Orioles fans pump up volume but can't drown out reputation Despite loud denials, Camden quieter than 'Jake'

October 16, 1997|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

Decked out in Orioles garb, 35-year-old Garry Kvech of Catonsville, howled at the top of his lungs, cheering a strikeout by Mike Mussina and intent on one mission:

"Our main goal is to make it so you can't hear cell phones ringing," said Kvech, referring to the notion that some fans at Camden Yards come with flip-phones in hand for business calls. "Everybody's got to yell loud enough to drown 'em out."

For Kvech and the other fans at yesterday's game -- 49,075, the third-largest crowd in Oriole Park history -- there was a gauntlet thrown down in front of them. And that was to be louder than Cleveland fans, who rocked the Jake so hard that everyone went home still hearing drums banging in his head.

Radio deejays, baseball writers and television news anchors in Baltimore had urged Orioles fans to bring the "stand-up-for-every-pitch" mentality to Camden Yards, and many of the fans did that yesterday. But even for many Orioles fans, the consensus was that the decibel levels hung a few levels behind those of the Indians' fans.

"The O's fans are doing their best, but this is a different type of crowd than Cleveland," said Susann Locy, 53, an Orioles fan and Edgewater resident who stood behind home plate holding an orange sign saying, "I'M FAT AND I WANNA SING!"

Locy and her 72-year-old mother, Margie Gardiner, often get boisterous at Orioles games, "and they look at you funny for it here. They roll their eyes," Locy said.

But being loud doesn't necessarily mean being better. Locy's mother, after all, is on the quieter side but is as hard-core a fan as you can get. She went to yesterday's game fresh from a trip to the doctor's office, where she was checked for a racing heartbeat.

"Maybe it's all this excitement," she said. "But I would never miss the game."

Added Laura Sanford, 28, a Solomons Island resident who stood in the standing-room-only section: "I don't need to be told to be loud. The TV news last night was telling us to be really loud, and I was saying, well, fans are usually loud at the ballpark anyway. It's never been a problem here."

As Orioles fans yelled "MOOOOSE," New York Yankees fan Phil Corson, 39, gave his opinion, albeit a sexist one:

"Look around. There's a lot of women here," said Corson, who came to the game from his suburban Philadelphia home. "Serious playoff baseball is a man's thing. It doesn't get that loud here because women aren't as loud at ballgames. I'm not saying Orioles fans aren't good fans. They are. But they're just not loud fans," Corson said, adding with a snicker, "They don't throw beer, either."

Nestled good-naturedly in the first base lower-reserve seating were Ed and Julie Fox, wearing Indians colors and rooting hard for the team from their native Ohio.

"We're louder because the Indians are all that we have left," Julie Fox said.

There are always some who can yell with the best of them. Ken Pipkin, 24, of Parkville expected to be as loud as his hair last night, which he spray-painted orange.

"I was at the Seattle series and we just weren't loud enough," Pipkin said. "They need to let some of the goofballs from the bars in here, so that we can send these teams home with hearing aids."

Pub Date: 10/16/97

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