Opening Day Advice.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I will miss being at opening day for the first time in the Miller Park era. I am a seasoned pro.
I figured I would share my vast store of knowledge so that everyone can enjoy the day just a little more.
1. When to go:
The parking lot will open at least a half hour before they say it will. Go early, you’ll get in early. Happens every year. That’s “at least”. Sometimes it’s a full hour. One year we got in 3 hours early, but that’s because they forgot to man the 44th street entrance. They don’t forget anymore.
2. Bathroom logistics
Many people bring their own port-o-johns, or in one unfortunate case several years ago, a tent, a bucket, and a rubber tube. A buck or two (or a beer) used to allow access to these fine private establishments, however in the last year or two it is not unusual to see some people asking for a $10 spot, or even a $20. If you’ve had enough it can seem like a good idea.
That’s frankly too much. Your best bet is to track down the nearest free spot or, if you’re entrepreneurial, bring your own.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation, between car doors is far superior to “in the river” which will get you picked up by the bike cops right quick. Please, pee responsibly.
You should bet on the following things:
a. Bags, hillbilly horse shoes, washers, any game I do not know about because I am old.
b. Who can drink the most/fastest.
c. Pass the hat.
d. Sausage race.
e. Quickest “cycle.”
f. Which inning will the guy who cleverly snuck in the bag of box wine yack?
g. How many times will the Brewers run into outs on the bases due to aggressive managing?
h. Will Lance Berkman’s scoreboard photo still make him look like a child molester?
I. Will Rickie Weeks be plunked?
J. Better arm, Ball Boy or Ball Girl?
K. If you are being annoyed by a two-fisted slobber, should you find an usher, a county sheriff, or should you go to the fan assistance center located on the main concourse behind section 17?
4. If opening day falls on Good Friday should I refrain from eating meat?
Nope. A wise man once said “tis better to ask forgiveness than permission.” Besides, it’s not like abstaining from “meat” (meaning beef and fowl) isn’t really much of a sacrifice. Fish is pretty tasty, and fried fish is extra tasty. Giving up, say cheeseburgers, but allowing yourself fried fish is like setting aside one day a week from your busy beer drinking schedule to exclusively drink whisky. Such a sacrifice.
5. I’m not Catholic. Should I taunt Catholics with tasty bratwurst?
No, that’s just mean. Besides, last time this happened the guys tailgating next to me were boiling lobster. How do you taunt that? You should, however, proudly consume your various encased meats and not feel an ounce of guilt.
6. Star Spangled Banner
Hats off, pay attention, sing.
7. God Bless America
Hats ON. Do not disrupt those who enjoy the moment, but do not disparage those who choose to get a refill. God Bless America is not the national anthem and is therefore not entitled to the same respect. Doing so devalues the actual national anthem. Also, we have far too much patriotic nonsense already while we’re enjoying our bread at our circus.
8. Roll Out the Barrel
Singing is required. Dancing is optional. Make sure you really hit “Tarrarel”.
9. Take Me out to the Ballgame
Singing is optional. Yelling “BREWERS” at the appropriate moment is required.
10. Beer selection.
I’m somewhat of a beer snob. I like a big, powerful Russian Imperial Stout or an overhopped IPA as much as the next beer snob, but on opening day it’s generally more about quantity. While tailgating you will probably always have a beer (or a bloody) in your hand at all times. Once you’re inside this trend will probably continue. Light beers are perfect for this sort of thing, and really, Miler Lite screams opening day for me anyway.
Guinness is another good choice (low calorie and alcohol content), especially if it’s a bit chilly. If you want to down Dale’s Pale Ale all day be my guest, just keep in mind that that 6.5% is going to hurt you at some point.
11. Tailgating necessities
You will need the following things:
a. Beer drinking glove. This is the single most useful thing you can have when tailgating in 50 degree or cooler weather. It will make your life a thousand times better.
b. Grill. Charcoal is preferred. Where else can you simply dump your coals into a big concrete trashcan bin you’re done grilling?
c. Brats, burgers, hot dogs, more fanciful sausage if that’s your thing, ketchup, mustard, secret stadium sauce, onions, relish, a tin in which to boil beer and onions, cheese, buns, kraut.
d. Snacks. Chips, dip, salsa, etc. Some veggies won’t kill you.
e. Games. Bags is my personal favorite, but they all have some merit.
f. Cooler, selection of easy-drinking, lower alcohol beer (4.5% or so).
g. Radio – Playing pre-game stuff.
h. A bottle opener (don’t be the guy who has to ask the tailgate next door).
i. Utensils, paper towels, a can opener. In case you have a can.
j. A table. Chairs. The table you’ll need. I actually barely ever sit at a tailgate, but it’s nice to have the option I suppose.
k. A garbage bag.
12. How to Dress.
Layers. It will probably be cold. Jerseys on grownups are perfectly fine and do not let anyone tell you different. Caps are a must. The old logo is fine. The new logo is fine. The “Motre Bame” logo is not fine and should be roundly mocked.
Everybody’s free to wear sunglasses.
Star players are acceptable. Players who are no longer on the team are frowned upon, but you have 2 years of leeway in which to acquire a suitable upgrade. I recommend having an “all-time great” on hand just in case.
Players who have not been on the team for 2 years should be openly ridiculed.
Jerseys of a current Brewer from a different team are stupid. You cheer for the Brewers, not for some player 5 years ago, and not for some other team.
Packer Jerseys are not allowed EVER. I cannot stress this enough.
Anyone wearing a Brett Favre jersey should be egged. Or Nachoed or Poutined or something.
Anyone wearing a Gary Sheffield jersey should be ejected immediately for poor judgment and for his/her own safety.
Pink uniforms and hats: No.
Above all, enjoy the game, have a good time, and make sure you get home (or to your next destination) safely.
*For more on opening day may I suggest this old Mailbag.