Sports Fan Life Hacks

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 10, 2014

Sports Fan Life Hacks

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    If you aren't careful, the sports world will eat you alive. Ticket prices are absurd, second only to the cost of beer on the list of things that are outrageous. Sports coverage is expansive, covering what seems like more than 24 hours, so we are here to help. 

    Consider us your sports Sherpa of sorts. 

    Of course, we are all in this together. When it comes to sneaking beer into the stands, any tip is useful—regardless of team loyalty. So go ahead and throw a hack or two in the comments section below. 

    With that, let's dive straight into man caves, apps and newfangled beer delivery systems. Just because those athletes are working hard, it doesn't mean we have to. 

Turning Announcers Down

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    It sounds so simple, but I still don't know of many people who do it.

    We have all watched a gripping game only to be annoyed by the tag team of tedium working the contest from the announcer's booth. This is the moment we would make a snarky remark about Tim McCarver, but we are above that. 

    When cliches, cheesy lines and obvious observations have you down, simply turn the sound down and any ambient music up. Sometimes it's more pleasing to listen to death metal than it is another Jeff Van Gundy rant. 

    For Knicks fans, you may want to take this idea one step further and watch episodes of Sherlock on Netflix when the game comes on. 

    Now, there is an actual hack that might help you surround sound fans in the audience. I am eager to find out if it actually works, so please let us know below. 

    Lifehacker's Walter Glenn spotted this video on the Internet in March 2013. Apparently, a great many live sporting events push out their commentary on the center channel only. 

    Those with the means, use that information wisely. 

Frozen Beer

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    Here's the thing about this little hack: It's hardly ubiquitous. To be fair, Dodger Stadium is the only venue I know of that has it, but it works. 

    So it's my plea that other beer companies and stadium concession stands get with the program and get on the frozen beer bandwagon. 

    I wouldn't normally include an alcoholic curio like this if I didn't actually try it out myself and think, "I need this every time I sit down in 90 degree heat in the dead of summer."

    My normally tepid beer was ice cold for a few innings, which is remarkable considering Los Angeles weather in August. So if you come across a cooling layer of head served on your beer, take it. It will make your baseball game all the more enjoyable. 

    Otherwise, chugging the $10 brew in five seconds always works too. 

Cheap Seats Don't Have to Be Awful

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    If you are looking for tickets at any venue, chances are you are going to run into a bout of sticker shock. Unless you want to sit in the nosebleeds, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, you are going to pay a hefty sum. 

    The obvious note is to get tickets early, because you don't have to deal with retailers who mark up the prices. 

    Now that last sentence, forget all about it.

    In my personal experience, dealers like StubHub drop their prices the closer the date gets to game time—at least that's how I saw things this past baseball season. 

    Twice I was able to get tickets to loge level or lower for under the actual price offered by the team. For ticket retailers, it's the downside of bogarting all those tickets. 

    A 2012 ESPN article on Mets and StubHub prices illustrates how affordable a reseller can be. Of course, results will differ by city, venue and sport, but you get the idea. If you aren't picky about the exact game and can wait, it pays to saunter over to a reseller site every now and again to see what deal you can find. 

Sneaking Alcohol

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    This is the big one folks, the Super Bowl of any sports fan's journey into the park. OK, I guess that would be the actual Super Bowl. 

    Regardless, people have been trying to sneak booze into venues since the first gladiator fight, which is around the same time Lou Holtz began coaching. (You learn something new every day.)

    Business Insider's Cork Gaines regaled us with the average beer price at NFL stadiums this season. The result? Get drunk before you walk into the stadium, because these aren't dive-bar PBR prices. 

    So getting the cheap stuff into the place that only charges the good-stuff prices is key. Really, I have to recommend you take a gander at an exhaustive list compiled by Bleacher Report's Dan Carson on the matter. 

    My personal favorites are the iFlask and The Beer Belly for working both sides of the creativity spectrum. 

    However, as is noted, stuffing alcohol in your pants is a great and classic standby. Really, I found cramming a couple of beers or a flask between the belt and a belly usually works wonders. 

    Happy alcohol smuggling, everybody!

Bring Food in

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Here's another idea from the land of "No duh." 

    As is noted by every person alive who has ever stepped up to buy a $5 soda, prices at concession stands are as absurd as Russell Westbrook's wardrobe. 

    Thankfully, many venues let you bring your own food into the joint. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars got with the program in 2012

    And if you aren't allowed, sneak that stuff in. (See previous slide on getting drunk on your own supply.)

    And thanks to an ESPN Outside the Lines report, chances are you don't want any of that "extra stuff" that comes with the high prices.  

    I enjoy a dog and a beer as much as the next person, but there is something wonderful about strolling into the park or arena with local fare a few times cheaper than that greasy pizza that everyone around you is eating. In Los Angeles, I'll take Philippe's or any surrounding sandwich shop over what they have at Staples Center. 

    Of course, there is an exception to every rule. If your ballpark has Shake Shack, it's worth missing a couple of innings, especially at a Mets game. 

There's an App for That

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    These are the applications I can't live without. OK, I could live without them, but I would be a lot less fun to be around.  

    TeamStream: Full disclosure—you are reading this article on Bleacher Report. I know, shocking. However, there is no app that I use more on my phone or tablet than TeamStream. The notifications, in my experience, are at least a few minutes quicker than those offered by similar applications. 

    Also, it's nice to know the second you can send that troll text to that Dallas Cowboys fan in your life. 

    MLB At-Bat: A must for any MLB geek. If you want just the baseline free version, you will get scores and updates like you want. Pony up for the subscription service and get immersed in baseball throughout the season with radio coverage. 

    MLB Full Count: While we are on MLB, I might as well toss out this free app, which delivers highlights and analysis throughout the season. It's not a bad way to waste a few minutes during the summer. 

    ESPN SportsCenter: I actually enjoy the overhauled look. It's more than scores, and it's easy to fly between sports to get the latest standings and schedules. If you want a clean and polished way to find out when your favorite team is playing, this is it. 

    Yahoo! Sports Fantasy: This is a biased pick for me, simply because the fantasy teams I do have on the site I enjoy more because of Yahoo!'s interface. It's easy to find available players and fix my lineup. Other sites have their advantages, but this particular app feels comfortable. (Thoughts on your favorite fantasy app?)

    NBA Game Time: Pretty much the same idea as MLB At-Bat. If you want it free, you are going to brave some ads, though. 

    NFL Mobile: Rinse, repeat but with football. 

    Again, this is just a short list of ones I enjoy. Feel free to toss your own thoughts down in that little community pot o' suggestions below. 

So You Recorded the Game

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    We've all been there: We recorded the game and can't see it for minutes, hours or (gasp!) a day.

    While nothing in life is foolproof—save a burrito crafted by the burrito artists over at Chipotle—there are some things you can do to save yourself some trouble:

    1. Don't wear any sports paraphernalia of any kind in public. Until you have a chance to see the game, take off that replica jersey and ditch the team-themed shorts. People won't give you the time of day any other day of the week, but the second you wear your faded team shirt they want to get chatty about the score of the game in the checkout line. And don't tell them you recorded the game, because this stokes the fire about as well as telling someone you haven't seen a particular movie. Humans are the worst. 
    2. Ditch the phone. I know you can do it. I believe in you. While your smartphone has been glued to your existence roughly since the time Miley Cyrus was more Disney than Metta World Peace, there is a time and place to go off the grid. This is it. Apps, text messages, social media: All of these will be your downfall. 
    3. Please, for the love of all that is holy, record a show or two after the game. Or, if you are a DVR warlock, make sure to extend the time. There is nothing worse than seeing all the way up to the two-minute warning before your recording stops. 

    That should just about do it. Enjoy watching a game like some Neanderthal, without the use of Twitter or Facebook, you cretin. 

Tailgate Tips

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    I love the smell of grilled meats and exhaust in the morning. 

    Being a sports fan, I wouldn't dare insinuate you don't tailgate like a grizzled veteran, but there are some things that could help you out there in the rough-and-tumble world of parking lot parties. 

    So you don't have a grill: Let's say you are balling on a budget. Well, Lifehacker's Shep McAllister shows you how to fashion a five-buck grill. 

    Sure, it doesn't look safe, but it looks cheap. And sometimes that's more important. 

    Random ways to open a beer without an opener: Yep, we've all experience the dread that is holding a cold bottle of beer and being armed with nothing but exasperation to open it with. 

    URLesque has 31 ways to open a bottle without an actual opener. Although, I am very fond of these bottle-opener sandals, which are fashionable as well as functional. Win, meet win. 

    Be Noticed: If you are hosting, it would pay to bring along some bright-colored flag or set of balloons you can fly high over your party. Many lots, like the Rose Bowl, don't have obvious sections that would make it easy to find your party. It also beats having to stay on the phone with your confounded friend when you could be drinking and grilling like a boss. 

    K.I.S.S.: I know you want to show off those gourmet skills, but it pays to stick to the four basic tailgate food groups: sausages, burgers, carne asada and other grilled meats. 

    Keep the restrooms in sight: You have one job when parking: to keep those Porta Potties and restrooms in sight. The only question asked more than "Can you open this beer?" is "Where's the restroom?" Right after that there is the famous, "Is there a big line?" Keep your friends close, but the bathrooms closer.  

    Boom sauce! Now get out there and lose some brain cells sensibly. 

Stay Warm

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    This seems apropos considering the current weather for most of the country rests comfortably between freezing and whatever the temperature was in the movie The Day After Tomorrow

    To that end, we can't stress enough the genius that are those little hand-warmer packets. Sure, you can buy them, or Popular Science shows you how to make them on the cheap.

    Either way, these warmers will keep your digits thawed just enough to continue imbibing alcohol, which should warm the rest of your body quite nicely. 

If All Else Fails, Hawk the Wedding Ring

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    David Welker/Getty Images

    If you are looking for that outside-the-box solution to your ticket needs, you can always meander over to the usual places: eBay, Craigslist, that shady part of the stadium devoid of security.

    Of course, always take the proper precautions when trading wares.  

    You can spend hours looking for deals on tickets, or you can take a page out of one woman's playbook and trade a wedding ring for seats to an upcoming NFL game. 

    Thanks to Craigslist, one woman was able to get tickets to a Chiefs game against the Broncos for her current husband by selling her band from a previous relationship. 

    So the morale of the story is that any good life hack is really about being creative. If you aren't conjuring up some off-the-wall craziness, well, you just aren't trying.