5 Ways to Bring the Ballpark to Your Living Room During Baseball Season
Recreate the best parts of the game at home.
You can’t beat a day at the ballpark, but you can make your home ballpark-like to bring the best parts of the game to the place where you live — minus the long lines, standstill traffic, dirty bathrooms, overpriced food, and obnoxious fans that can often plague the IRL gameday experience. Sure, it’s worth the hassle most days, but sometimes you really just want to call your buddies over and spend less on a couple cases of beer for the crew than you might on a single ticket for yourself.
With that in mind, we teamed up with Major League Baseball's Official Cerveza, Corona Extra, to clue you into how to bring the stadium to your house while preserving the relaxation. Here’s your starting lineup.
Make caramel corn
We don’t recommend shelled peanuts unless you’ve got a great robot vacuum, but caramel corn is much tastier when fresh, and easy to make at home with this recipe.
We like this instant DIY upgrade because it’s fun, cheap, delicious, and arguably better than the boxed stuff you can get at the ballpark. Bonus points: it’s far easier to wash your hands from your home entertainment den than it is to wait seven sticky innings, then eke past a dozen strangers and climb two flights of stairs.
Get another beer without leaving your seat
The nice thing about watching a baseball game from home is you don’t have to wait till the seventh inning to stretch, nor should you. The second nicest thing is that if you do stay parked in your seat, you can get another beer whenever you want one, not when the vendor comes by, or by crawling over a dozen row-neighbors. All you have to do is park a mini-fridge next to the couch as an end table, fill it with Corona Extra, and you can refill your drink in the blink of a local auto dealer commercial all while you kick back, relax, and enjoy the game.
Don’t want to move a fridge? Watching the game outdoors? Already own an end table? You can simply park a cooler in easy reach, ideally one with a cupholder formed in the lid. If you want to go the multi-purpose route, this cooler doubles as a portable pail/stationary table that disguises itself as furniture while hiding your drinks within reach. No more standing in line while you miss the game. Just pop the top, and pull out another cold Corona to enjoy while you watch your favorite MLB team.
And now that you’ve got an all-weather table pulling cooler duty, you’ve really got no excuse not to take this game outside, do you?
Bring your projector outside
Summer sunsets and baseball just go together. And lucky you, that's the time of day when your projector no longer has to battle direct sunlight to be seen. Set up a nice space against the side of the garage or use a screen to air the game in the great outdoors (aka your backyard).
You don’t even have to wait for a night game to do this. Set up the rig before the first pitch, then just make the switch in the seventh-inning stretch now that it’s cooling off outside. But do keep your projector shaded so it doesn’t overheat while it waits for you.
Do think carefully about placement, though. You’ll want a shaded screening area, ideally with a nice view around it so your friends aren’t staring at your gas meter while a glorious sun sets over the elms behind them. It takes some planning, but it really takes advantage of wireless, screen sharing, and new technology. Even just a few years ago, nobody was thinking of dragging their flatscreen outside, and projectors cost a grand instead of a few hundred. You have to do it because your forebears couldn’t.
Invite everyone over for a hot dog buffet
Ballpark franks are weirdly good, considering most concessions are a compromise. (Has anyone ever raved about the burgers at a ballpark that weren’t a franchised brand?) But the good news is with some smart purchasing and simple adjustments to your cooking methods, you can create a major-league eating experience on a Single-A budget. And if you’re just having one at home for dinner, leave it there.
But we’re not crafting a “leave it there” experience, baby, we’re swinging for the bleachers. Call up every baseball-loving friend you’ve got and tell them Friday’s game comes with a hot dog hoedown that will make the annual hot dog eating contest look restrained.
Make a buffet of build-your-own options: condiments, toppings, spices, chili, cheeses, plenty of Corona Extra, and anything else one would need to build the perfect dream dog. A hot dog bar doesn’t cost much, feeds everybody, and feels like a more elevated version of a baseball staple for 5% of the stadium price, now that you’ve invested in quality franks and cooked them to stadium standards.
You can even do a round-the-MLB tour of different cities' hot dog styles. Is Chicago playing New York? Well we’ve got a hot dog face-off to match that game. By the end of this showdown you can establish once and for all whether ketchup is an acceptable hot dog topping, or if it’s the much more reasonable melange of, uh, celery salt, bright green relish, pickled peppers alongside a pickled cucumber, raw diced onion…sliced tomatoes? (Actually, Chicago dogs are delicious.) Or do a matchup with the Denver dog, which enjoys a very similar profile to Chicago’s plus the almost-unfair addition of sour cream. The world is your oyster! Well…not really, but America is your hot dog.
Commission a guest appearance from your favorite player
For the longest time one thing missing from at-home viewings was the interactive thrill of possibly meeting your favorite player. And while you still can’t have them at your home viewing in person (unless you’ve got deep pockets), it’s entirely possible to get a personalized greeting from one via the celebrity video message app Cameo.
One huge gain here is that you’re not buying dugout tickets and hoping to catch a spare moment of time. You can pick exactly which player you’d like to hear from and not have to chance the encounter. Even better, lots of the available athletes are retired, so you’re reclaiming a chance to meet them after the IRL opportunity has passed. And best of all, the app recently added live calls, so it’s less like you’re getting a voicemail and more akin to buying a few happy minutes with your childhood hero. Imagine surprising dad with that after telling him to just come over and watch the game! Sure, it's not quite the same as getting a ball signed over the wall, but it’s a sure thing — unlike testing your luck in the dugout.