It was the perfect storm. Beautiful weather, Mother’s Day, the second game of a doubleheader, the late opening of gates, and at the center of it all: the Trea Turner bobblehead.
The Trea Turner bobblehead was supposed to be given out Friday the 12th against the Phillies. However, that game was postponed before the gates were even opened, so no bobbleheads were given away. The giveaway was then scheduled to be during the rescheduled game, which was the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday. It was anticipated that the giveaway would increase the turnout for the second game, but no one expected the utter chaos.
I had already been planning on going to the Friday game, so of course my family and I headed out to Nationals Park for the second game on Sunday. Now, I’ve been to my fair share of giveaway games and I anticipated some congestion, but no previous giveaway could have my prepared me for this. My parents dropped me and my brother off and they went to park, and we went to the third base gate. We’d arrived with about ten minutes to spare before gates were scheduled to open, and the lines stretched as far as the eye could see. Pools of people donned in red waiting patiently (or impatiently) to get in and and get their hands on a bobblehead. From my spot in line, I couldn’t even see the front of the gate.
We stood in line at the third base gate for about forty minutes, the pace slow as molasses. I was getting kind of annoyed with the traffic at the gate, though it wasn’t nearly as bad as the nightmare crowd at the center field gate, where the line stretched out past the metro. At that point, things were relatively normal until the moment I got about thirty feet away from the gate and saw that they had run out of bobbleheads. The anxiety and worry that I might not come out of this with a bobblehead started to squeeze my heart. Luckily, the attendants at the gate eased my fear by telling me they should be bringing more boxes of bobbleheads soon. So I stood there and waited at the bobblehead table, the crowd around me beginning to pile up as the moments went by. But soon they brought over a few more boxes of bobbleheads, and all hell broke loose.
The number of boxes they’d brought over were not enough for the pulsating crowd waiting. They began to hand out bobbleheads one by one to the nearest hands, and so the madness begun. I knew the only way I’d get out of there with a bobblehead was to become ruthless. I shoved and shimmied my way to the front of the table, clawing my way into the fray, jostling the people around me, ready to physically fight, and not giving up until I had a bobblehead securely in my hand. The real trouble was getting out. I turned around, but the crowd was moving towards me. Being the height that I am (that is, short), I had a split second where I thought the crowd would suck me under. But I managed to will my way out, and somehow I still had the bobblehead.
My little brother wasn’t so lucky. Despite the people around him saying “Give one to the kid!” he did not manage to get one before they ran out. And this time, they weren’t bringing any more. Thank goodness the kid can go with the flow.
For the rest of the night I felt like I was carrying precious cargo. I was ready to fight someone to protect my bobblehead, and at times I felt it might have been necessary. I didn’t let the bobblehead out of my sight for the rest of the night. Things settled down once the game started, but getting in and getting a bobblehead was like experiencing three Black Fridays at once. And while I somehow escaped unscathed and with a bobblehead, I expect others who went to the game weren’t so lucky.
I’ve never experienced a bobblehead frenzy like this before, and I don’t expect that I will again.Tags: Bobbleheads, Nationals, Nats, Trea Turner, Washington Nationals