In the early years of the Blast when we were regularly selling out the Civic Center, lots of components came together and fit with one another like pieces of a puzzle to make it all happen.
We sold out the building 56 straight times at one point.
That’s 56 straight games with 12,000 people in the place.
Anyway, one of the folks who was instrumental in that accomplishment was a young man named Wayne Sherman. Sherman, like p.a. announcer Bill Rothe and “behind the scenes” music and entertainment wizard John Wright, was an off-field member of the Blast team that made those wild nights on Baltimore Street a reality.
He was our version of Wild Bill Hagy.
Wayne was the guy who would hold up the big B-L-A-S-T signs and get the crowd revved up with a deafening “BLAST!” cheer throughout the game. Rothe, who had an uncanny sense for when Wayne would initiate his work in the stands, would always defer to Sherman and quiet himself on the mic just in time for the crowd to blow out a huge “B…..L…..A…..S…….T!”
“The Kid” was such a part of our in-game environment that Blast owner Bernie Rodin gave him a championship ring when we won the title in 1983-84.
Sherman would occasionally travel with the fan club to places like New York and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and our traveling party of 50 or 100 or sometimes more than that would drown out the home crowd when Sherman would lead the cheer. One night in Cleveland, the Force owner tried to keep Wayne from bringing in the big letters he used to lead the “BLAST” cheer, but he somehow snuck them in.
There were lots of things that came together in the early 1980’s to make Blast soccer the hot commodity it became…and Wayne Sherman was one of those elements, for sure.
If you went to a Blast game during the “hey day”, you know I’m right.
It’s with great sadness that I report of Wayne’s sudden death yesterday. I’m not exactly sure how old Wayne was, but I’m thinking he was somewhere in his early 50’s.
Wayne was “the Mayor” of Morrell Park. Ask anyone down there and they will agree with that statement.
I last saw him about four months ago in downtown Baltimore. I was walking out of a restaurant and he was getting out of a car. True to his Baltimore roots, he was wearing an Orioles winter “hoodie” and a black and purple Ravens winter hat. I jokingly said, “What, no Blast stuff in your closet anymore?” and he took out his wallet and showed me a 1984-85 Baltimore Blast fan club I.D. card with his name on it. “I always have the Blast with me,” he said.
I’m sure Wayne’s first greeter in heaven yesterday was another man partially responsible for the Blast’s early-years success…the great Charley Eckman.
Charley always spoke highly of Wayne both on and off the air.
And, I’m quite certain once he met up with Charley yesterday, Sherman had those B-L-A-S-T cardboard letters with him.
Wayne Sherman was a good man.
A few weeks ago in DMD, I posted something about Lyme disease and asked you to be vigilant this summer and protect yourself by checking your body and clothes after being outside and learning more about the symptoms in the event you find a tick on/in your body.
I’ve been dealing with my Lyme disease for the better part of three years now because I didn’t put one and one together when I experienced some of my early symptoms. I’m now considered in the “chronic Lyme” stage because medication can’t really help in my situation.
But I can still help others battle Lyme disease.
I’m happy to report my warning a few weeks back helped listener/reader Phil, who was puzzled by some sudden joint pain in his right hand and an irregular heartbeat. He learned those were Lyme symptoms (the same way we learn most things these days — from Google), saw his doctor, started a dose of antibiotics — and now feels 100% better.
If you catch it in time, Lyme can be handled.