A long line of Orioles fans stood at a small cart in the upper deck of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, waiting to buy a can of beer at the home opener.
But no employee was present to sell it to them around 5:20 p.m., and people were getting frustrated. Stephen Medina had already been in line for 45 minutes, he said. An employee had been selling beer at the cart at some point, but then left with no explanation and never came back.
Phil Waldhauser had waited at two different carts, he said. The employee selling beer at the first left, so he moved to a second cart, where he got all the way up to the front of the line.
“And then it was like déjà vu,” Waldhauser said. “The employee there left, too.”
Finally, after talking to staff at the stadium, Waldhauser had two cold beers in his hand, which he had gotten for free.
But still, “it’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’m trying to give you money, $12 for a beer, and I can’t even do it.”
The Orioles did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other fans said they’d waited in long lines for food, and questioned the effectiveness of touch-screen registers for placing orders.
“It’s too complicated, especially when people have been drinking,” said Eric, an Orioles fan who declined to provide his last name. “I’d rather talk to somebody.”
At one point, a few fans standing in line in front of a cart with no employee manning it took a few beers for themselves and walked away. A security guard quickly ushered them back. “But there’s no one here,” one protested.
Kay Beth “KB” Tyson was standing in her third line for beer, and still hadn’t managed to get one. She was now waiting to get into the Camden Yards gameday market.
She had been turned away at two previous carts, and told they were out of stock. Yet, she pointed at a row of locked refrigerators fully stocked with beer. “We can see it, it’s right here,” she said, “so it doesn’t make any sense.”
“It’s just frustrating,” she added. “I’m trying to get to the game, I want to watch the game, but I’m thirsty.”