Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Wild Bill Hagy died at his home on Monday. he was a local hero in this town. He was the man responsible for "The Roar from 34". He was the one who led this section in the spelling of ORIOLES with his body. The whole section and many times the whole stadium would spell out each letter as he contorted his body into each shape. He was also the reason why any self-respecting Baltimore sports fan will yell out "O" at the appropriate time during the singing of the National Anthem.
He was a taxi cab driver from Dundalk. He was a "regular guy". He was a true fan of his team and you rarely see this kind of passion anymore. Back in the day, at old Memorial Stadium, you paid one price and could sit anywhere you wanted in the upper deck, but the regulars who sat in his section 34 every game had their own seat, just out of tradition and habit.
You used to be able to bring in all your own food and drink, including coolers full of beer, to Memorial Stadium. Once they decided to stop allowing fans to bring their own, Wild Bill protested by throwing an empty cooler out onto the field.
Once the new stadium was built, Wild Bill stopped coming. He didn't fit into the cell phone toting, wine sipping, SUV driving, kinda crowd. He did come back to lead the crowd during a playoff appearance in the 90's from what I understand. I wasn't living here at the time.
I am glad I am of an age to remember seeing this guy at the game. Who will take his place? Where are the fans like these? It seems like looking for them is like looking for a typewriter in an office, a lunch counter in a drug store, or a full service gas station. These things all used to be the norm, but now you really have to search them out.

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