I grew up in the shadow of Oriole Park. My first job was selling lemonade in the stands. Oriole’s baseball has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until I returned from my second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, back in 2005, that I really became an O’s Super Fan. I told myself that when I came home that I would go to more O’s games. Since then, I have averaged about 50 games a year.
At the time, the Birds where battling to stay out of the basement. Not many fans filled the seats at Camden Yards. I took action and started to fill the seats by selling fundraising tickets for my wife’s charity. At first I sold 20-30 tickets a month. Last year I sold around 500-1000 tickets a month. My wife led a fundraising group until she passed away from breast cancer in 2011. I now lead her group and I am happy to say that we have raised over $75,000 for local charities through Orioles fundraisers. She loved the Orioles as much as I did. She always wanted to get on the big screen during “Kiss Cam” but it never happened. One day we celebrated our wedding anniversary and she wore her wedding dress to the game. During “Fan of the Game” I picked her up and gave her a kiss she would never forget. We made it on the big screen and won Fan of the Game all while 40,000 fans applauded with a resounding “Awwwww.”
By bringing so many fans to the game it is like I bring my own cheering section. In the spirit of the late great “Wild Bill” Hagy, Baltimore’s unofficial cheerleader, I love to spell out O-R-I-O-L-E-S and get the entire stadium to start the “Let’s Go O’s” chant. I don’t know how it started but for the last 6 years I have been wearing an orange construction helmet with a feathered O’hawk. I call it my “Boog Powell” helmet because the only person allowed to sign it is the big 1970 American League MVP. All the players, ushers, and fans know me for my feathered helmet. After showing fans how to catch a fly ball during batting practice and how to catch a player’s attention for an autograph, I usually go hang out with Boog and have him sign my helmet again. I love listening to his stories about 60’s and 70’s baseball.
I have all of the bobbleheads, autographs, and other memorabilia that comes with being a fan. I have won Fan of the Game more times than I can count. I have completed 4 full marathons while holding an O’s flag. I bleed black and orange and have the tattoos to prove it. I even named my son “Camden” after the ballpark that forever changed baseball.
All these things are awesome but it’s not what I have collected, accomplished, or how many games I go to. It’s about sharing my love of Orioles baseball with everyone and doing some good along the way. I am proof that the Baltimore Orioles have the best fans in Baseball! It would be an honor to be selected as a member of the Fan Hall of Fame.