GROVER: Tailgate Like a Champ

Tailgating is a privilege, not a right. Sad to say, but it’s true. Not all professional sports teams permit lounging on their premises. Last week, Los Angeles police arrested more than 130 Dodgers fans for doing just that — having a couple beers in public. Randy Marsh was under the impression that this is America. It’s crackdowns like this that make it all the more apparent how good we have it here in Milwaukee.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned my new residency in the back of the Miller Park(ing lot). Well, there’s a lot of downtime out there, so between naps in the Jeep, I constructed this: the definitive guide to tailgating. Indulge yourself:

Part One: Proximity

Long ago, my father revealed his “secret” path to the parking lot. Highway traffic is for suckers. If you promise not to tell anyone else, here it is. From Marquette, head west to 32nd St. Turn left. Head due south until you are forced to turn. Turn right. Follow the road. That’s it. You’re there.

Pay for general parking. Preferred parking is, again, for suckers. I always think about the people parking in the last row of preferred, right next to the people that paid half the price for the exact same location. It’s not worth it (as much as $25 this year, depending on the game), and you’ll need to work some calories off, anyway.

Part Two: Supplies

This is all about quality. It’s understandable if you’re on a budget (you’re preaching to the choir), but you need the essentials — beer, brats and a grill. For bonus effect, grab a vegetable platter, but please realize that it is for display only. Nutrition is not allowed at the stadium.

Bring something to do so you don’t get bored. The old stand-bys are sets of “Bags” (or Cornhole, or whatever you want to call it), but a football or just some playing cards will do the trick. Yahtzee!

Part Three: Execution

The worst thing you can do is rush your tailgate. It’s an amateur mistake, one that brings tears to my eyes. Leisure rules, and relaxing with your buddies is the entire point of tailgating. So give yourself a good two hours before the first pitch to kick back and rewind.

One reason is to get your grilling done early. Why? So there’s enough time for your grill to cool down so you can put it back in your car. Why? Because if you don’t, your shit will get stolen. There’s nothing worse than trudging back to your car after a loss, and whoops, someone jacked your Weber, too.

Make some new friends. As the great philosopher Costanza once said, “We’re living in a society, people!” Besides, you might need to borrow some mustard, or get some backup when unruly fans of the opposing team start running their mouths.

For my friends 21 and over, the optimal temperature to enjoy Milwaukee Brewers baseball is about six(teen) beers. Those stadium Miller Lites will burn your wallet every time, so party hardy outside like an intelligent consumer. Backload your tailgate so you’re good and merry at the top of the first but ready to blow a 0.07 on the drive home. Or just trap someone else into driving. That’s probably a better idea, anyway.

Tailgating is awesome. You don’t even need to like the Brewers (or baseball, for that matter) to enjoy it. Over the years, I’ve spent many a lost weekend sitting in the sun, retractable roof at my back, listening to music with good friends. There’s nothing like it. And if you’ve never been, what are you waiting for? I’ll bring the chips.