Hey Heidi: Who is the Blues Towel Man?
ST. LOUIS - He's become a fixture at St. Louis Blues games, but unfortunately, he wasn't too busy Tuesday night. Diane Luitjohan wants to know who the Towel Man is; the guy who is waving the towel up in the air at home games.
Ron Baechle is a hockey fan with his own trading cards, a man who didn't write the book on our beloved hockey team, but is in one. He's the born-and-raised St. Louisan better known as the Towel Man.
"Somebody said I should have my name legally changed to Terry Cloth," joked Baechle.
He's the guy in section 314 who has been leading the crowd after every home goal since 1990.
"The first couple of times was very brutal, it was sit down, get out of my way and I had bath towels I was hitting people in the head so there is a science to it," he said.
Twirling a towel though wasn't his idea. It's something he saw at a hockey game in Peoria and brought back to the Checkerdome for 12 games. The next season he did it at 20 games.
"The third year I was there for the whole season and that's when it really, really took off," said Baechle.
These days he only misses one or two games a season.
"And I've gone as long as three years without missing one," said Baechle.
It's a pretty impressive record considering he's not employed by the Blues. He buys his own tickets and towels.
"So we take seven towels in, and if we score more than seven goals then we've got a skate shoelace that I'll tie to the last one and throw it and pull it back," said Baechle.
Though Baechle isn't paid by the team, he does have sponsors. And a day job as a sign painter.
"We used to do about 80 to 100 paper signs a week for grocery stores," he said.
It's a job that's changed a bit since he started.
"I was a told it was a dying art when I learned it," said Baechle.
But through the years he's painted anything that sat still long enough.
Vans, motorcycles, signs for construction companies and neighborhoods and he's still making signs, only now he does it with Jessica, one of his three daughters. He's also a grandfather.
Baechle's had a nice life, but he desperately wants one more thing.
"I want a cup," he said.
Whether he gets that or not, he has no plans of throwing in the towel on this tradition that has become bigger than he ever imagined.
The Blues host the Boston Bruins Friday night, and hopefully they'll keep the Towel Man busy.
The next question for Heidi comes from Chris Simons, who wants to know who places the various advertisements on Metro buses. Look for the answer to that question Thursday, Feb. 26.