CINCINNATI - Been to a Cincinnati Reds game this week? Or watched one on TV? If you have, you've undoubtedly heard the familiar shrieks that have started echoing in the stands. If you haven't, prepare yourself to be part of a new trend the next time you see the Redlegs live.
Fans at Great American Ball Park have picked up the interesting habit late in games this week of howling.
The sounds resemble those of riders on roller coasters at Kings Island, or for those who may be familiar with the WWE, think Ric Flair's "Woo!"
What happens is late in games, sporadic "Woo!" noises can be heard from all parts of the ball park, much like a wolf at the moon or a dog who's heard a noise outside. Some fans shout it out solo, others shout in groups, some hold it out for several seconds, while others stick to short bursts of the noise, but it's clear the trend is shared by fans from all sections of the stadium.
Why are fans howling, you ask? It all started with those few who stayed for all 14 innings of the Reds-Pirates marathon game Monday night, which also happened to coincide with Bark in the Park, an event at GABP where fans can bring their dogs with them.
That canine spirit in mind, a group of slap-happy, leery-eyed fans who after more than five hours in attendance were well past their bedtimes, started the howling.
It began with 11-year-old Max Collett, of Trenton, who initiated the howling noise trend late in the game. Monday was the fifth grader's 11th birthday and to celebrate his parents took him to GABP.
As fans departed Max stayed and thought of something to try and distract the Pirates hitters. Fans around the boy mimicked the noise, and it took off from there.
"I did it like five times and then they started doing it on and off," Max said.
The howling, seemingly a loopy response to a long game, continued Tuesday night, where even watching on TV, the sounds were audible.
And again Wednesday night, fans picked it back up in the 6th inning, reaching a crescendo of collective howls in the 8th.
Still confused about what the howling sounds like? Here's a taste from Monday night: (Mobile and tablet users go to a browser version of WCPO.com to watch the howling video)
Reds TV announcer Thom Brennaman got a kick out of the initial noises, but Reds radio announcer Marty Brennaman was less than thrilled with the howling.
"It's quite the talk of the town on all the radio talk shows after the game last night and most of the day today. The last couple of nights the fans have waited until the 7th or 8th inning before it began," said Thom Brennaman.
While many people claim to be the originator of "the howl", a boy from Trenton who loves baseball and shares his birthday with Reds first baseman Joey Votto will have a birthday memory for the rest of his life. For Max, he says, it would be awesome if fans continued his howl throughout the playoffs and world series.
A similar instance of these "Woo!" noises occurred during a rain-delayed Pirates-Astros game in Pittsburgh earlier in September, and these same noises have been echoing at Pittsburgh Penguins games for several years, though the origin of those is hard to track down and it's unclear if the Reds' "Woo!" is connected.
Annoying or effective, the howling stuck around for the entire sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds won't be back at GABP for a week as they travel for two 3-game series against the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs, but don't be surprised if you hear these sounds again when the Reds return Sept. 21 to host the Dodgers.
And on a more baseball-related note, the Reds' magic number is at 8, and they very well could clinch a playoff spot while on this upcoming road trip. That would leave fans howling whether the team is in town or not.
What do you think of the howling? Is it a fun new tradition to pick up? Or is it just an annoying chant that needs to end? Leave a comment in the section below or on our WCPO Facebook page .