For Razorbacks fan known as 'Hognoxious,' 15 minutes of fame has been 33 years in the making

Bobby Smittle points at the home plate umpire during a game against South Carolina on Sunday, June 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Bobby Smittle points at the home plate umpire during a game against South Carolina on Sunday, June 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.

It has been quite the week for Bobby Smittle.

You probably know him better as "Hognoxious," the heckling nickname he has earned over more than three decades shouting from the seats at two Arkansas baseball parks.

Smittle, a 59-year-old insurance agent from Cave Springs, had a prime position on ESPN's telecasts of the Razorbacks' super regional win over South Carolina. After he pointed and stared down umpire Mike Morris for several minutes during the second inning of Arkansas' loss to the Gamecocks on Sunday, Smittle was everywhere. He was featured on SportsCenter, had his picture plastered across social media and was the topic of multiple talk shows, including his favorite show hosted by Dan LeBatard.

"The best part was my daughter, who lives in Little Rock, texting me Monday morning and saying, 'Dad, did you know you're going viral?'" Smittle said. "I said, 'Yes, I'm sorry about that. Are you going to have to leave town?' She said not yet, but was making a plan."

What the ESPN cameras picked up was a small taste of what Arkansas fans - and opposing teams and umpires - have experienced for years. Smittle is as much a part of the Baum Stadium experience as the seventh-inning stretch and the kettle corn.

For 33 years, Smittle has been Arkansas' most recognizable baseball fan. Sitting atop the home dugout, his antics alone are almost worth the price of admission.

As a heckler, few do it better. It's no coincidence his nickname has stuck for well over a quarter-century.

"If you can get in the head of the players or the umpire, you've done something for the home team," Smittle said. "I feel like a ticket to go to a ballgame is not permission to be entertained; it's a license to go to work. It's your job to do whatever you can within the limits to get your team an advantage."

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