There’s a budding Twitter bromance taking place between Orioles reliever and resident Budweiser smuggler Tommy Hunter and wrestling legend Ric Flair. After delivering an off-color, Flair-inspired locker room speech following Sunday’s wild card clincher, Hunter reached out to the 16-time world champion on Twitter and got nothing but love in return.
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) October 3, 2016
Sure, I could burnish the legend of Orioles baseball for my kindergartner by regaling him with stories of the great Cal Ripken Jr., who showed up every day, worked hard, gave blue-collar Baltimore its very own hero, and saved baseball after the strike. Or, I could tell him about the relief pitcher who loved Budweiser products, dropped f-bombs on live television, and channeled pro wrestling promos. How can you not be romantic about motherf&#@in’ baseball, son?
Given Roar From 34’s focus on Orioles history, it would feel like I’m not doing my unpaid job if I weren’t to provide some historical context on “two claps and a Ric Flair.”
Ric Flair is no stranger to sports sidelines and locker rooms. Just this past weekend he
paced strutted the Atlanta Falcons sideline, and he was a guest of Julio Jones at the team’s training camp in August.
Meanwhile, Jim Harbaugh had Flair at Michigan’s Signing Day party in January just a couple of years removed from the Nature Boy’s pep talk for Harbaugh’s 49ers prior to the NFC Wild Card game with the Green Bay Packers.
And now Tommy Hunter wants Flair in the O’s clubhouse.
— Tommy Hunter (@tHunter29) October 3, 2016
Flair’s go-to material during these motivational sessions draws from a 1985 wrestling promo when he declared himself “the Rolex wearin’, diamond ring wearin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, limousine ridin’, jet flyin’ son of a gun” before stating “I’m having a hard time holding these alligators down” and punctuating the inspired oratory with his trademark “Woo!”
And what of the two claps, you ask? (Humor me here.)
It seems the Indianapolis Colts’ Sergio Brown can claim the two claps as his own.
Brown’s locker room impression of Flair drew attention during the Colts’ run to the 2015 AFC Championship Game. Even the team’s cheerleaders were giving “two claps and a Ric Flair.”
Brown explained his motivation in an interview where he stated that Flair sits alongside Forrest Gump as the “fake person” he’d most like to be. As a related aside, does the Oriole Bird count as a “fake person”? If not, I’ll need to think more about my answer to that question.
Here’s hoping there are more claps, more Ric Flairs, and perhaps even a clubhouse visit from the man himself in the Orioles’ future.