July 16, 2009
Last Sunday was the 30th anniversary of the infamous "Disco Demolition Night" that was celebrated in Comiskey Park, on the south side of Chicago: July 12, 1979. The radio station publicity stunt backfired by provoking a riot that forced the White Sox to forfeit the second game of a double-header. The YouTube video below was posted by David Pinto, who says he preferred "The Night Chicago Died." (Yuk!)
For the record, I hated disco with a passion back then, but over the years my views have mellowed somewhat. I have gradually learned to appreciate the Bee Gees, and must admit that the bass line in the 1970s smash hit "Disco Inferno" was pretty catchy. Ten years previously, that refrain -- "Burn, baby, burn!" -- had a much more sinister connotation.
In (ironic) honor of the 30th anniversary of this historical event, I have updated the Comiskey Park diagrams, which were long overdue for a correction. Most of the changes are fairly minor, except for the backstop distance and curvature of the grandstand. The profiles are more accurate, and details such as lights and various latter-day rooftop appendages (such as bathrooms) are now included. There remains some doubt on the exact dimensions to center field in the last decade or so before the White Sox left the original Comiskey Park. Lowry's Green Cathedrals gives a figure of 409 feet, but I'm pretty sure that applies to the corners on either side of center field, which I estimate was actually 400 feet in the late 1980s. I'm also not sure exactly which years there was a bend in the outfield fences, as shown in the 1969 version diagram; only recently did I come across a photo showing this bend.
At foxsports.com, Ken Rosenthal argues that the basic problem with the Washington Nationals (which he rightly characterizes as an "embarrassment") is the absence of clear lines of authority in the front office. Neither Mike Rizzo, the acting general manager, nor team president Stan Kasten have much to say about key decisions. It's all up to the Lerners, who are business wizards but seem to be clueless about baseball as a sport. When are the Lerners gonna learn? Link via baseball-fever.com.
The Nationals have begun their first game of the post-Manny Acta era, at home in Washington, and after two innings, neither they nor the Cubs have scored.
UPDATE: John Lannan had another quality outing, with two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but as usual the Nats' bats were mostly silent, and the bullpen collapsed in the ninth inning, giving up three more runs to the Cubs. Ryan Zimmerman homered (#15) in the bottom of the ninth, but the Cubs still won, 6-2.