Build a Better Opening Day: the Devil’s In the Details


Building a Better Opening Day is ongoing series about how to get the most out of your experience as a Brewer Fan on the first day of the season. You can read the first installments here, here, and here.

Welcome to our fourth and final edition of Build a Better Opening Day. By this time, you should be well on your way to celebrating the beginning of another Milwaukee Brewers season with style, distinction, and class.

Since the beginning of this most noble enterprise, I have received literally dozens of questions on how to host an Opening Day party. Most of the questions would not warrant an article unto themselves, and so we are left with a host of unanswered queries that require some kind of closure. Put your fears to rest, gentle readers, and let’s get into some of these nasty little details with which a host must face in the narrowing window of time before the Opening Day bash.

Q: Hey! You were supposed to talk about seating charts!

A: That’s not a question.

Q: Sorry. Can we talk about seating charts, like you promised?

A: Yes. Seating charts are solely in the hands of the party host. I would not say that seating charts are essential to creating a great party, but it can make a world of difference with a very diverse crowd. Here’s the best way I can think of doing it.

Front and center you want the people who really know their stuff and really want to watch the game. These people aren’t going to get up a lot during the game, and their conversation will be germane and pertinent to the course of the game. Therefore, their central position in the group will allow information to be disseminated efficiently and they will be able to watch the game unimpeded. On the side of the room closest to the bathroom (we’ll call it ‘stage right’, for visual purposes) should be the guests you have the least amount of trust in during game time. This means people who take frequent bathroom breaks, don’t understand baseball as well, or simply prattle on during any and all in-game action. This way they have their own little section stage right to discuss how pretty Ryan Braun looks and take as many breaks as they want. Stage left should then be reserved for those people who are eager to learn about the game and control their discussion (and bladder) throughout the game.

Again, this isn’t necessary but be forewarned: if you don’t have assigned seating, you have to live with it. You can’t try to shun someone into the corner after the third inning because they want to know where Geoff Jenkins went. Even though you have every right too.

Q: I think shrimp can be ultra-classy, if they’re as big as my head. What do you think?

A: Anything is classy if it’s as big as your head. Unless you live on Monster Island, however, you will have a hard time finding an eight pound shrimp. If you do find it, let me know.

Q: Should I decorate my house in Brewers gear for the Opening Day party?

A: Unless your house is already a shrine to Milwaukee’s greatness, it should stay just about as is. You should clean your house, of course, but the extra decor is simply gilding the lily. Not to mention the fact that if you pick up Brewers plates, streamers, and banners from a party store, THEY WILL FALL APART AND LOOK TERRIBLE. You are throwing a classy party, not a child’s birthday. Understatement allows for focus on what’s important: the Brewers beating the Cardinals.

Q: What’s your ideal layout for a party?

A: I’m glad you asked. Specific layout is determined mainly by the dimensions of your home or lot space, but the essential aspects should remain the same:

  • Prep area: a table (or the tailgate of your car) near the grill that is used only for preparing food for cooking/serving. This is the safe and sanitary way to do it. Nobody but the cook should touch this area.
  • Cooking area: the grill. THIS IS NON-NEGOTIABLE.
  • Serving area: desirably a buffet-style set up, from left to right: plates and utensils, bread, meat, condiments, salads and other staples. If you are a guest at this party, DO NOT BREAK THE LINE. No one likes to be one step away from putting mustard on a brat only to have some incorrigible barbarian break in to steal it from you. Be a grown up and wait your turn.
  • Eating area: Again, it doesn’t have to be some sprawling Medieval oaken table (though kudos to you if that’s the case) but it does need clear delineation.  If it’s just folding chairs, that’s fine. If it’s a table then that’s cool, too. Just make sure no one has to balance a plate of potatoes and burgers on their arm while they eat standing up.

Q: Should I impose a dress code for my party?

A: Here’s the thing about dress codes – they’re a slippery slope. If you impose a dress code, it had better be a good one. If it’s a good one, it needs to be top notch. I’m talking suit jackets (two button minimum – make an effort guys) ties, dresses, the works. Otherwise, what’s the point? But if you do have a dress code like that, you’re party better be compensation for the time it took the guests to look pretty.

You could, of course, go in the opposite direction and have everyone dress up in Brewers gear. But remember then you get into a costumed game of one-upsmanship and you have to look at these people for upwards of five hours. Think long and hard about that.

Q: I’m 18, and I’m attending one of these Brewers parties. It’s OK if I have, like, one beer right? I’m legit.

A: ABSOLUTELY NOT. I cannot stress this enough to you guys: DO NOT BREAK THE LAW. We are not common street people, we are Brewers fans – a classy and sophisticated bunch. Underage drinking, drinking and driving, and general hooliganism are uncouth acts that bring shame upon your party, your team, and your family. Think about it this way – when you’re about to do something, ask yourself “would an idiot do this thing?” If the answer is yes, then DON’T DO THAT THING.

Q: What sort of music is acceptable for an Opening Day party?

A: Any music that you play should be dictated by the members of your party and the climate of the party itself. Any and all music must be shut off no later than 15 minutes to first pitch, and can not resume play until after the final out. This is one of the few rules that I am unflinching on – you are here for baseball, not some kind of high school dance party or drunken debauchery at a college bar. Remember that.

Q: We’re throwing an Opening Day Party, and we want to add some extra flair for the game. Any ideas on how to enhance the actual in-game experience?

A: Reviewing the Brew will be hosting a Live Blog for Opening Day. Stop back at the site tomorrow and yours truly will be dictating the action in one of the clumsiest ways possible to use instant communication to relay baseball. It’s going to be fun, though. So load up Reviewing the Brew, sign in to comment and let me know what you think of the game and how your Opening Day party is going. We’ll see you there.

Enjoy the festivities, ladies and gentleman. Until tomorrow, I bid you the fondest of adieus.