Build A Better Opening Day: The Set-Up


For those of you that don’t know me, I am a man of consummate style, class, and sophistication. For those of you that do know me, disregard the previous sentence. In any case, I have decided to take the days going into Opening Day to use my skills (gratis, as usual) to help YOU create the perfect party for the beginning of the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers season. Opening day is a huge deal, and you need to kick it off with all the pomp and circumstance that such an occasion deserves. This handy guide will lend tips throughout the lead in to this most glorious of days to make sure that every member of the Brew Crew thoroughly enjoys Opening Day.

Part one is all about the where. You know what they say in real estate: it’s all about location, location…and…I know there was a third thing but it escapes me.

So you plan to celebrate Opening Day. Good on you, sir or madam. You are participating in a decades-old tradition that binds this great nation together with the glue of beer, hot dogs, sweat and awkward hugs between middle-aged men. But where, pre tell, are you planning on throwing this shindig?

Miller Park: The Gentleman’s Choice (Ladies, too)

An excellent choice. Miller Park would obviously be the perfect place to launch a baseball season. It is appropriate, classy, and perfectly on trend for the whole “tailgating” theme. Even the Brewers’ own website uses classy language to describe it, picking out phrases like “structural elegance”, “intimate proximity”, “romantic”, and “facade”. Are we going to a baseball game or a black-tie gala? It’s up to you to decide.

Just because you got tickets to the game doesn’t mean the planning is over, my friend. Where do you park? Miller Park has plenty of options, and all of them are quite serviceable for an adequate Opening Day experience. But you don’t want ‘adequate’, do you? Of course not.

You want great.

You could hang out with all the ‘normals’ in the Molitor lot, and take the 17,530 foot* trek into the stadium, or the circus of the Yount and Uecker lots. Those are all fine choices. Truth be told, many a fine pre-game were thrown in those lots. But Gantner’s Gardens are usually filled with children and special events – we want an Opening Day of distinction. So arrive early, part with the buck, and get yourself in the Preferred Parking Lots. That way you can rub elbows with all the movers and shakers of Southeast Wisconsin. My tip would be the Miller lot. It’s sectioned off nicely, which gives it an air of mystique and exclusivity; just what your guests are craving. It does feature the walk-up to the pedestrian bridge as well so you include some of the atmosphere of the drunken circus that incurs on your way into and out of the game. Not to mention the smooth, melodic saxophone and drum performances upon your exit. A fitting end to any great party.

If you do end up in the general lots, don’t fret. You still can – and will – have a fabulous time. Either way, you are still at the place to be for Opening Day. Which is more than you can say for the unfortunate souls who utilize our next few tips.

*estimated distance.

Your House: Your Rules.

Stuck at home for Opening Day? Sucks for you, bro. EXCEPT THAT IT DOESN’T.

You nabbed yourself a diamond in the Opening Day rough just by being you. Holding an Opening Day party at your house can be even better than those poor suckers shelling out for parking money because you have something they don’t have – complete control. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Bad weather? Keep the party inside. Parking fees? Only if you want them. Annoying people near your party? Kick them out. Weird smells from the bathroom? Light a candle. Your every hope and dream can be realized from Opening Day if party ground zero is your home.

Just to make sure I am dealing with real people of sophistication, I need to run down a primer for your property to ensure everything will go well. You have a yard or suitable outdoor space, correct? Awesome. An outdoor environment is key to a good tailgate party because you’re going to need a place to corral people so they won’t a) stink up your house with beer and meat sweats, and b) break anything nice like your collection of novelty plates or Bob Uecker Bobblehead. Not to mention it’s almost impossible to play bags or washers in your living room.

You have a grill as well, I assume? CHOICE. If you aren’t eating food off the grill on Opening Day, I don’t know what do with you. Grilling and baseball go together like Sinatra and Dean Martin. It just swings, baby. Nothing says “I am awesome at throwing Opening Day parties” quite like flame-kissed burgers, brats, and dogs.

Now – let’s talk about your TV situation. Big is good, enormous would be better. We can talk about HD, but I understand some of you need to spend more money on ascots, jewelery and other finery to continue your classy existence. This is OK. A great TV is not as essential to the party as the placement is. Just make sure it’s in prime viewing location for the whole gang. Keep it placed right so that guy with the huge head won’t keep blocking it and you won’t be obstructed by that girl who gets up to pee, like, a hundred times (we will cover seating charts in a future volume). If you can run extension cords and set it up outside then you, my friend, have won Opening Day.

Bars and Restaurants: Your Home Away From Home

Now I know, what with the economy being what it is, that many of the fans I’m reaching to can’t afford a home fit for lavish parties. This does not mean you are not gentlemen and ladies of discerning taste. Far from it, in fact. You are so classy that you refuse to sully your fine domicile with the traffic, garbage, and effort that comes with hosting your own Opening Day party. You’re going to work your fingers to the bone so some freeloaders can reap the benefits, all the while basking in the reflected glow of your hard-earned awesomeness? Pardon my french, but screw that noise. Why not find a reputable third party who will help you enjoy your day by taking care of all the details so you can enjoy yourself. That, my friends, is the American Way.

First things first – will you go to a bar or a restaurant? Both can offer you food and beverage along with an atmosphere of like-minded, amiable folk to enhance your experience. The choice is up to you, but do remember that your options for seating and viewing at a restaurant are in the hands of the establishment. You run your own risk. I know you like the Spinach Dip at Applebee’s – who doesn’t? – but if you get the corner booth instead of the high tops by the bar you’re S.O.L.  for one of the biggest days of the baseball calender, and that is unacceptable. My advice would be to find a bar. I know I said it was your choice before, but trust me on this one.

This part is just for the under 21 crowd. It’s not worth it for a fake ID, or a drinking ticket. Just suck it up, find some place else and order a Pepsi. I don’t want to hear about anyone getting in trouble or being dumb and illegal on my account. That’s not cool, you guys.

So here’s how you can find a good bar for your Opening Day get-together:

  1. The space itself should be comfortable and accommodating for a group as classy and sophisticated as yourselves. Plenty of seating, good views, and easy access to drinks and snacks.
  2. TVs. There should be enough to see the action wherever you are in the bar. Remember – size is good, location is better (Am I right, ladies? *rimshot*).
  3. Does the staff enhance the experience? Are they willing to cajole and discuss with the crowd? Are they prompt and helpful? Are they at least as attractive as the least attractive person in your group? If the answers to these questions are yes, then you’ve probably found the right place.
  4. Do they have specials running during the game? Do they have bar games during the action where you could win prizes like jerseys, booze, tickets, booze, hats, or booze?

Whatever and wherever you decide to host your Opening Day festivities; be it bar or restaurant, just remember to tip well and behave yourself in the fashion of the establishment’s rules. There’s nothing classy or sophisticated about being an unruly D-Bag.

Be sure to join us for the next edition of Build a Better Opening Day, where we discuss how to equip yourself properly for the perfect party.

In the meantime, why don’t you use the comment section to tell us where you spend Opening Day?