singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’
07.29.2014
10:27 am

Topics:
Amusing
Sports

Tags:
baseball
medicine

prostate exam
 
You’ve got to, er, hand it to Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Andy Milovich. Last month it was Prostate Cancer Awareness Night at Pelicans Ballpark, and true to the evening’s awareness-promoting events, he took to the mic during the 7th inning stretch and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” while a grinning MD, dressed in surgical scrubs, investigated his prostate, as is the custom, from the rear entrance.
 
prostate exam
 
Under the circumstances, Milovich held it together admirably. He passed the exam without any problems, and the Pelicans, an Advanced-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in the Carolina League, managed to put together a rousing comeback 5-4 victory against the hated (?) Frederick Keys, an Orioles affiliate.

We note without comment that this coming Sunday is Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Pelicans Ballpark.
 

 
via Ken Levine’s blog
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Home movie footage of Duke Ellington and his band playing baseball
06.09.2014
10:51 am

Topics:
Music
Sports

Tags:
jazz
Duke Ellington
baseball

Duke Ellington
 
Two of the greatest home-grown American inventions—indeed, grassroots institutions—are jazz and baseball. The consensus greatest practitioners of both pastimes—Louis Armstrong and Babe Ruth, respectively—were in their prime at the exact same time, the 1920s, and both men were raised in orphanages. Shit, it’s jazz and baseball, I’ve just accidentally named two Ken Burns PBS series, that’s how freaking iconic those two things are. You can tell the story of America through baseball, or through jazz. They’re both rich mines of meaning.

And if you have something that combines the two, well, that’s something I want to know about. Smithsonian Magazine recently came up with some truly remarkable footage, dating from around 1941, of the legendary jazz bandleader and composer Duke Ellington playing a little bit of baseball during an off moment with a few of his bandmates, namely cornetist Rex Stewart and valve trombonist Juan Tizol. For the record, that’s the Duke pitching and then swinging the bat from about 0:15 to 0:30. (That’s tenor sax man Ben Webster in the bathrobe at the end, clearly communicating something along the lines of “You guys can play out there if you want, I’m hung over and I’m staying right here.”)
 
Duke Ellington
 
This fantastic image actually has nothing to do with the footage. That picture was taken sometime in the mid-1950s—the massive slogan on the bus, “Mr. Hi-Fi of 1955,” in addition to being my own future nickname if I have anything to say about it, surely puts us pretty close to that year. The appearance of the neon word “Colored” at left certainly suggests that this little game of pickup ball took place somewhere in the South.
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard: College baseball stud pitches no-hitter
01.31.2014
11:42 am

Topics:
Music
Sports

Tags:
baseball
Guided By Voices
Robert Pollard

Robert Pollard
 
Ohio rock god Robert Pollard is primarily known for two things: writing roughly one rock ditty per day and consuming appalling amounts of brewski during every Guided by Voices gig. Not as well known is that Pollard was once an ass-kicking baseball hurler for Wright State University in his hometown of Dayton—indeed, one time he threw a no-hitter, made the newspapers and everything!

The date was presumably May 11, 1978, the opponents Indiana Central. The score was 9-1. It was the first no-hitter in the history of the Wright State baseball program.

Magnet Magazine‘s Matt Hickey caught up with Pollard and ran him through a brief no-hitter catechism. Amusingly, Pollard (quite credibly) claims that he didn’t realize he had a no-hitter going until his teammates mobbed him after the final strikeout. Furthermore, his dad recently tabulated Pollard’s finest pitching performances stretching back to childhood, apparently he had 12 no-hitters over the years! We’ll want to get a fact-check on that pronto!

Magnet also found time to mention that GBV has a record coming out on February 18 called Motivational Jumpsuit.

I’ve known for years that Pollard is a closet jock. Pollard and I have friends in common, most notably his former bandmate and current Cobra Verde frontman John Petkovic. I can’t believe that this interview is still online (enjoy the ridiculous 1998-ish HTML!), but here’s a lengthy sports-obsessed interview with Pollard and Petkovic conducted by “Chin Music” (whatever that is). Based on the references to Marquis Grissom and Paul Assenmacher, I’d put this interview right after the 1997 season, but I could be wrong.
 

Robert Pollard: So the singer’s the pitcher?

Chin Music: Yeah, like Johnny Rotten, or even Mick Jagger.

RP: Well I did have a live arm. In college I had a 95 mph fastball.

CM: (incredulously) Oh c’mon! 95 mph? Oh, cut it out.

RP: Really, I could throw a football 70 yards. A baseball 95 miles an hour. Honestly, my dad thought I had a golden arm. He used to milk it down every night like (in crusty old Burgess Meredith voice) “You got the golden arm…” (much laughs all around) That’s why he was so disappointed when I went into rock. He was like “Ya’ bleeeww it!...Ya’ had a golden arm, but YA’ BLEW IT!!!”

(big laughter action)

CM: ...But did you have a breaking ball?

RP: Seriously, I did throw 95 miles an hour in my senior year in high school, and in my summer of Legion ball I popped a tendon in my elbow, but I still continued to pitch in college, for Wright State in Dayton. I threw a no-hitter at Wright State. I never threw as hard, I bet I threw only 85-88. I used to warm up before games—my brother used to catch me, he’s five years younger than me—and I warmed up with a croquet ball.

CM: (laughs) That’s a mean thing to do to a little brother!

 
It goes on from there at some length.

A cursory search of the Internet yielded this obscure GBV song about baseball, appropriately titled “Look, It’s Baseball”:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Guided By Voices Database celebrates ten years by giving away a classic GBV concert

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The House of David: Religious barnstorming with the original baseball beardos
10.30.2013
01:24 pm

Topics:
Belief
Sports

Tags:
baseball
The House of David

Harry Laufer of the House of David
Harry Laufer of the House of David
 
The Boston Red Sox are looking to clinch their third World Series in the last 10 years—if that doesn’t happen, Game 7 is tomorrow, in which the St. Louis Cardinals will attempt to win their third World Series in the last 8 years. Either way, by Friday the baseball season will be over.

If you’ve been watching the TV coverage of the postseason action, you’re probably sick to death of the attention that’s been dedicated to the Red Sox players and their stupid beards. The faithful of Red Sox Nation populating Fenway tonight has taken up the gimmick in full force, and you’ll be sure to see some fake beards in the crowd if you watch tonight.
 
Red Sox beardos
Red Sox beardos
 
As Bill Murray pointed out in a recent interview with Esquire, “With the beards, they look like—what were they called, the Sons of David?” A footnote makes the clarification—Bill was referring to the Israelite House of David, a religious society founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnell in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1903.

Ben Purnell was fond of baseball, so he had the idea of getting together a team from the commune. In 1913 the House of David team started playing competitive baseball—they were an active barnstorming team from then all the way up to the 1950s, when the integration of major league baseball effectively put an end to the Negro Leagues and other similar teams like the House of David. As Wikipedia explains, “The team members wore long hair and beards as they played. … Some professional players grew their beards out to show their respect towards the god of Israel, while others wore false beards.”
 
Eliezer Schechter
Eliezer Schechter
 
The House of David is probably the only team in baseball history that consisted entirely of celibate players. The team also invented the warmup game of pepper. The early 1930s were a heady period for the House of David—the pitcher/manager was Grover Cleveland Alexander from 1931 to 1935. In 1933 Jackie Mitchell signed with the team, becoming the first woman ever to sign a pro baseball contract. The next year saw the addition of Babe Didrikson Zaharias as well as, for the Denver Post tournament, Satchel Paige his catcher Cy Perkins.

The House of David traveled all over the country as well as to Canada and Mexico, and their competition included some of the most formidable Negro Leagues teams such as the Homestead Grays. In the late 1930s, the House of David barnstormed across the country with the Kansas City Monarchs, another legendary Negro Leagues team. After Babe Ruth’s career came to an end, the House of David offered him a contract—but the Babe’s carousing habits more or less ruled him out of consideration.

In 2003, Drawn and Quarterly published cartoonist James Sturm’s The Golem’s Mighty Swing, a fanciful graphic novel about a fictional variant of the House of David.
 
The House of David
 
There’s a lot of information out there on the team, including the book House of David Baseball Team by Joel Hawkins and Terry Bertolino and the the House of David Baseball Team Research Project.
 
“House of David Baseball: The Best Team You’ve Never Heard Of”

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘The Warriors’ baseball card paintings
Major League swingers: NY Yankees Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich swap families, 1972

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment