The time has finally arrived, pitchers and catchers have had a couple of days warm up, and now the first full team practice is today! People, welcome back to Major League Baseball! Now hopefully you took my advice I handed out last fall to help the winter pass by, but now, you need to start getting in "game shape", just like the players do.
I understand that spring is still a month away, and not everyone will be able to attend the Brewers spring training in Arizona, but there is nothing wrong with some cold weather training. So, in order to get yourself ready for the April 5th home opener, here are some tips:
Break Out Smokey Joe (Unless Your Name is Lange & Someone Stole it)
If you listened to my winter tips, you should have perfected your experiments on a grander grill scale, but what about on your trusted tailgate companion? Are your knees and back in good enough shape to constantly be bending over to flip your feast? Do you remember just how much charcoal is needed to get the perfect temperature for your grill? The answer to both of these questions is, NO! You can do all the leg exercises you want, but that doesn't get you in game shape. Warm up by dusting off your lawn/tailgate chair, planting your ass in it, then just simply reach over. Slowly work your way to a full standing position, and bending your knees and back. You'll be thankful for this advice come April 6 when you don't feel like you just collided with Prince Fielder ala Todd Greene.
Drink, Drink, Drink
I understand what you are thinking. "Dustin, I'm a Sconnie, I don't need to practice drinking!" Well, if you think that, well, as Charlie from It's Always Sunny would say, "Then you're so stupid!" You've been drinking indoors, in perfect conditions, and have you really been pushing yourself? Also, are you able to handle yourself around families and kids? Here are a few steps to get you ready for tailgating at Miller Park.
Step 1: Shotgun, shotgun, beer bong, shotgun. Rapid consumption is a staple in the parking lots, you don't want to pass out before game time because you couldn't handle 5 beers...even if it was consumed in 3.2 seconds.
Step 2: Weather training, April weather in WI is bipolar, it could be 70 and sunny, it could be 30 and snowy, it could be 50 and raining. Get yourself ready for all situations. Cold = wear flip flops, shorts, and your favorite brewers jersey (might be a good time to give a personal farewell to those Hardy jerseys), head outside while it is still February. Drink until you obtain a body temperature of 94 degrees...repeat as necessary. You should build a tolerance eventually (disclaimer, I base that on nothing, and in fact I recommend that you don't do that. It doesn't really sound too healthy). Heat = find a sauna, drink (remember to hydrate). Cold rain = Grab your favorite Miller product, turn your shower on as cold as possible and drink until you look like an 85 year old prune (for any 85 year old readers...drink until you look 125).
Step 3: No one wants to be the person who ruined a family's trip to the ballpark. We all have those memorable childhood moments of being a the ballgame and everything was just perfect, peanuts, soda, no one spilling beer or yelling profanities the whole time. Don't be the jerk that ruins those moments for kids nowadays. Sure, there is the Kohl's Family Section, but let's be realistic. You'll need to start getting buzzed and going to public places where all types of people exist (ex. shopping mall). Remember, voice down, profanity to minimum, and walk without ramming into 23 people. As with any training, start your BAC low and build it up. Congrats, you are a now a sociably functioning drunk!
Train your Bladder
Nothing worse than getting a bad parking spot nowhere near the front where there is easy access to the Sausage Haus, Halfaer Field, or the hill and river. You are now forced to a tailgate near the port-a-johns. This is a true test of endurance, don't be the one pissing yourself because you couldn't hold it for an extra 5 minutes due to a slow moving line. Starting immediately, when you have to go...hold it for as long as possible. Not sure if there are health risks here, but if your bladder bursts on the inside, at least it isn't as embarrassing as it would be if it were on your outside. You'll also want to prepare for emergencies. So, guys AND GALS, from time to time from now until April, practice finding safe, yet still public, spots. This is a last ditch effort, we'd all prefer if you kept that private and not where others can step. (We here at the Tap, don't actually condone illegal activity)
Play Catch With No Glove
Ballhawking, thanks to d-bags like the Happy Youngster, is heavily frowned upon in modern society. While, there is nothing wrong with wanting to catch a foul ball or even better, a home run, if you are 18 or older with a glove in tow, then you might give off the wrong impression. So, ditch the glove (you'll need both hands free for two fisted slopping anyways), and start snagging fly balls barehanded. Once you get used to using two hands, take one away (by holding a beer) and catching them one handed. Come game time, if you snag a ball one handed, not only will you not spill your beer, you'll get a roar from the crowd guaranteed to be louder than any roar Jeff Suppan will get this season. If you want bonus points and cheers, hand the ball off to a kid (I personally will not be doing this until I at least catch my first ball).
Bust Out Tailgate Games
Practice is the key, we all know that. So, get a head start on your opponents by setting up all your tailgate games. Bags, Ladder Golf/Testicle Toss/Dirty Balls, and Washers are the three most prevalent. You can take care of two things at once by practicing while developing a tolerance drinking in the cold weather.
Now, I expect to see you in prime shape come April 5th.