Interview With A Bum

By Jordan Rivas, Staff Writer Project Spurs

Spurs fans have seen and heard them in the AT&T Center.  Their exploits are legendary and opposing teams may not like them.  Of course I am talking about the Baseline Bums.  Recently Project Spurs own staff writer, Jordan Rivas, had the privilege to interview Cynthia Yruegas of the Baseline Bums.

In her interview we find out the Bums are not like the public’s long believed reputation as a bunch of drunk, rowdy, Spurs fans and they do a lot for the community of San Antonio.  So sit back and enjoy the interview.

Rivas: The Bums do a lot in the community, but is there a single community event/activity that you guys could single out as being a favorite?

Yruegas: Yes we are a community-oriented organization and while we do love all the activities and events we participate in, I would have to say that our annual coat and blanket drive is one of the Bum favorites.  Every year we collect gently used or new coats, new blankets, diapers and baby formula and donate to different charities which have included Seton Home, Alpha House, Any Baby Can, Fisher House and St. Peter/St. Joseph’s.  I think the most rewarding part of this event is in the delivery of the items to the charities.  The thanks and appreciation the recipients show for what is donated is remarkable and motivates us to continue with the effort.  This years coat/blanket drive is scheduled to be held on Saturday, December 5th at the AT&T center.  Anyone who is interested in donating or would like more information can contact us through our website at BaselineBums.org.

Rivas: What do you think opposing teams think of you? Do you guys care?

Yruegas: I don’t think some opposing teams are too fond of us but we really don’t care.  I can say that Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban, brought a few bus loads of fans to one of the playoff games a few years ago and bought out the luxury boxes directly above the Bums.  They did their best to drown out our cheering.  He quickly found out that we get even louder when challenged.  I am sure the Houston Rockets and their fans are well aware of us as well since we take a road trip to Houston every year for one of the annual Spurs/Rockets match-ups.  We have been told by Spurs Sports and Entertainment that they do get inquiries from other NBA team front offices as to how the Baseline Bums organization keeps going year after year because they have made efforts to get similar groups going in their communities with no luck.  We are truly a unique organization within the fans of the NBA..

Rivas: OK, so the name Baseline Bums… be honest, do you ever wish you guys had a more flattering designation?

Yruegas: I have to say absolutely NOT, we love being called the Baseline Bums even though we no longer sit along the Baseline as the original group did.  We are very proud to be known as BUMS.

Rivas: We’re not entirely sure who will field this question, but could you ask around and maybe pick one or two favorite Baseline Bums stories? You guys have a long history, I’m sure plenty of crazy/funny/or just interesting stories have taken place. If we could get even one we’d be really pleased.  

Yruegas: Back in the early years the Bums were a rowdy group that would sit behind the opponents bench and heckle and harass the other teams; they could get away with much more than we can get away with today.  Here are two stories; one from the early days and one from more recent times:

On March 24, 1976 the Spurs went into McNichols Arena and beat Denver 135-122, snapping the Nuggets’ 26-game home winning streak. In fact, it was the second straight year that the Spurs had broken a 26-game home winning streak by Denver. Because the Spurs kept breaking Denver’s home winning streaks, and because of several on-court fights between the teams during the 1974-75 season, a strong rivalry developed between the Nuggets and the Spurs. Nuggets’ coach Larry Brown called the Spurs a “dirty team” and yelled at George Gervin during a 1976 Denver loss at HemisFair Arena. Bob Bass got up from the Spurs bench, told Brown to shut up, and offered to fight him. After the game, the Nuggets’ boss said “I don’t like anything about San Antonio, their coaching staff, their franchise or their city. The only thing I like about San Antonio is guacamole salad.” Naturally, the Spurs’ rowdy group of fans, the “Baseline Bums,” caught wind of Brown’s quote. The next time the Nuggets visited HemisFair Arena, the Baseline Bums were ready. Nuggets’ forward Gus Gerard remembers that: “The next time we came down there the people were throwing avocados out on the floor and dumping guacamole salad on the players. When Larry (Brown) went to the locker room, they had something like dime beer night that night, so they were pouring beer over Larry’s head. That was pretty wild.”

One of our current Baseline Bums, Jerry Casarez, is our best known heckler.  He was asked by the Express-News to record his heckle to be used as a ringtone.  It is on mysa.com – Myxer – Ringtone – Baseline Bums Taunt.  His laugh/heckle can be heard throughout the arena and even in the background during radio broadcasts sometimes.  Jerry was invited by Brent Barry (former Spur) to participate in a skit done during one of the annual Spurs luncheon’s hosted by Barry and Tony Parker.  His laugh/heckle also attracted the attention of Argentine reporter, Julian Mozo, who did a documentary on Manu’s impact on the city of San Antonio.  Jerry wound up driving the reporter and his camera guy around San Antonio.  He took them to his house and they included his “mini Spurs museum” as part of their article stating he was Manu’s biggest fan.  This article was published on the Argentine website, Ole.  This is why we are now known as the World Famous Baseline Bums.

Rivas: Also, if there’s any general info you want us to include, let us know. We’ll definitely link back to your website and if there’s any event or activity coming up that you’d like us to plug we’d be happy to let our readers know about it.

Yruegas:We are very pleased to announce that we are being sponsored by RIO RIO CANTINA this season and are excited about our partnership with them.  You will find many Bums down at their restaurant on the Riverwalk throughout the year for different occasions especially Spurs away game get togethers.  Anyone who would like to join us is welcome.  They can find more information on upcoming dates, times and events on our website.

Project Spurs would like to thank Ms. Yruegas for this exclusive interview.  Again please visit BaselineBums.org.  And if you are ever at a Spurs home game, you know where to find her. If you have a favorite Baseline Bums memory, be sure to add it in the comments.

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