The big hits of the day had hometown appeal. Lines were steady at the new Polock Johnny's stands, corrugated-metal shacks lining the outer loop of the upper and lower concourse.
"I've lived my whole life in Baltimore and I so miss the old place," said Baltimore native Carl Lamy, who was planning to make Polock Johnny's his second stop of the afternoon. "I'm so excited that it's here."
Lamy had just tried, and loved, his first Rolling Crab, a crabmeat-stuffed eggroll that Sportservice is introducing to fans this year at the new Old Bay Seafood stand. "I'm not going to give it a home run," Lamy said, "but I'll give it a clean triple because it burned by tongue a little."
Debby and Michael Lancelotta of Baltimore were eager to try the famous local sausage, too. "My father insisted on showing my friend a Polock Johnny's when she came to visit. I had never heard of it, and I've lived here my whole life."
The spirits were especially high in and around the new Natty Boh Bar, which is on the inner loop of the lower concourse on the first-base side. Abbey and Michele Thompson were among those getting their photograph taken with the Mr. Boh mascot, who will be making up to 40 appearances at Camden Yards this year. The $7.50 price for a National Bohemian draft didn't appear to deter many patrons. "I could go down the street and get a four-pack for $7.50," said Brooks Wunder, "but I have to get at least one here."
The fact that Natty Boh is no longer brewed in Maryland appeared to be irrelevant. Cheryl Grabenstein, a Detroit native now living in Maryland, said, "It's a good beer and it's local. When I lived in Detroit, I drank Stroh's, now I drink Natty Boh."
Eutaw Street institution Boog's Barbecue introduced a new premier sandwich, the Big Boog, a groaning serving of pit-style beef, pork and turkey. The regular pit sandwiches sell for $10, the Big Boog is $15. Annie O'Brien, a manager at Boog's, said the new sandwich was "doing better than they expected," adding that the sandwich has twice the meat of the original and comes with chips.
The first Big Boogs purchased at Camden Yards were enjoyed by William Foster, of Newark, Del., and his son, Billy, of Bear, Del. They rated the new sandwich a "grand slam, absolutely," the elder Foster said.
Not everything scored so well. Joel Raedeke of Bel Air ranked the new footlong hot dog from Das Sausage Haus a "cheap single."
There were a few glitches Monday. Big Boog's was among the concessions plagued by credit-card processing issues, which created extra-long lines at ATMs around the park. The mood at the Free State Tavern, the third-base side counterpart to the Natty Boh Tavern, was flat in part because the two-beers-per-customer signs hadn't arrived. Patrons heard about the rule only after reaching the front of the line.
Like the Orioles, Sportservice has the rest of the season ahead. But on Monday, most fans seemed as patient as Michele Thompson, even about the prices: "It's what you expect at the stadium."