The time has finally come. After an especially punishing December through March in which it seemed that Old Man Winter would never stop stalking us, knocking our books out of our hands, and pantsing us in front of the entire school, the promise of spring is here and the reality of Opening Day is upon us. In the immortal words of the great Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, "the something something winter something and something something something baseball something something turtledove." And he was absolutely right.
As we embark on a brand new season of baseball, I wanted to pass along a few "life hacks" that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment of the 2014 season, or at least cause you to spend more money.
Enhancing the Season by Grilling Hot Dogs
Baseball is better with hot dogs, or, if you "come from money," Polish sausages and bratwurst. (From the German words "brat," meaning "certain to," and "wurst," meaning "cause heartburn.")
1. Go pick up a pack of hot dogs at your local butcher, or, if you live in America, at your local grocery store.
2. Step out onto your back deck or patio and fire up the grill.
3. Notice that the grill is now on fire, because you forgot to take the tarp off.
4. Put out the fire, and go buy a new grill.
5. Having heated up the grill, open the package of hot dogs and arrange them neatly so that they run perpendicular to the grill lines.
6. Nope, that was "parallel," not "perpendicular," and now your hot dogs have all fallen through to the bottom of the grill. Nice going, Euclid.
7. Go to the store and buy some more hot dogs.
8. Put them on the grill the right way this time.
9. Realize that it's barely April yet, the temperatures are still struggling to rise above 38 degrees, and you're freezing your butt off out here.
10. Shut off the grill and go order a Little Caesar's pizza. Screw hot dogs, we'll try this again in July.
Enhancing the Season by Drinking Beer
You can make any baseball-watching experience better by introducing alcohol. Let's get to it.
1. Go to your local grocery store.
2. If your first instinct is to buy a 24-pack of Miller Lite, go to step 3, otherwise go to step 4.
3. Shoot yourself. Miller Lite is not "beer," it's a liquid-based test developed by Darwin to weed out the weak.
4. If your grocery store doesn't have a good selection, try your local liquor store. If they don't have a good selection either, move to a new city, a new state, or even Ireland if you have to.
5. Determine what kind of beer you like (e.g., IPA's, lagers, brown ales, porters, or "malt beverages." If you picked "malt beverages," repeat step 3 twice.)
6. For further education, read every single "Beer of the Series" post on the BYB site written by "rbbaker".
7. No, seriously, I'm not joking. Read his posts. They're highly informative and well-written, and if you follow his advice, you will discover some new and amazing beers that you never knew existed. (You will also spend most of the 2014 season broke and drunk.)
8. Realize that most of the beer suggested in these posts is not available within a 200 mile radius of your home, unless you know a dude named "Rick" who always knows someone who knows someone who can get you that beer.
9. Buy a six pack, but hurry up, the game's about to start.
10. Buy two more six packs because Matsuzaka is pitching for the opposing team, and this game will easily take 19 hours to complete.
11. Drink while you watch the game. FDA studies (not approved by the FDA) suggest that you should be consuming approximately 67% of a bottle per inning if you want to finish the six pack by the end of the game. But that's hard to measure (especially by the sixth inning), so maybe just pour all six bottles into a giant Gatorade cooler, leave the lid off, and use a straw.
12. If you actually are consuming a six pack per nine inning game, make sure to check into A.A. before the season ends.
Enhancing the Season by Using MLB.TV
There will be several hours in any given day when Tigers baseball is not happening, and you need to keep busy and stay up-to-date on what's happening around the rest of the league. Here's how.
1. Go to mlb.com and create an account. If you already have an account from a previous year, skip this step and go to step 2.
2. Log into your account using your username and password.
3. Haha! That was a joke! We both know you don't remember your username and password. Go back to step 1.
4. Skip this step and go to step 5.
5. Go back to step 4.
6. How long were you stuck in that infinite loop before you figured out what a jerk I am?
7. Purchase the "Premium" account package, which entitles you to a free At-Bat subscription, mobile device feeds, your choice of home or away feeds, multi-game viewing, and weekly back rubs from Vin Scully while he calls the play-by-play for you in the privacy of your own home.
8. Just kidding. The "Premium" package costs the equivalent of nine months' salary if you are an average income-earning citizen, or the equivalent of 0.000076 seconds' salary if you are Miguel Cabrera.
9. Purchase the non-premium, "Homeless Bum" package, which entitles you to unlimited streaming of "Blackout Restriction" screens all season long.
10. Make sure to download and install the NexDef plugin for a true HD experience.
11. Once the NexDef plugin has taken over your computer and rendered it completely unusable, take your computer to a certified technician to get it fixed.
12. Call your friendly MLB.TV sales associate and, being careful to use several well-placed "adult words," explain that you would like your money refunded in a way that does not require you to file a lawsuit.
13. Hire a lawyer and file a small claims suit.
14. Just listen to the games on your local radio station instead.
That's it! Enjoy the 2014 season, fellow Tigers fans. It promises to be a good one. (Or at least a very expensive one.)