Opening Day games are taking place all across the country this weekend. Will you join in to cheer your favorite team to victory? Depending on where you live and where your team of choice is playing, you might be in for a bit of a drive, but it’s worth the trip and a little preparation to take part in this iconic American activity. Here’s how to make the most of Opening Day!
Find Your Game
Before you step up to the plate (er, hop into your car) make sure you know where you’re going. Check mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule to find the date, time, and location of the game you’re attending. The schedule also includes links to purchase tickets for each game, which you ought to do ahead of time to ensure the best seats and save time when you get to the door!
Know The Venue
Check the stadium’s website for pertinent information. You’ll want to know where you should access the stadium, where you’ll be able to park, and what it’ll cost. It’s also nice to know where you’ll be seated, and if there are options for parking close to your section. Plan to arrive early to leave time for parking, getting into the stadium, and finding your seats before the national anthem begins. If anyone in your party is elderly or has a disability, you’ll want to know about accessibility in terms of parking and getting to your seats. Baseball fans with children will likely find it helpful to know where the closest restrooms are, in addition to whether you can bring your own snacks for the little ones or if you’ll have to leave them in the car and purchase food inside.
Check beforehand to see whether you’ll need cash or credit for things like parking and concessions. You don’t want to miss partaking in a classic ballpark hotdog while you watch the game! If your stadium allows you to bring food and drinks, be sure to pack a water bottle - baseball games can be long and you’re often out in the heat, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Even if you can’t bring food inside, if you have a long drive before arrive at the game, it’s a good idea to pack yourself something to eat on the road or before you head inside - the price of stadium food can really add up! Wear your team’s colors, and your trusty ballcap to show your spirit or hometown pride, and bring a mitt if you hope to catch a foul ball. Most importantly, don’t forget to bring your tickets!
Maybe you already knew that it’s custom to stand, remove your cap, and place your right hand over your heart during the opening rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. But did you know that a stadium full of Baltimore Orioles fans will all holler out the “Oh!” when the singer gets to “Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” Chicago Cubs fans are known for throwing back a home run ball caught by the opposing team. At a Milwaukee Brewers’ game you can watch 5 sausages race around the field, and at a Washington Nationals’ game fans enjoy a presidential race far different from the political one. The game of baseball is itself an American tradition, but teams and fans across the country have added their own customs to the game. Embrace them, and take the time to appreciate the sense of American history that comes with these traditions.
Have a wonderful Opening Day weekend, America; hopefully you and your team knock it out of the park!