'O!' in anthem riles D.C. baseball fans

Feb. 21, 2008 at 8:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- In Baltimore it's practically a ritual but some Washington baseball fans can do without the yelling when they get to 'O!' while singing the national anthem.

There is wide agreement the practice began in Baltimore during the 1970s, when Orioles fans yelled out the 'O!' in the line from the Star-Spangled Banner that goes, "O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave." Super-fan "Wild Bill" Hagy used his body to spell out the letters in Orioles and get fans worked up -- and when that line of the anthem came around everyone in the stadium yelled 'O,' for Orioles, more or less in unison.

They do it at Baltimore Ravens' NFL games too.

Longtime Washington Capitals fan Mike Rucki, a co-founder of the hockey Web site OnFrozeBlog.com, told The Washington Times the practice -- which has spilled over into D.C. sporting events -- has been "bugging" him for a long time.

"Just because it's a tradition doesn't mean it's a good tradition," he said.

Those who would like to see the end of the tradition include Capitals fans as well as fans of the NBA Wizards, the NFL Redskins and the MLB Nationals, the newspaper said.

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