Opening Day in Baltimore: A How-To Guide
The Opening Day countdown has flown by, and we are only 8 days away from the day that I consider to be better than Christmas, the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day and my birthday combined.
Every time I think about it, I get chills. Yeah, I love Opening Day THAT much.
For those of you who have not experienced Opening Day in Baltimore yet, I have only one thing to say: WHY NOT?! (Pun of the ’89 Orioles totally intended.)
Instead of questioning your sanity, though, I will give you a little bit of guidance. I am a seasoned professional when it comes to Opening Day shenanigans, and would love to pass along a little bit of intel to those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to jam with the Orioles Faithful for the home opener.
Opening Day Tickets – The Orioles rarely (if ever) sell tickets to Opening Day to the general public. If they do, they make you purchase them along with tickets to another game later in the season, which isn’t that bad of a deal. However, you should look at other ticket purchasing options, as that option is never offered to non-season ticket holders/the masses. Your best bet is to purchase a Gameday Party Package from one of the bars or event planning groups in the Baltimore area. Even if you don’t go to the pre-game party that you purchase with your ticket, it is a guaranteed ticket. If you don’t have tickets at this point, you’re going to have to hit up StubHub, eBay or Craigslist – Even Standing Room Only has sold out, which is a rarity.
Where to Party – Over the years, I have done almost everything that you can do before going into the stadium to get my drink on: From parties at houses nearby, to boozing in Fed Hill, to starting out at a dive bar in Glen Burnie and hopping on the Light Rail, and finally to braving the masses and going to Sliders (my homestead during Orioles season) before the game. There really isn’t a wrong option when it comes to pre-gaming. I have personally been hitting up parties at friends’ houses for the past few years, as it is cheaper and less crowded, plus the option to play cornhole or beer pong is more feasible. After a few hours, I then head over to the bars outside of the stadium for a quick beer or two (or more) before heading into the game at least a half hour before it starts. Be forewarned, though: If you choose to join the mob of O’s fans at the Pickles/Bullpen/Sliders Peninsula, you had better set your alarm early – Hard-core fans start arriving at 6AM for pancakes at Pickles, and I know that Sliders likes to have their doors open by 7AM. Fed Hill is always a good back-up option if you choose to pre-game at a bar – Mothers in particular will be holding an Orange Patio starting at noon (if you want to get a little bit of a later start).
Food – You know that you have been craving a sandwich from Boog’s since the last game of 2011 - Go ahead and splurge! However, if you are craving a hot dog, sausage, or anything else that would be considered “Stadium Fare,” I highly recommend purchasing your food at one of the vendors outside of the stadium and bringing it in with you. You’re already going to be spending $8 on Natty Boh inside the gates – Why would you want to pay $4 for a lukewarm, under par hot dog when you can buy 4 delicious, fresh-off-the-grill dogs at the hot dog place near the Brooks Robinson statue for the same price? All I ask is that you please remember to eat – It’s going to be a long day!
Parking? – First of all, I cannot stress this enough: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! Seriously!
Secondly, I highly recommend using some alternative form of transportation when coming downtown that day. If there is a Light Rail stop near you, park/get dropped off there and take the train down. Check out the Park & Rides and see if they are offering transportation to the stadium that day. If you live in the city, walk or take a cab. I wouldn’t take a cab directly to the stadium, however; traffic is going to be disgusting. Take a cab to Fed Hill and walk the couple of blocks over. I have also heard of some bars/groups of friends who will be taking a bus to and from the city that day – Also a very smart move! If you do choose to drive downtown that day, use one of the garages or satellite lots around the Inner Harbor, as the price of parking in the stadium lots will probably be jacked up.
What to Wear – The obvious answer here is Orioles gear: Jerseys, personalized t-shirts, Boh gear, whatever. However, I do understand that some of you may not be into purchasing an Orioles shirt for one game a year, as it is a sad fact that almost 58% of the people who go to Opening Day will not come back for another game this season… Until the team starts winning, of course. Please respect the team and the stadium and wear orange and black – That’s all I ask! I guarantee after a few beers at the bar, you will be going up to the closest street vendor and buying an Adam Jones shirt, as alcohol is one of the catalysts of Orioles Magic in fans.
What NOT to Wear – Anything from the Victoria’s Secret PINK MLB line; any kind of Yankees/Red Sox memorabilia; any other baseball team’s gear in general; a Sammy Sosa jersey; pink Orioles gear; stilettos; a Steelers jersey (it’s not even close to being football season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one as Yinzers are dumb).