Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Disco Demolition Night

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Sunday is the 30th anniversary of the infamous “Disco Demolition Night.”
For those unfamiliar, it went down like this: Doubleheader between the
White Sox and Tigers. Disco backlash reaching its apex. Local DJ
convinces the Sox to stage a promotion for which people bring unwanted
disco records to the game in exchange for a 98 cent ticket, the records
get collected, placed in center field, and blown up by the DJ during
the intermission between the two games. Totally foreseeable, but
seemingly unforeseen side effect: the cheap tickets and disco
demagoguery draws lots of people who usually don’t go to baseball
games, and those people proceed to use their tickets savings to buy
lots of beer. Well, at least the people who weren’t baked out of their
gourds did (I’m guessing nacho sales were pretty brisk). There’s no
dispute, however, that it was a crazy scene that evening.

Then came the explosion, which tore a big chunk out of the outfield
grass. Then thousands of fans rushed the field, lighting fires,
throwing firecrackers, and making general asses of themselves. The
batting cage was pulled down and wrecked, bases were ripped off the
infield, and the place was generally torn to shreds. Everyone was
having a grand old time until the riot police showed up. Man, those
guys can be buzzkills.

Anyway, the guy whose bright idea this all was — Steve Dahl — now writes for the Chicago Tribune, and today has an interview with . . . himself. It’s pretty good reading, actually:

So you had no idea that DD was going to be as big as it was?

No, I thought it was going to be a failure. Even if I drew 10,000
fans, the place would have still looked empty. I was just hoping I
wouldn’t be too embarrassed. I mean, I was dressed up like a fat G.I.
Joe, singing “Do You Think I’m Disco” a cappella and running around
blowing up records.

When did you know that it was going to be bigger than you had ever imagined?

When I finally got down on the field and felt the beer-fueled energy
of he crowd. I might have also smelled a little pot. They were throwing
cherry bombs at me. Never schedule an event that close to the 4th of

You mentioned alcohol and drugs. Were you high?

I don’t think so. I feared for my life and my career.

Some people may look back at Disco Demolition Night as an
unmitigated disaster. I choose to remember it fondly. After all, at
least in those days there was a sense of community. In today’s
uber-fragmented world — a world in which a given band’s perceived
coolness is directly related to how obscure it is — we can’t get
anyone to agree on anything, and there’s something quite sad about

I guess.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.