My original plan to meet up with friends in Eastern Market was now out of the question due to the time, and I only had 1 option: Go to the Half Street Fairgrounds, or as I will always call it, The Bullpen.
If you are unfamiliar with what The Bullpen is, it is a giant asphalt lot surrounded by shipping crates. That pretty much sums it up.
This abandoned parking lot features a stage for live music, about 20 beer stands (with a crappy selection of Miller Lt distributor only products), a few tents, some beanbag games, a food truck or 2, and just a bunch of open space. The crowd is supplied by the Washington Nationals.
As I fought my way through thousands of people to escape the dungeon known as the Navy Yard Metro, I headed towards a giant clump of people which appeared to be a line, although it was more like Kindergarten Cop's class before Arnold got his whistle (BAM TAKE THAT REFERENCE!).
After a few minutes and some clever maneuvering I was inside and engulfed by the endless amoeba of drunk Nats fans. It was only about an hour before the first pitch and there seemed to be more people in this zoo than inside Nats Park itself. It was a mob scene.
|The crowd before the game at the Fairgrounds/Bullpen|
Since beer prices inside the stadium are a ridiculous $9-ish it was no wonder that the swarms of fans were trying to down every last drop of $6 beer before they went into the stadium. Keep in mind, it was around noon.
I escaped the madness with a few beers down the hatch as my prize, and went into the stadium to watch Bryce Harper treat baseballs like they were characters in Zero Dark Thirty. After the game where else did I go but back to the Bullpen.
After the game was an even bigger s-show. Hundreds of people trying to funnel through 20 minute lines to tiny ID checking stations. I pushed. I prodded. I slithered. And eventually I was back in...but why...WHY!!!
The post-game at the Bullpen was just as I expected. Those drunk fans from before the game were back, and drunker than ever. "You know what the best part of day-drinking is," one inebriated fellow said, "that the game is over and you still have all day to drink". Poetic.
I had a few beverages, somehow made my way into a game of cornhole, and was starting to actually have fun! Amazing. But it didn't last long. I really really really had to go to the bathroom, and stat.
There was only one problem...the line...my God the line...Imagine you are at a theme park on the most crowded day of the year. Now imagine that feeling of excitement for riding the roller coaster you are waiting in line for is actually not excitement but the gallons of beer you drank trying to escape your body by any means necessary. Now imagine the ride is out of order. THAT is how terrible the bathroom line was (see video below):
People couldn't wait. They were going to the bathroom in corners, behind crates, in trash cans, hiding behind friends, in the street, directly on the asphalt, anywhere they could find. It was horrible.
The Fairgrounds bouncers were having one exiting time catching these people. Every time they would look around a corner, someone was peeing. One guy in particular caught at least 15 people in the same spot. Each time a bro would get dragged out from behind something or someone and be escorted through the crowd embarrassingly with their fly still down and wet spots on their pants.
And no...I was not one of the ones tossed out. I have my own personal secret bathroom located very close to the stadium. But I can't tell you where, because I want it for myself...
Eventually the crowd died down and the Bullpen made the quick transformation from the World's Fair to a K-Mart. The crowds were gone, and the only thing remaining was garbage, spilled beer, and bodily fluids. That was my cue to leave.
And that is how I spent my opening day...