Suns have magical home opener

April 11, 1998


Staff Writer

Minor league baseball was back in Hagerstown on Friday night, complete with magic spells, a larger and louder crowd than usual, and a campaign for a new Suns stadium.

The night started with local television personality Michael Myers giving fans a hearty welcome as they stepped inside the gates.

Myers is known as "Michael T" in his "Classified Ad Libs" show on NBC 25.

But Friday night, Myers called himself "Spike T" after the wacky, multi-horned hat he was wearing.

Myers said Hagerstown Suns officials noticed him last year rallying the fans and decided to hire him this year to cheer on the team.

Before the start of the game, Myers took to the field and led the crowd in what he called his "new wave, wave."


Myers, who also works as a magician, drew a giant magic wand on the infield and called on several other magicians in the bleachers to help him with a cheer.

"Abracadabra, bippity bop, and the Hagerstown Suns will be on top!" Myers yelled.

Myers then fired a pyrotechnic streamer followed by several others that were shot off in the stands.

Despite a chilly night with the temperature hanging around 44 degrees, 2,158 fans turned out for the Suns' home opener.

Hot chocolate was being sold, but so was ice-cold beer.

"It's never too cold for beer," said Mike Gehr as he drew beers at a stand behind the bleachers.

Fans said the crowd was larger than usual for a home opener, which they attributed to the team's good record. It's the first time in several years that the team has started its home season with a winning record, which was 5-3 before the game.

The Suns beat the Piedmont Boll Weevils on Friday, 7-2.

"We're off to a good start already," said Gary DeWeerd, president of the Hagerstown Suns Fan Club.

DeWeerd stood at the ground level of the grandstand with a pile of bumper stickers to promote a campaign for a new stadium for the Suns. The stickers read "Allegheny Energy Field - Yes. First Pitch 2000."

Some fans want a new, better stadium for the Suns, thinking it would boost interest in the team.

Gehr said he'd like Hagerstown to have a well-designed stadium like other towns. When Suns fans go for food, they cannot follow the game as they walk around, as they can in new stadiums being built, said Gehr.

"If the state can build a stadium for four different Orioles associations, they can do it for this town," said Kenny Myers of Halfway.

Brian Lovins wants a new stadium, too, but he's not crazy about the name being considered.

Allegheny Power has agreed to contribute $1 million for the stadium in exchange for the right to name it Allegheny Energy Field.

Lovins said the name "almost sounds like a mine field or something."

Local officials are trying to secure an additional $10 million for a new stadium.

Plans for a new stadium hit a snag in February when the Washington County Commissioners voted not to fund the project.

The lack of county support has hurt the chances for receiving state funds for a stadium, officials have said.

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