There's something about watching baseball indoors that just doesn't capture the moment. This at-home, open-air show is a perfect way to get all the benefits of baseline seats with the best DIY chili dog bar, minus the ticket prices. Along with the recipes below, you'll want to put out hot dog buns, boiled hot dogs or sausages, grated cheddar and your favorite toppings and condiments.menu
tips + tricks
Fake Your Own Jumbotron People won't be able to take their eyes off this big screen! All it takes is a few simple tricks.
Call a local audiovisual store to rent a projector for the day, or try a nationwide rental service like projector123.com. Or, keep it supersimple and cheap by carefully bringing your largest TV -- or a cluster of smaller ones -- outside.
No need to rent a screen -- just hang a white sheet on a wall, between two trees or over a clothesline. Pick a shady spot so the images won't be drowned out by the sun.
Scatter inexpensive portable speakers around the yard for a true ballpark experience -- it'll sound like you?re part of the stadium crowd! Put one on the buffet table, in the grass, by the chairs, or anywhere guests will be hanging out. (Tape down any exposed extension cords with duct or masking tape -- it'll keep fouls in the game and out of the party.)
Create Stadium Seating
No bleachers at this party! Our tips will have you sitting pretty by the first pitch.
Place or hang the screen on a relatively flat, open surface that has room for the crowd to sit and walk around comfortably.
Create cozy tiered seating around the big screen: Line your tallest chairs along the back, beach chairs in the middle, and picnic blankets and floor pillows down in front. Keep a stack of extra throw blankets nearby in case there?s a chill in the air.
Fill a small basket with bottles of sunscreen and bug repellent. The only things that could ruin this party are sunburns and mosquitoes, so prevent both.
Decorate Like an All-Star!
Show your team pride with these creative party props.
Cover the buffet table with a strip of artificial turf (sold at home improvement stores) and sprinkle a few small accessories -- like baseball cards -- around the platters.
Make mini-pendant menu cards: Cut colored paper into triangles, wind them around skewers and write the names of your dishes on top. Then poke one into each platter.
Create custom koozies ($15 for 12, amazon.com) for each guest on your roster. Using a marker or paint pen, write your friends' names on each, then line them up by the drinks station.
Make some noise by placing noisemakers ($8 for 12, orientaltrading.com), pom-poms and foam fingers on each chair.
Little League Tastes
Make the drinks table kid-friendly with some key substitutions.
Serve Mocktails: Skip the vodka and beer in our Beer-Berry Homers and use lemonade, ginger beer or seltzer instead.
Fill Two Coolers: Place water, soda and juice in one, and grown-up drinks in the other. Top each with a pennant marked "Rookies" and "Old-Timers."