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Oriole Bird Mascot Injured by Fan

May 6, 1999

BALTIMORE (AP) _ One of the Baltimore Orioles’ mascots is out of action after a run in with a fan.

John Crownapple, one of three people who dress in costume as The Bird, was injured when he was pushed off an outfield wall Tuesday night during the Orioles’ game against the Chicago White Sox, team spokesman John Maroon said. According to Baltimore police, he broke one ankle and had bone chips loosened in the other.

Louis, Vitaglyano, 43, of Philadelphia was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, police said.

Witnesses told officers that Vitaglyano shoved The Bird off the roof of the groundskeeper’s shed at Camden Yards in the ninth inning as he was leading cheers in front of the right field stands. Crownapple fell onto the field, about 10 feet below.

Crownapple is recovering at home and is using a wheelchair while his injuries heal.

Maroon said the team is waiting to find out when Crownapple will be able to work again, but he cannot be replaced because of his specialized training and the difficulty of his routines.

Maroon said the other two people trained to portray the Orioles’ mascot were filling in for Crownapple at games, but the team has been forced to cancel supplemental public appearances by The Bird because of Crownapple’s injury.

``Most fans really enjoy The Bird and his antics,″ Maroon said. ``It’s really unfortunate we had to get an incident like this to spoil the fun.″