By Jim Caple
Page 2

The thing about Disco Demolition Night is that it was more than a promotion to Mike Veeck. It was a personal protest against the music -- particularly KC and the Sunshine Band and their dreadful "That's the Way (I Like It)" Uh-Huh, Uh-Huh. He felt it ruined the promising music career of his own band, Chattanooga Glass.

But while it was perhaps the most famous promotion in sports history that didn't involve a midget, Disco Demolition Night at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago suffered in that it was too general. Blowing up every disco record that fans brought to the stadium was unfair to the few disco songs that actually were good. Admittedly, there weren't many, but how can anyone not hear Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" and not smile at the thought of Willie Stargell leading a conga line through the Pirates' clubhouse in 1979?

Disco Demolition Night
Who ordered the Donna Summer Flambe?

Some quick background. Veeck, the son of legendary baseball owner and promoter Bill Veeck Jr., advertised a disco demolition to occur between games of a twilight-night doubleheader. Any fan who brought a disco record to be destroyed got into the stadium for 98 cents, and more than 50,000 people showed up.

Baseball fans ... you gotta love 'em. They delayed the first game between the White Sox and the Tigers (won by Detroit, 4-1) several times by throwing the records onto the field like frisbees. Then, when the White Sox promotions team started the bonfire to burn the records in the outfield between games, as many as 5,000 fans stormed onto the field, tore up the grass and wouldn't leave.

The second game was called off. It was only the fourth forfeit in Major League Baseball history.

All for the hate of disco.

It happened 25 years ago this weekend, and it calls for an anniversay celebration. But rather than detonate an entire musical genre (though you could make a case for polka, I suppose), maybe the way to celebrate the memory of Disco Demolition Night is to select specific songs to torch.

We have nominees.

No. 1 on the list: "Cotton-Eye Joe." But only the recordings played outside the state of Texas. It's fun and appropriate to play this at Rangers games in Arlington; but to do so in New York, the city of Cole Porter, the Gershwins and Sondheim? Why not play the Chicken Dance and show clips from "Hee-Haw," too? Sorry, Joe, it's Ka-Boom! time.

And while we're at it, let's blow up Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline,'' which the Red Sox play. What, is Boston trying to out-hick New York City? If so, mission accomplished.

Anything my high school or college pep band ever played, including "Smoke on the Water,'' "The Horse,'' "Birdland,'' "Celebration'' and "Hey Baby.'' Those songs were old when I was in school, and I was in school a very long time ago. In short, detonate any song that was ever recorded for an eight-track player.

"Pump Up the Jam,'' "History of Rock and Roll, Part 2" and "We Will Rock You.'' Basically, anything that's been played so many times at so many games that it's on a "Jock Jams" compact disk.

"Let's Get Ready to Rumble." Let's get ready to vomit. Ka-boom!

"Who Let the Dogs Out." Whoops, I'm sorry. I think all those recordings have already been destroyed, along with "The Macarena.''

"YMCA.'' Although I do appreciate how an anthem to homosexuality has somehow been transformed into the all-American song, loved and embraced by families at stadiums everywhere. Still, it's tired and stale. Time to add a new family-friendly song, like "The Thong Song." Ka-boom!

Ronan Tynan
Hey, Ronan -- this isn't even your "home sweet home."

"God Bless America.'' And before John Ashcroft starts installing the phone taps in my house, let me say this: I don't mean we should blow it up; I just mean we should handcuff Ronan Tynan and never let him on the field again with his extended dance mix version. How about mixing in an occasional rousing song like "This Land Is Your Land,'' or the sublime Ray Charles' version of "America the Beautiful''? You know, something that makes you feel like the country really belongs to all of us -- even the fans out in the bleachers -- instead of to a conglomerate wholly-owned by the suits in the luxury suites.

Boy Band songs. No comment needed.

And while we've got the dynamite out, here are some other things we should stack in the outfield and blow up real good:

  • Dancing groundskeepers. (Look, just rake the infield and let them get on with the game, huh?)
  • Bobbleheads.
  • Credit card application booths inside the stadium.
  • $7 beers and $4 bottled waters.
  • Fog machines.
  • Dog days.
  • Male NFL cheerleaders. (Really, how can you guys look yourselves in the mirror on Monday mornings?)
  • Female baseball cheerleaders.

    Incidentally, Mike Veeck is still at it. Now the president of the St. Paul Saints in the Northern League, Veeck has asked fans to bring a disco record to the Saints' Saturday night game against the Schaumburg Flyers at Midway Stadium. They'll be allowed to exchange the records for coupons that can be used at concession or souvenir stands, and the records will be taken away and destroyed -- somewhere other than in the outfield -- between innings.

    Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com


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    KA-BOOM!