Bird is the Word, Part Deux



I have been known to cruise the newspapers online editions of the teams we are about to play in the major leagues. It has been a pattern of mine to just pull up the paper of the next team and just see what is being written about the Tampa Bay Rays on their website. I have done this since 2008, and sometimes I can find some interesting information, or even some leaked news our own local paper is afraid to post on their site.

So as the Rays ended their series against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, I spent a few minutes checking out The Baltimore Sun sports section, since the Rays had a two-game date with the birds. As I was cruisnig through the black and white type, I came upon a very likable redition via a cartoon of the Oriole bird. The redition was done by Mike Ricigliano, whos work had been included in the pages of The Baltimore Sun for over 20 years. I guess beginning here again in 2009, Ricigliano has done a daily cartoon image of the Oriole bird, and I would love to include all the Tampa Bay Rays references here from his 2009 collection.


By the way, the title is actually a reference to a song by The Trashman called “Surfin Bird”. It is a classic 1960’s surfer rendition that can become lodged in your head and not come back out. It  is a catchy tune, and I even caught myself today already doing the refrain from the song in my head a few hundred times. Pop on Itunes if you want to get a listen to this timeless California Surfer classic song.


The original Orioles Bird caricature first appeared in the paper in June 1966, during the Orioles’ championship season, and quickly became a beacon for readers “who looked for it as eagerly as they did the daily weather forecast,” The Sun once wrote. Created by the late Jim Hartzell, a longtime staff artist, the bird caught on quickly. When Hartzell retired in 1979, his cartoon friend went with him. When readers complained, the paper resurrected the bird, employing a number of artists to draw him. By 1992, the Oriole was gone.

Until now.

“Hopefully, in that one inch of space, this classic little Oriole can capture the essence of last night’s game,” said Mike Ricigliano, the cartoonist who will draw it. Ricigliano’s oddball work has appeared in The Sun (and, previously, The Evening Sun) for more than 20 years.


“The Oriole bird cartoon represents a memorable time in the history of Baltimore, the Orioles and The Baltimore Sun,” said Tim Wheatley, assistant managing editor for sports. “It symbolizes Baltimore’s sense of humor, love of sports and optimism. The new cartoon continues that feeling of fun and hope. “The old cartoon was something that readers looked forward to every day because each one was unique, and we think the new [one] will have the same effect.”

Here is last night’s cartoon that was fresh this morning on The Baltimore Sun website after the Rays held on to win their game last night against the birds. I can honestly say that I will check back frequently this season to see some of the great work done by Ricigliano on this character in 2009. The Bird is the Word people.



I love all the comments! I think it is great when a team has something like this to rally the fans around.


I wish we would do something like this.
I am not much of a sketch artist, so I know I could not come up with that type of drawing daily.

Rays Renegade

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