Carne Cabeza and a fellow fan. (Courtesy of Kenn Chisholm )
It’s been a decade and a half since the Baltimore Orioles have stirred excitement so far into the season. Now that they're 64-53 and in contention for a playoff berth, fans have plenty to talk about. Now, enter: Neal Moorhouse, aka “Carne Cabeza” which just barely translates into “Meat Head.” Once in June and twice so far this month, the 31-year-old Federal Hill resident has attended games shirtless, in a Mexican wrestling mask and tights, sometimes with the words "free hugs" painted on his generously sized chest. Moorhouse has been shown in the stands during a game broadcast and on ESPN's "Around the Horn." He's getting a little media attention and has launched Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Moorhouse works for an embroidery company, Cum Shaw Inc., in Rockville during the day. Saturday nights, you can find him behind the bar at popular Fed Hill watering hole Nobles. He was kind enough to answer our pressing questions via email about his alter ego, his favorite Orioles and what he eats to maintain his luchador physique.
How did you come to begin dressing like a Luchador?
For as long as I can remember, I have always worn crazy outfits. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not afraid to dress up for any occasion. I have no shame and it's fun. I own five different "onesies" (Good Luck Care Bear, a Penguin, a turtle, an Orioles/Ravens onesie, and a red one I wear during Christmas season). Additionally I have a turkey suit for thanksgiving and a full 3-piece mariachi suit for Cinco de Mayo. When during my normal searches online, I came across a Ravens Mexican Wrestling mask and immediately bought it! I was able to make a cape at my work, and bought a purple speedo and thus, Carne Cabeza (a name which I always thought would be a great Mexican Wrestler name) was born. I first tried it out this year at Cinco de Mayo. Obviously it was a hit! Since Cinco de Mayo falls during baseball season, I immediately sought out to get an orange and black mask to begin my Orioles version of Carne.
How did you come to acquire your mask and cape?
I contacted a mask [wholesaler] and was instructed that I could not buy just one mask, and that I had to order 50 of them in order to make it happen. So I did what any ‘normal’ person would do, I bought 50 orange and black wrestling masks. Once they had arrived (along with my speedo and cape, which again I designed at my work), I had a dilemma: What the hell am I going to do with 49 orange and black masks?? I knew that No Idea Tavern gave out free tickets to games provided you bought at least one drink and figured he'd be a good person to contact about setting up a party. So that's what happened. We packaged a happy hour, a ticket to the game, and a mask and we all had a blast!
What benefits have come about from your ventures? Free drinks? Attention from girls? Free seats? Or just free hugs?
I do this purely for fun -- and for Baltimore pride, but mostly fun. With that being said, I wouldn't say that I have received any perks from doing this. A couple of smiles from kids as they give me a high five and the faces of those who might be excited to take my picture. Only once have I actually received something. A guy at Tuesday’s (August 14) game decided it would be funny to tip me $1. I guess that counts as a perk.
Did any of these perks or the potential to gain these perks inspire you to begin expressing your fandom by your dress? What do you hope to inspire by dressing like a luchador? An Orioles pennant? Inspiring little kids? World peace? A balanced economy?
Fun. Fun inspired me to become Carne Cabeza. That and I wouldn't really consider myself normal. Crazy, weird, I don't know -- all I know is that it is fun.
Describe your background as an Orioles fan; when did you start watching?
I live and breathe Baltimore! I have some sort of weird pride for this city. I love meeting people from other places and letting them know where I come from and how awesome Baltimore is. I have always been an Orioles fan. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of friends who follow the team way more closely than I do. They can name every player for the past 10 years, or give you some random statistic at the drop of a dime. I wish I could have that kind of knowledge about my team. But that doesn't mean I don't love them.
What's your earliest memory of fandom?