6 Steps to a Baseball-watching Party

by Sam Eccleston

It’s time for America’s national pastime again — summer parties. Well, that and baseball. So why not combine the two? With almost 4,900 games to be played in the regular season, that’s nearly 4,900 reasons to get people together for a celebration.

Of course, throwing a game-viewing party at your home presents its own challenges. You can invite people over for a night game or a weekend afternoon of viewing. Like any sport, the key to a great baseball-viewing party is to follow a few simple rules.

Practice the Fundamentals

When you’re picking up food and drink for the party, stick with the ballpark basics. Warm weather, pro sports and comfort food naturally go together.

If you’ve got a barbecue or gas grill, stock up on burger patties and hot dogs. Keep a few coolers of beer and soda. (As the party runs down, it doesn’t hurt to keep stocking the soda but not the alcohol. Drunk driving is always out of bounds.)

If you’ve got a digital video recorder or TiVo, delay showing the beginning of the game by ten minutes before you turn the TV on. That way you can do your own instant replays and rewind incredible plays for guests who might have missed them.

Keep It Casual

Bring the fun, casual atmosphere of the ballpark to your party Try to keep your guest list to a small group of close friends. Don’t set a lot of specific time constraints on when food is going to be served or when guests should arrive.

(Have fun with your invites. Deliver them in the style of a game ticket — including seat assignments for your house. Just make sure you keep it light.) I like this aside, but I don’t think you need to put it in parentheses. I think it can stand as it’s own paragraph.

Don’t get too elaborate with the decorations. People should feel comfortable, not like they should have shown up in their Sunday best. Feel free to put out a few pennants on the snack table, but keep your favorite signed ball away from the drink pitcher.

Make sure everyone’s got a good view of the TV, too. Array recliner chairs, pillows or even blankets in the room before folks arrive, in order to guide them toward the perfect place to take in the game.

Enjoy the Good Weather

Make sure your guests can get outside and enjoy the warm weather without missing out on the action.

Position some snacks on your porch or in your backyard to let guests who are less than die-hard about the game chat and snack without disturbing the action for the serious sports fans inside.

Beyond pleasant conversation, why not bring a little friendly competition to your party? Leave a few bats, balls and mitts outside, and let people put together their own outdoor games of pick-up baseball.

Set up a small outdoor stereo or set your home theater radio to the game so those outdoors can listen to the radio play-by-play. If something exciting happens, they’ll know to run inside and check out the picture.

Play the Long Game with Food

There’s no play clock running on baseball games, so there’s no way to know how long a game might run. Make sure you’re stocked up with food and drink to keep people happy, even through extra innings.

Prepackaged, self-serve snacks like chips and popcorn are a good way to be prepared for a longer-than-average game. Just put a few bags to the side and reserve them for the end of the game.

Make Cleanup Easy

A perk of going to a ballgame is that you don’t have to clean up afterwards. There might be a little more maintenance involved in throwing a game-viewing party, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend the day after the party dealing with dirty dishes.

Don’t put out your best china. Serve food on paper plates and offer plastic cups. Buy recycled paper products and dispose of your dinnerware with a lot less guilt. Then make sure you have plenty of garbage cans available in party spaces. That makes it easier for guests to clean up after themselves.

Let Yourself Have Fun

The whole point of throwing a loose sports-watching party is to make sure you can relax and enjoy the game yourself. Just set out the snacks, relax on the couch and cheer.

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