Football fans around the country think they have the market cornered on tailgating, but fans of America’s pastime can party with the best of them! If you are curious about what a tailgate party is or where it can take place, it’s a party that happens just about anywhere and is based around a sporting event. Many ballparks encourage their fans to have tailgate parties in their parking lot before the game with the crowds’ customized gifts for sports fans that show off which team they are rooting for at the game. We’ve put together a few great tips to help you hit a grand slam when you plan your next tailgate party!
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1. Select the Right Game
One of the most essential baseball tailgating tips on our list is understanding the importance of choosing your game carefully. During football season, every home game is a big deal. But the MLB season is 162 games long, and even die-hard season ticket holders struggle to make it to the ballpark on a Tuesday night. Ballparks run promotions to bolster weeknight attendance, but you’ll get a better turnout if you plan your baseball tailgate party during a weekend game. Pick a date when your team is hosting a rival, and get the word out to your friends at least a few weeks in advance.
2. Pick Your Parking Spot
Another essential step in planning the perfect tailgate party is getting to the stadium early enough to find a great parking spot. You can visit the stadium’s website before the game to find out when the stadium’s parking lot is open and whether it has any tailgating regulations or alcohol restrictions. Some ballparks might allow you to reserve a tailgating area in advance, but stadium parking spots are typically available on a first-come-first-served basis. If you’re allowed to pick your parking spot, try to find a level area with plenty of foot traffic near the gate.
3. Prep Your Site
Once you’ve parked, it’s time to get set up. Pop-up canopies and folding tables are standard tailgating equipment, and you’ll want to have plenty of shade available during the hot months of baseball season. Be sure to order some custom drinkware that is personalized with the names of all your guests. It gives people more of an incentive to show up if they know they’re receiving party favors, and you’ll never have to worry about accidentally picking up someone else’s beverage. Finish off your tailgate decorations by putting up a portable flagpole and hoisting your team’s banner. In addition to showing your team spirit, it makes it much easier for people to find you when the lot begins to fill up.
4. Set Up Your Viewing Area
Some ballparks provide electrical outlets in their tailgating area, but you shouldn’t count on it. The good news is that today’s portable generators are much quieter and cheaper than their older counterparts, and you can set up a satellite dish just about anywhere. Many local baseball games are subjected to media blackouts to drum up ticket sales, but that won’t be a problem if you’re at the game and watching it in person. If you don’t feel like setting up a TV for the pregame, you can easily connect your smartphone to a weather-proof Bluetooth speaker to enjoy some music before the game.
5. Fire Up the Grill
Whether you’re hosting your first tailgate or you’re a seasoned pro, you’ll want to feed your guests in style! Seasoned tailgate pros understand the importance of doing all kitchen prep at home before the game. You’ll probably be tired after getting everything else set up, and grilling is easy when the meat is properly marinated in advance and ready for the grill. Review the stadium’s rules about grilling in the parking lot and ensure that all used coals are put out before you dump them into the trash. If you want to go the extra mile, buy a personalized grilling set to show everyone that you are the best grillmaster at the party!
6. Bring Some Tailgate Games
You’ll want to have plenty of options for kids of all ages when you’re planning the perfect tailgate party, and tailgate games are a great way to keep your guests entertained while they wait for their burgers or barbecue. Cornhole, Kan Jam and Spikeball are all games that provide hours of entertainment at every outdoor party.
7. Have Contingencies
Summer weather can be notoriously unpredictable, and you want to be ready for the times when a beautiful day gets interrupted by a torrential downpour. Our final recommendation for baseball fans who want to know how to tailgate like a champ is to have a plan for everything. Good preparation begins by providing plenty of shade for your guests on sunny days and shelter during rain delays. You can still get sunburned on an overcast day, so make sure to pack plenty of sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. Seasoned tailgaters also know to pack toilet paper in the car for the inevitable times when the nearby porta-potties run out. Enjoying a few cocktails before the game is a tradition that’s as old as the game of baseball but drinking plenty of water between rounds will help you stay properly hydrated.
The Perfect Baseball Tailgate Party Is Easier Than You Think
There’s nothing like sitting in the stadium with a beverage in one hand and a hot dog in the other. Die-hard baseball fans know that a great tailgate party makes the experience even better. Before you get to the parking lot, make a checklist of all the items you need to bring to the tailgate so you don’t wind up forgetting anything important!