O’pening Day Starting Lineup for O’s Fans

For the first time in more than two calendar years, Baltimore is about to celebrate a (somewhat) NORMAL Orioles Home Opener. If you ask 10 different people the best way to go about properly recognizing this festivity, you will probably get 10 different responses. Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes the “best” Opening Day itinerary, and rightfully so.

Some may base their plans on past experiences and a desire to recapture former partying glory.

Others rely on superstition, recalling their exact location, outfit, and the food and drink they may have consumed during a memorable Opening Day victory in the past.

Many will base their Opening Day venue on their level of loyalty to the host of the celebration – whether it be a family member, friend, or famous local establishment.

No matter the rationale, Opening Day is always a great opportunity to come together as Orioles fans with hope for the season and hate for the Red Sox, Yankees, and Nationals.

Taking into account the variance amongst fans as to what is the “best” way to celebrate Opening Day, I have decided to present my own suggestions in a familiar format. Behold, the Starting Lineup of Opening Day Celebratory activities:

Fans watch the game against the visiting Minnesota Twins at the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun

1. Hydrate for the day with a Hydration Multiplier Packet (or two) from Liquid IV

No free ads, I know I know. But If you don’t start your Opening Day by ensuring optimal hydration, I can personally guarantee you that you will want to forget this Opening Day ever happened. Liquid IV has been something I use every single morning for the last four years, and I suggest you make it part of your day as well, especially on a day as sacred as Opening Day. It’s a simple tool to use – rip the packet open, pour it into a bottle of water, shake it up, and enjoy.

This is a no-brainer for the leadoff spot, setting the table for rest of the lineup to be successful.

2. Get a solid base of food in your stomach with a Chicken, Egg & Cheese sandwich (on a biscuit, obviously) from Royal Farms

Every great day of celebration needs a solid breakfast to set the tone. Royal Farms offers just that, bringing their incomparable chicken to a breakfast sandwich that can be easily grabbed while buying your water that will have the Liquid IV packet added to it. You know you’re not going to be watching the game at home, and it’s almost impossible to go from one location to another in the Baltimore area without passing at least one RoFo on the way.

The two-hole is typically assigned to the hitter with the most consistency, and this sandwich is exactly that.

3. Drink one (or, better yet, many) Gose O’s beers by DuClaw Brewing Co.

Now we have arrived at the heart of the lineup. Gose O’s hits so many boxes for an Orioles fan on Opening Day – it’s (obviously) Orioles themed, it’s local, it is an alcoholic beverage with just enough ABV to get you buzzing while still being light enough to drink all day long, and it is absolutely delicious. Even to those who are typically averse to sours, this beer is a hit.

We all know the notable Orioles of yesteryear who have occupied the 3rd spot in the order – Cal, AJ, and Manny to name a few – so it’s programmed in us to expect big things. Gose O’s should be counted among the greats.

4. VIP at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood’s TailGOAT

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood is a Baltimore institution. A legendary Twitter follow. Savior of small business in the city. World-renowned tailgate party for Ravens games. And on top of all that, they do what is unimpeachably the best Orioles Opening Day pregame party you can possibly imagine. $200 of your hard-earned cash will get you on their VIP list. It includes a ride on a charter bus from their Dundalk location on Holabird Ave. to the tailgate (conveniently just a short walk to the ballpark), a private open bar and bartender, private bathroom access (HUGE BONUS), all-you-can-eat food, live music, celebrity guest appearances, AND a ticket to the game in the right centerfield lower reserves. For the 3-4 hours you’re in attendance at this can’t-miss event, you’ll trade in your Gose O’s for Jimmy’s Famous Orange Crushes, meet awesome people, rub elbows with Baltimore Royalty, and have the time of your life – that is a promise.

There was no other logical choice to hit cleanup on this list.

5. Pregame Beers at Pickles Pub

Carne Cabeza poses with his girlfriend Jess.
photo: Carne Cabeza

Every single person – without exception – who has ever attended an Opening Day at Camden Yards has experienced the mayhem that is Pickles Pub. It’s an atmosphere that some can’t get enough of, while others have had their fill. Pickles Pub is the runaway favorite for pregaming any Orioles game, but Opening Day Pickles is a beast unlike any other. I am not sure this description will win over anyone who may not have had the opportunity to experience it yet firsthand, but I will do my best: imagine 1,000 people sharing a space that would typically have about 150-200 in it, all of them at least seven beers deep, adrenaline pumping for the start of the new baseball season, enjoying (hopefully) a day over 55 degrees and sunny, in the shadow of the leftfield upper deck.

Even if you only go for a single beer, it’s not Opening Day in Baltimore until you’ve sandwiched yourself between two or more drunk, sweaty people waiting to happily overpay for an aluminum bottle of Bud Light on the Pickles Pub sidewalk.

Because Pickles sends more people directly into the stadium than anywhere else, they’ve earned the fifth spot in the lineup where we tend to see a lot of RBI production.

6. Pit BBQ Sandwich from Boog’s

It would be easy to make this list almost entirely about drinking. I, however, do not take the path of least resistance, so it’s important to make sure that food is also well-represented. “Forgetting” to eat on a day during which it is quite easy to get carried away with drinking is a recipe for disaster, but by visiting Boog’s BBQ in centerfield on Eutaw Street you will be treated to a much more preferable recipe. My personal favorite of the pit BBQ offerings is the turkey, dressed generously with hot sauce and horseradish. On many days, you may be lucky enough to see 1970 MVP Boog Powell himself holding court at the stand, where he will undoubtedly be happy to take a photo and probably sign an autograph.

This is another perfect storm for an Orioles fan on Opening Day – a delicious meal inside the ballpark just when you need it, with the added bonus of potentially making a lasting memory with an Orioles legend. Rock solid in the 6-hole.

7. Buy a beer from Fancy Clancy

Clancy pours beer behind his head.
photo: Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum

Clarence “Fancy Clancy” Haskett is on the Orioles non-baseball-personnel Mount Rushmore – that is a fact. Most people know damn well who he is, and others don’t realize they know but as soon as they see him they realize they have been in the presence of greatness. At one point in time, Robot Hand Man tried to make a run at Clancy’s seat upon the throne of great beer vendors, but like all others found that hill too steep to climb. Buying a beer from Clancy is an honor and a privilege that should not be taken for granted. The man even had a beer named after him for his tireless work bringing beer and joy to the people of Baltimore.

No matter what kind of beer he is selling (buy a Bud Heavy), you will buy it and you will like it – is that understood? Clancy owns the seventh spot in the lineup and there’s nobody who can take it from him.

8. Drink at least two beers at the CF Roof Deck Bar*

Until fairly recently, we didn’t have much in the way of options to socialize with a beer and still have a view of the game other than the Flag Court in right field, which does not offer a great visual perspective of the game itself. For years, the rooftop of the concessions/bathrooms in centerfield were reserved only for TV cameras. Someone with at least a moderate level of intelligence then thought to themselves, “maybe we should take advantage of that gigantic space out there and let the fans enjoy it.”

From that realization came what is now known as the CF Roof Deck Bar, an oasis of beer and Orioles baseball that offers one of the most breathtaking stadium views you will find anywhere in any stadium across the league. It can be tricky getting in and out, especially on Opening Day, but it is worth the trouble. Sitting in your seat will get old, and the CF Roof Deck Bar offers the opportunity to stretch your legs, enjoy your friends, make some new ones, drink more beers, and get an amazing view of both the game and do some top-notch people-watching on Eutaw Street from the backside of the bar.

This is my favorite place to be in the entire ballpark, Opening Day or not.

* unfortunately, this option isn’t available on this particular opening day, due to social distancing guidelines.

9. “Cheap Ass Beers” at The Bullpen

Everyone who has been to Pickles (so basically everyone, period) has seen “Cheap Ass Beers” sign guy (ed note: His name is Josh!) standing just to the right in front of another watering hole. I tend to even forget the place is called The Bullpen and refer to it as “Cheap Ass Beers,” and I am sure they are just fine with that. When the game has ended, most people aren’t ready to just pack it up and head on home. They need something to come to terms with the fact that another Opening Day has come and gone, and what better way to satisfy that need than to enjoy a couple “Cheap Ass Beers” at The Bullpen? If memory serves, I believe they sell 16-ounce domestic cans two for $3 but it could be $4.

Either way, that price point absolutely cannot be beat. And at the end of a marathon like Opening Day, you may serendipitously only have $4 in crinkled dollar bills left in your pocket. This is a perfect way to turn over the lineup for next time around, which is always the job of the ninth hitter in the lineup.

**BONUS** Uber/Lyft/cab/someone sober to drive you home

I just laid out a path to consuming an indeterminate number of alcoholic beverages, so I would be derelict in my duties if I didn’t make it abundantly clear that each and every person reading this should make an ironclad promise to themselves and everyone else in their general vicinity to be responsible about arranging a safe ride home. This list is intended to be a blueprint for doing Opening Day right every single year, and it would be a shame if you ruined that for yourself or anyone else by getting behind the wheel and ending up in jail, hurt, or hurting anyone else. Do not be an idiot, use all the resources available and leave your car parked. This is a demand, not a request.

So, there you have it. Follow this starting lineup to the letter and I will personally guarantee you have the Opening Day of your dreams. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments or on Twitter where I can be found @willthedad.

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