Tuesday, September 06, 2005

MY FAVORITE DODGER: NANCY BEA HEFLEY



For absolutely no reason other than that I love what she does, I thought it was time to post a picture of the other woman mentioned in the header of this blog. In fact, all of the others mentioned have had their faces pasted onto these pages, some more than others. It's not so easy, however, to find a picture of Dodger Stadium organist extraordinaire Nancy Bea Hefley, so when I finally did I felt like the time was definitely right.

The sweet sounds emanating from Nancy's keyboard have been the one consistent pleasure from a 2005 team that has been a model of inconsistency, injury and frazzled interpersonal dynamics. But even that pleasure is under attack by the trend in Major League Baseball away from the kind of aural world woven by organists like Nancy Bea (no disrespect intended, but I just can't bring myself to refer to her as "Hefley"), whose boundaries are drawn at the stadium gates, but who fills in the space from the press box to the pavilion seats with musical magic that paints a vivid picture unique to the sport of baseball. Her like is being slowly replaced by demographically oriented rock, hip-hop and/or Latin selections pumped at top volume from the stadium loudspeakers during every break, effectively dissolving the borders that separate the world of the stadium from the world of the parking lot, where jaunty organ versions of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" are even less likely to be heard pumping from car stereos at top volume (unless, of course, you have Nancy Bea's compact disc).

These days, Nancy Bea gets a few minutes before each game, the National Anthem, the seventh-inning stretch, and a few minutes after each game in which to shine. It's a whole lot less of her than I'd like to hear, but even so she is the one Dodger who is guaranteed to make me smile, regardless of the outcome of the game. And as this lost season comes to a close, that's good enough to get me out to Chavez Ravine at least a couple more times, where I can sit on the third-base line, look out at the perfectly maintained field, recognize how much the place positively affects me, and let the dancing notes sent out into the summer air by the incomparable Nancy Bea Hefley caress my eardrums and my soul and make me feel like there really will be a next year, and that even this year wouldn't be so bad, if I could just hear her play "Pennies from Heaven" one more time.

2 comments:

blaaagh said...

Ahhh, I love 'er already. Was she playing out there when we lived in L.A. ('85-'88)? Sure glad I'm not more of a rabid baseball fan, so I can still appreciate her without some psycho anti-Dodgers reaction. But anyway, I'm with you on the organ music rather than the cheesy "classic rock" crap or whatever else they think people want to hear. Nice tribute. Nancy Bea, eh? Think I might buy the CD.

Thom McGregor said...

I'll always cherish her for playing that jaunty, almost carousel/carnival version of Don McLean's "Vincent" years ago during a game.