Saturday, December 13, 2008

Honoring Wild Bill Hagy at Oriole Park

Posted by Jeff Quinton on April 23, 2008

Rick Maese

They met a couple of hours before the first pitch. They tried on their beards, downed some Natty Bohs and warmed up with a few Wild Bill chants. David Clapp placed the odds at 10-1 that one of them might dance atop the dugout later, and Barker Harrison showed up with a cooler and announced that the night wouldn’t be complete until someone chucked it from the upper deck.

With two outs in the third inning, an usher made his way down to Row MM. “You guys can’t stand up,” he said. “You’re standing up too much.”

Yep, the magic is surely dead, I thought.

But that’s precisely when it happened. The sparkle had arrived. I’m not sure whether it was magic dust glistening under the stadium lights or the droplets of beer hanging in Wild Bill’s fake beard.

First, Relish won the scoreboard hot dog race. Then Kevin Millar homered. Then Ramon Hernandez doubled to score Luke Scott and Aubrey Huff. And a ballpark of Yankees fans had been conquered by a dozen Wild Bills.

Once an inning or so, a Wild Bill would leave his seat, scamper down the steps and turn to the crowd, contorting his body into the alphabet. “O-R-I-O-L-E-S!” he’d scream. It was Wild Bill’s signature, the beer in his belly, the ink in his pen.

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