The Bowie Baysox have a reputation for fearlessness in the pursuit of world records. In 2002, remember, the franchise attempted to set a record for simultaneous tooth-brushing. Then, from 2003-2005, came the annual assaults on the Guinness mark for simultaneous Whoopee Cushion release.
This quest for historical significance took a one-year breather last summer, but thankfully, when the front office held its offseason planning meetings, one of the categories was "world records."
This resulted in a brainstorming session I dearly wish I might have attended, during which the following ideas were considered: most band members playing the national anthem, most people doing the Hokey Pokey at one time, fastest rap MCing, longest yodeler, most spoons balanced on one person's face, most people playing Simon Says at once, longest congo line, largest plate of nachos, longest carousel ride ("we were talking days with that one," assistant GM Phil Wrye told me) and most people playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on a kazoo during the seventh-inning stretch.
Eventually it was decided: this year, the Baysox would attempt to set the world record for the most people simultaneously yo-yoing.
"It was something that was achievable," Director of Communications Ryan Roberts told me, "which was big for us."
The record, as you no doubt realize, is 432, set last June in Canada. The Baysox plan to hand out 1,500 yo-yos this Saturday night. They should crush the record. So, why this never-ending quest for immortality, you ask?
"I guess the best way to say it is because it's fun," Wrye explained. "I think human nature loves to be involved with something that sets a record, or has some significant meaning to it. By being part of a group that sets a world record, or attempts to set a world record, people get wrapped up in taking part of something as a group and striving toward a common goal. And if we can be the outlet for that goal and that effort, it fits right in with having fun and doing wacky things."
[This might be an appropriate time to mention that the Baysox are the same franchise that offered several dozen fans a chance to smash office equipment with a baseball bat for $1 earlier this spring, raising money for charity while paying tribute to "Office Space." Also, that the Baysox have a "Bob Barker Night" planned for late June. The team is still trying to get Barker to RSVP. Please, Bob, please.]
Anyhow, the Baysox's 2005 Whoopee Cushion record-setting achievement is still in the process of getting certified by Guinness, and Saturday's event will be meticulously documented, from the sign-in sheets to the still photographs to the video and all the rest. The historical moment will occur on the lower concourse, after the game but before the fireworks. I was concerned that some novices might fail to master the art of the yo-yo over nine short innings, but Roberts assured me such beginners would not be disqualified. Which, as it turns out, is a good thing.
"Oh, I'm horrible; I cannot yo-yo to save my life," Wrye said. "I can get it to hit the floor, but I can't get it to come back up. I guess I can get it to yo, but I can't get it to yo back. One of my deficiencies in life, I guess. I think I may relinquish my yo-yo to someone who actually can do it."