Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Commentary | Baltimore Brings Unique Flair to October Baseball

William “Wild Bill” Hagy was a cab driver from Dundalk, Md., who sported a straw cowboy hat, sunglasses, a big beer belly and an even bigger personality. An original super fan, Wild Bill was an institution at Orioles games in the 1970s and ’80s.

Known for leading the crowd in cheers from section 34 of the upper deck of old Memorial tadium, he caught the attention of the newspapers, met with presidents and eventually even earned a spot in the Orioles’ Hall of Fame. But for his eccentric persona, Hagy was an ordinary man, doing an extraordinary thing, just like the players themselves.

In a city that’s more grit than glitz, the Baltimore Orioles were, and continue to be, the people’s team. The kind of team that frequents local neighborhood bars like everyone else; the kind of team that takes postgame pies to the face almost as seriously as the game itself; the kind of team that recognizes the devotion of a loud-mouthed cabbie. The Baltimore Orioles’ relationship with Wild Bill is a snapshot of the team’s interactions with the fans and with the city, but Orioles baseball is much, much more.

Orioles baseball is Friday college night cheap seats and Clancy the beer guy and staking claim to Babe Ruth (He was born in Baltimore and got his start with the O’s, so you’re welcome, Yankees).

Baltimore baseball is Cal Ripken Jr. worship and drinking Natty Bohs and yelling “O” during the national anthem.

Orioles baseball is Boog’s barbeque, which — owned by former Oriole great, legendary first baseman Boog Powell — is not only the best ballpark food in the business but comes with its own history lesson.

Orioles baseball is remembering Ripken’s record-breaking 2,131 consecutive games (I was only 2 years old on this legendary night, but the story has been recounted to me so many times that the memory is almost my own) and it’s hoping to see a home run smash a window in the iconic warehouse bordering Camden Yards.

But most of all, Orioles baseball is loyalty. The last time the Orioles won a World Series was 1983. The last time they made an American League Championship series appearance was 1997. And for all the dismal losing seasons in the last 17 years, the fans have stuck with their team, just as the team has stood behind its city.

As the O’s prepare to play in game one of the ALCS tonight against the Kansas City Royals, another of baseball’s long suffering franchises, we remember everything that has made Orioles baseball what it is and look ahead to what it could become. As the second postseason appearance in as many years for the birds, we hope this marks a new golden era.

Wild Bill died in 2007, but if he were alive today, you can bet he’d be up there in the stands leading the crowd in an O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer, because if there’s one thing Orioles fans understand, it’s loyalty.

Laura Wagner is a senior in the College.

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