For as long as it has been happening at Syracuse games, I have been claiming to be sure of where it all began. The verbal "O!" and upward arms into the shape of an O during our National Anthem. I finally took almost no time at all to dig into it, and all but confirmed that I've been right all along. I think. Maybe.
I was born Orange in 1970, and by 1973 was introduced to the Baltimore Orioles. Along came the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976, and it's quite clear I like teams in orange. Anyone who has ever been to an Orioles game will tell you they do the "O!" thing every night, dating back to the 70's. This video
is a fine example. Unlike a Syracuse game where it is primarily the students, we're talking forty thousand people doing it at Camden Yards, and previously at Memorial Stadium. At Cal Ripken's record breaking game, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis did the Anthem, and actually skipped that note, pausing intentionally for the fans to do it for them.
The late Wild Bill Hagy is believed by some reports to have started it. He was a die-hard fan who became kind of an unofficial mascot. Think Dome Ranger. Wild Bill used to get out on top of the dugout, at times with a player, or the Oriole mascot, and spell out O-R-I-O-L-E-S with his arms and legs.
When this started happening at Syracuse games, I began telling people that I was certain that had to have begun at the hands of students from Maryland, or at the very least, Orioles fans. This article
provides a comment section full of other DC area teams that are minorly subjected to it, and they hate it. After all, it really only works if your team stats with "O". One of the comments helps solidify my thoughts as he mentions he went to Syracuse, and a group of kids from Maryland started it.
Of course, non of this makes it fact, but I can't imagine how it could have made it's way here without some connection to the Orioles. Anyone have any input? Would love to hear it.