Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes because they’re true. Like how all pitchers are superstitious or how well all food goes with cannabis. A baseball game, particularly if you are blessed enough to live in Denver or Seattle, presents the opportunity to bask in the marvelous sweet spot that is relaxing outside, watching neurotic athletes while enjoying your favorite strain of marijuana and sampling a variety of amazing food and drink. Now that the playoffs are here (and Dan and Ella’s favorite team is still very much alive), Weekend Review Kit steps out of the dugout to help you prepare for your day at the yard.
- Take public transportation
It’s great if you plan to bring along the vape pen or some edibles, but, even if you’re not taking any form of cannabis to the game, you should still take public transportation. Most venues offer shuttle services from points around the stadium, and, since Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in downtown Baltimore 25 years ago, more and more ballparks have returned to city centers. Public transit is the best way to get into the baseball spirit. You’ll see elderly couples, dads and daughters, groups of high school and college students, and lone die-hards decked from head to toe in team colors, clutching the pencil they will use to keep score. You get to ride with all of them. Make yourself comfortable and start talking to someone close by. It’s a totally different experience being on a train or a bus heading to a game than at any other time. Everyone is happy. We’re all friends.
- As soon as you get there, eat a hot dog with something on it
We can’t help it. Much to Ella’s eternal dismay we have to have one. We don’t even really like hot dogs, mostly we like mustard and relish, but that looks strange on a bun with nothing else, and there is some amount of protein in a hot dog. We’re pretty sure there is some amount of protein. If you’re a vegetarian, most stadiums even have something for you to put condiments on, but you had better check the stadium’s vendor map before you go, because, most likely, they’ve got your vegetarian options at a very special location far away from all the meat.
- Eat something else
Weekend Review Kit remembers when they started serving pizza at baseball games. A third option after hamburgers and hot dogs! Now, though, you can get a hot dog with mac and cheese and crabmeat. You can get a hot dog with pulled pork and bacon. You can get Korean tacos or a soft-shelled crab sandwich or a pit beef or pit turkey sandwich. You could get any of those sandwiches. What’s that? Those are all things sold at Camden Yards? Some of them sound disturbing? WRK makes no apologies. Dan and Ella’s Orioles roots run deep. But every ballpark these days has a special offering; whether it’s microbrews from the Rooftop at Coors in Denver or Dirty Tots from The Pen in Seattle, find something unique to that place, sit back in your seat, and take your time eating. We all know baseball games aren’t short.
- If possible, cheer for the home team. If not possible, please be respectful.
The camaraderie you fostered on the train or bus to the stadium continues once you get to your seats. Everyone’s voices blend together. Very few conversations at a baseball game are private. It can be a chance to test a few jokes, or see if anyone else adheres to your own completely reasonable checklist of superstitions, like making sure you wore the right socks to the game. You get to be a part of the history of your team, even just for that day, and you get to listen to the stories of generations of fans who have been coming to these games for longer than they can remember. For three hours, all these strangers are your pals.
If you can’t root for the home team, if, say, you’ve come out to Safeco Field to cheer for the Orioles when they’re in town, remember: you’re in someone else’s house. You wouldn’t go to a friend’s place and start yelling about how their TV sucks, or jump up and down like a jerk when you realize that you make better chili than they do. Let the visiting team know you’re there for them, but be mindful of the hometown fans.
- Get ready to give some high fives to strangers
This part is tricky for us. We are not good at high fives. It gets pretty awkward around WRK headquarters whenever something awesome happens and we decide to high five it out. At first we thought, “are we too high every time we do this to successfully bring our hands together?” Turns out, no, we are just not super coordinated. If you’re like us, Weekend Review Kit recommends rehearsing your high fives before you take them out in public. You can trace your hand onto a piece of construction paper and hang it in a doorframe. This way you can practice not only your aim but also the force of motion. The paper should move but not snap or tear. Don’t get carried away. Remember, it’s just sports.
- Take a walk around the upper concourse so that you can breathe in the city
You had a meal. Then a second. You made some friends and hopefully exchanged some revelry. You even pretended like you understand what Wins Above Replacement means. And now it’s the third inning! I’m just kidding baseball, it’s all love!
But you do need a walk, even if it’s just a short one during the middle of the fifth. Weekend Review Kit loves to head to the upper level of whatever ballpark we are lucky enough to find ourselves in. The evolution of the modern downtown stadiums affords you a truly unique look at the city and you can get an almost 360-degree view of the communities around you. Unless it is imperative that you watch every pitch from your seat, WRK suggests meandering slowly and taking deep breaths. You’re below the skyscrapers and above the houses, and you can watch the traffic patterns of those unfortunate souls who could not attend the same game, this same moment in history, before you head back to your seats to be with your people.