SINGING PLUMBER Woman wants anthem shot opening day


She is a cross between Whitney Houston and Roseanne Barr -- part sparkling evening gown, part-working class.

Call Beth Cline the "singing plumber" and watch her turn into Cinderella if she succeeds in her crusade to sing the national anthem on opening day at the Orioles' new ballpark.

"I would wear a gray sequined evening gown with the Orioles' script across the bodice or a gown with sequins and beads with rainbow patches on it," Cline said.

Normally found in plumber's overalls and her trademark brown suede hat, Cline, 34, is familiar with the stadium at Camden Yards.

As one of about eight female construction workers at the site, Cline put in some of the men's and women's toilets in the lower and upper levels, installed pipes in the doctor's and dentist's offices within the park and hooked up ice makers in each of the 60 luxury sky boxes. So she believes it is appropriate to be selected to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at opening

ceremonies for the 46,000-seat stadium next April 6.

"I think a local talent should be given the opportunity to shine in the spotlight," she said. "Some want it sung with frills and the faddy changes. I do it the way it should be sung -- plain and simple because most people know it that way."

On April 26, Cline sang the anthem at Memorial Stadium before the Orioles game against Milwaukee. It was "construction workers night" and she was selected to sing after "bugging the Orioles since December."

"I got a tape to the stadium, they listened to it and two minutes later, they came out and said, 'You could break glass with it,' " Cline said of her rendition. "When I walked out on the field, I was a little nervous, but when I started, it was the most wonderful feeling. It was warmth and sunshine. All my plumber friends in the stands were cheering me on."

Team officials promised Cline she could do a repeat performance at one of the 81 home games next season at Camden Yards. But she wants more.

Next month, Cline plans to hand out fliers at Memorial Stadium encouraging fans to telephone the Orioles and lobby for her to sing at Opening Day. Her campaign also will include handing out a few T-shirts that say, "The Singing Plumber for Opening Day."

Julie Wagner, Orioles community relations director, said yesterday that a committee of team, state, city and Maryland Stadium Authority officials is planning the opening day ceremonies. Wagner didn't release any clues whether the committee is in search of a celebrity to sing the anthem, or home-grown talent.

"We are just exploring all the possibilities of the opening day event," Wagner said. "We are not at the point of getting to the anthem singer yet."

That doesn't discourage Cline.

"If people would rather have me than someone famous, why not?" she asked. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."


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