This is an article about when the Major League Baseball returns. It is also a practice in optimism. What do you do if you can’t go to the ballpark?
A Practice In Optimism
Normally at this point in the baseball season, fans would have attended at least a few games. When MLB returns this will not be possible. There will be no smell of the freshly cut grass, no overpriced, stale beer, and no soggy nachos with either too much cheese or not quite enough.
Unless fans create this at home.
So, what does the fan do to create the ballpark at their house?
Here is your step by step guide to turning your abode into a green cathedral.
But First, A Note On Transportation
Unless you are a hodophile, the one and only positive thing about ballparks being closed is the lack of travel (and not paying for parking). So, two positives.
How To Turn Your House Into A Ballpark
Starting with the ballpark environment seems a logical beginning.
What is more important than a chair? Now, if one is sitting in a luxury box with a lazy boy like recliner that is all well and good. Enjoy your couch. But that’s not the genuine everyday ballpark experience. The fan’s hindquarters must not be so coddled. The seat must be non cushioned and made of metal or plastic.
There must be no manipulation of the weather, other than a handheld fan or program (if you have an old one around the house). There should be no use of air conditioning, heaters, or ceiling fans. Open up the windows and let mother nature in. Isn’t that what the ballpark is all about? Getting an escape from the concrete jungle. Breathing in some fresh air while gazing at an expanse of green grass.
Environment Bonus: Bathroom Line
After the third inning have everyone in the house get in line for the bathroom. Keep in mind that you will probably miss an inning and a half. And an exciting scoring play.
It doesn’t matter if it’s just you or you and twenty people. This one is easy: show up. If you want to be the obnoxious drunk person go for it (just know, you are OBNOXIOUS). If you want to be the attentive fan keeping score, great. Or just be.
Bonus: 7th Inning Stretch
Although the game is bound to be on a commercial break, stand in the middle of the seventh. Clear the frog in your throat and belt out your best rendition of Jack Norworth’s 1908 classic, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.
This is important. It will be tempting to leave on your pajamas, or put them on, depending on game time. But for the true dyed in the wool fan, you must be decked out from head to toe. Break out your jersey, crusty old hat, socks (or stirrups), team shoes, scarf, sweatshirt, jacket, etc. Maybe you have all of these things, or just one, the important thing is to wear your colors.
Attire Bonus: Home Dugout Store
If getting a new hat, or buying one of the miniature bats that not even a kid knows what to do with, is your thing, then order them in advance and enjoy come game time.
We all love ballpark food. Some like it fancy and some prefer basic. We will stick to the basic, or traditional (more or less).
There is nothing better than sunflower seeds and peanuts in the shell to get your culinary adventure started. Just make sure you have a bowl handy for the shells.
This one is simple. Beer and soda. Maybe some water.
Hot dogs. Topped with mustard, ketchup, pickle relish, sauerkraut, and onions, or some variation in between. You need dogs to really feel like you are at the park.
Cracker Jack or some variation. This should add the right amount of sweetness and tradition.
Food Bonus: Home Grown Vendor
What is more ballpark than having somebody shout food words at you? Have someone that you live with come around every few innings and shout, “Peanuts here, hot dogs!” even if they don’t actually have those things to sell.
Food Bonus Bonus:
They actually have the food to sell. And you have the money.
Close Of The Game
If you really are a hodophile, and you miss the travel and desire a little post-game traffic, go for a slow walk around the neighborhood. This gives time for game contemplation and working off a hot dog or two.
Entire Game Bonus: Keep Score
Get yourself a scorecard and keep score. There are few greater pleasures in life.
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