Local Reds fan starts ‘howling craze’

On Monday night, the day before his 11th birthday, Max Collett started howling like a dog after the Pittsburgh Pirates struck out to end an inning late in the Reds 4-3 victory at Great American Ball Park.

“I was excited,” he gave for the reason.

In response, fans around the Collett family in Section 523 started howling, and before the 5-hour, 22-minute, 14-inning marathon ended at 12:27 a.m. Tuesday, most of those still in the stands were howling too.

“It was crazy,” said John Collett, Max’s father. “It took off from there.”

Why?

“We were all slap-happy,” his father said.

The latest craze continued Tuesday night. About the eighth inning of the Reds 5-3 victory over the Pirates, the howling returned, and Thom Brennaman and Chris Welsh, the Reds TV announcers, talked extensively about it and wondered where — and how — it started. The cameras even showed some fans howling at Tuesday night’s game.

Ironically, Monday’s promotion at GABP was called “Bark in the Park,” and gave fans an opportunity to bring their dogs to the game.

When asked how he’d feel if howling became a Cincinnati baseball tradition — like Opening Day, Findlay Market Parade and Rozzi fireworks — Max, whose favorite player is Joey Votto, said: “That’d be cool.”

Longtime Reds announcer Marty Brennaman was critical of the late-game howling on the radio.

Max, a fifth-grader at Edgewood Elementary School, was born on Sept. 11, 2001, at Fort Hamilton Hospital, about seven hours after the 9/11 attacks. The family moved from Fairfield to Trenton last year.

On Monday, his parents told him they were taking him to dinner in Cincinnati for his birthday. They were there with his parents; his sister, Taylor, 18, a freshman at Miami University; his brother, Jake, 14, a freshman at Edgewood High School; his grandparents, Hilda and Eddie Collett, of Hamilton; and Taylor’s boyfriend, Dennis Mitchell.

After parking downtown, Max’s mother, Marie, pulled the Reds tickets out of her purse and surprised him. He was given a birthday certificate from the Cincinnati Reds and his mother called it “a heck of a day for us.”

In honor of his birthday, his parents allowed him to eat as much concession food as he wanted. He brought home a souvenir Reds hat that was filled with nachos.

“He was wound up,” his dad said. “Absolutely wired.”

And like that dog next door, he couldn’t stop howling.

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