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Suns host author Roberts and fans

July 15, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN

Wearing a fluffy boa to a baseball game on a muggy July night might not seem romantic, but what caused the nearly 50 people to wear them to a Hagerstown Suns game Friday was, in a sense, a love story.

The women and two men who tied red and purple boas around their waists and necks did so out of a shared love for one woman. They were there to see one pitch - the first, thrown by their favorite author, Nora Roberts.

Roberts, wearing a Suns hat, a striped T-shirt and khakis, tossed the ball in a clean, slow arc to the catcher, raising her fans to their feet cheering and ruffling their feathers. Roberts turned to the group, shooting her arms into the air, smiling.

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A Keedysville resident who has more than 280 million copies of her novels in print, Roberts said she had to practice for the big pitch because she didn't "want to throw like a girl."

Her latest book, "Angels Fall," came out Tuesday. Her fan group, ADWOFF, is making its 10th annual pilgrimage to the Hagerstown area this weekend for a book signing today at her husband's bookstore, Turn The Page Bookstore, in Boonsboro.

Sue Noyes, the group's founder, said the group will go to the bookstore today for the signing and have brunch with Roberts Sunday.

ADWOFF stands for "A day without french fries," a quote taken from one of Roberts' notes on an AOL message board that read, "A day without french fries is like a day without an orgasm," said Noyes, 46, of Sunbury, Pa.

Billy Ball has been a member of ADWOFF for five years. Ball, a disc jockey from Charles Town, W.Va., provides music for the group, which has "taken over" the Four Points Sheraton this weekend for its 10th anniversary gathering, Noyes said.

"I've never read a Nora Roberts book," Bell said. "I'm just here for the women."

Taking aim with his camera at the group of about 50 boa-clad women and one other man, Ball said, "This is the most unique group of women you will ever meet. They're strong, independent women who come out for a good time."

Lisa Dixon, 33, traveled from as far as London to join the group in their pilgrimage.

"It just looked like a lot of fun." said Dixon, who's been a fan of Roberts for about 10 to 15 years. "I thought I'd meet new friends, get a book signed."

Kurt Landes, Suns president and general manager, said this year is the second time Roberts has come out to throw the first pitch. He said Roberts "is probably Washington County's most famous citizen."

Landes said he wanted to recognize Roberts' accomplishments.

"She does a lot more for the community behind the scenes," Landes said.

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