Got there around 10:45 A.M. Line was extremely long, one of the longest I’ve ever seen and I’ve been going every year for over a decade. That said, some years they actually had 2 lines to enter, one that stretched left away from the front door and one that stretched right, so if those years there had been only one line those lines might have been longer.
Went in and it was a mob scene. As many people there was there was last year, and as many as the year before. I was expecting far fewer people. Only real difference is the old Rag Time band they usually have had playing when you first get in wasn’t there (although I saw a tuba leaning against a wall).
Started by going upstairs and went to the Orioles Store. Really interesting: apparently they remodeled a bunch of the luxury suites this off-season, so they took a bunch of framed pictures that had been in the suites down and were selling them for $50. Prints from the News American front page with WE WIN! as a headline from when we won in 1983, photos of players, drawings of players (a drawing of Roberto Alomar in a Blue Jays uniform was interesting), that kind of stuff. I have no room, so I didn’t get anything. I go for the outside banners. They had 25th Anniversary banners, but at $75 I said no. The guy said come back later, the price would drop. I did, and I got a banner with Manny on one side, Tillman on the other and the 25th Anniversary logo for $40.
Went to the freebie line. It was looooonnnnngggg. I was in line 40 minutes. I got a free red, white and blue Orioles logo shirt, a Maryland flag brim adjustable O’s ball cap and the wine bottle stopper set. I didn’t try going through again – too long. Later on in the day I saw people walking around with give away wiffle ball and bat sets.
Went downstairs. Big crowd playing Bingo. MTA Orioles bus was there. Lots of people in line for autographs. Davey Johnson was giving a pitching seminar with two guys I didn’t recognize and who he clearly didn’t know (I heard him ask them what pitches they throw – I guaranty he wouldn’t have to ask Bundy or Gausman that). I had my picture taken with Michael Kelly (who?) for $5 to charity. He is tall and thin with huge hands.If he can’t throw a curve, shame on him with the grip he must have.
Watched Orioles Family Feud, where O’s players led by Joey Rickard played Family Feud against a family of fans. They asked “Name a song you would hear played at Camden Yards.” Answers were National Anthem, Orioles Magic, Thank God I’m a Country Boy, Take Me Out To The Ballgame. The last one, Seven Nation Army no one was getting, so they asked Joey Rickard for an answer and he said “Sweet Caroline.” I immediately started booing REALLY loudly, and a bunch of people joined in on the boo chorus. Rickard just started laughing.
Went over to the Clubhouse and dugout tour. For the second year in a row they allowed no picture taking in the clubhouse (I took some anyway). There is a new room, the Team Prep Room, set up like a small 20 seat stadium seating movie theater where guys can go before the game and watch film of that night’s opposing pitcher. There were no lines at all at the Stadium. Usually there is a line to get in, to get on the elevator, to get into the clubhouse, etc. Not this year. I just strolled on in, strolled on through.
My take (for what it is worth): There were as many or even more people who showed up at the start, at 10 or 11, but far fewer showed up as walk-ins later on in the day.