Tailgating tips for the ultimate baseball fan

Nothing says spring like America’s favorite pastime — baseball. And nothing says baseball like a college kid’s favorite pastime — tailgating, a long-standing tradition at Miller Park.

For some baseball fans, tailgating is just as enjoyable as watching the game. Photo by Becca Rebholz / rebecca.rebholz@marquette.edu
For some baseball fans, tailgating is just as enjoyable as watching the game. Photo by Becca Rebholz / rebecca.rebholz@marquette.edu

Just by walking through the parking lots, fans’ nostrils are filled with the smell of brats and charcoal as music and friendly banter between supporters of opposing teams fill the air.

With the upcoming series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs, this weekend is a perfect opportunity to get the ultimate Milwaukee baseball experience. Here are Marquee’s eight tips to a fun and successful tailgate.

1.)  Arrive Early

Brewers fans take their tailgating seriously. Long lines of cars are a common sight before every game, since people want to start tailgating and get into the cheaper parking lots as early as possible. In between setting up tents and cooking food, you want to make sure you still have time to enjoy the actual tailgate party. All Miller Park parking lots are open three hours prior to the start of the game. Arrive thirty minutes before the parking lots open to allow ample time to find and set up the tailgating area, cook some food, drink some beer and enjoy.

2.)  Prepare the Food Beforehand

Nothing kills a tailgating experience faster than running out of food. Make sure you know how many people you’re feeding and bring enough for all of them — and then bring more. Try to prepare as much as possible the night before, like slicing the cheese for cheeseburgers and putting food into containers. If you want to make the most of your tailgate, boil all of your brats the night before. That way, all you need to do is brown them on the grill at the ballpark. Less time cooking, more time eating.

3.)  Think Disposable

Miller Park is no place for fancy silverware and dishes. Make your tailgate simple and easy. Paper plates and plastic cups and utensils work best for these types of conditions, making an easy clean up once you’re done. Although Miller Park parking lots come equipped with trash bins and even charcoal bins for the clean up process, it would be a smart idea to bring trash bags as well.

4.)  Let’s Talk Games

The tent is up, the beer is cold and the food is grilling. Now what? It’s time for some friendly competition. Bring a baseball, Frisbee, football or even volleyball for some tailgating activity. Better yet, bring the ultimate tailgate game — the beanbag toss. A game where participants can play with a beer in one hand is perfect for tailgating. Find some fans rooting for the opposing team and challenge them to a game. It’s guaranteed to produce some enjoyable pregame banter.

5.)  Sound Check

Music keeps the vibe alive at any tailgating party. Whether it’s playing from the car, radio or portable iPod dock, music can really set your entire baseball-filled day into the right groove.

“I recommend country for tailgating, especially during a sunny day at the ball park,” said Jake Weber, a sophomore in the College of Business. “But mix in some rock songs and a couple throwbacks like Springsteen as well.”

A radio is a valuable accessory, especially if your team starts losing. That way, you can leave the game, get back to tailgating and listen to the last innings on the radio to avoid actually watching the team lose. But be sure to watch the volume. You never want to be known as the disrespectful, annoying group by your fellow tailgaters.

6.)  Try to Stick to Miller Products

Here at Marquee, we understand that Keystone and Busch beer are probably easier on the average college student’s budget. But we’re talking Miller Park. Make your tailgating time “Miller Time.”

Whatever your beer of choice, make sure you take your bathroom break early. Miller Park provides multiple port-a-potties to assist your needs, but once the game starts, so do the bathroom lines. Plan accordingly.

7.)  Follow the Rules. It’s not that hard

Tailgating at Miller Park comes with rules, and you wouldn’t want your experience to be ruined just because you chose not to follow one. Although all the rules can be found on the Miller Park website, some of the most important include calling ahead for designated areas for larger tailgates or an organized party. Only state-approved gas/propane with full-valve turn-offs, or self-contained charcoal grills are permitted in the parking lots. Lastly, all pre-tailgating must end one hour after the game starts, and then all tailgaters must leave one hour after the game ends.  See the website for the full list of rules.

8.)  Show Some Pride

Whatever team you’re rooting for, represent them with some pride. Dig out that Cubs jersey, wear that Minnesota Twins hat or raise that Brewers flag proudly to show you’re a true fan. Having a flag waving over your tailgating area can help people in your group find the campsite, especially if they have had a bit to drink.

Get creative with your team spirit decorations. Paint your face, string up the banners and make your tailgate area a unique experience for any fan to walk through.

What You’d Forget, But We Remembered…

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses, because no one looks good burnt.
  • Lawn chairs, because no one likes sitting on a cooler.
  • Canopy tent, because no one likes sitting in the rain.
  • Ice, because no one likes a warm beverage.
  • Charged phone and radio, because no one likes a dead battery.
  • Positive attitude, because no one wants to tailgate with a party pooper.