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How to Hold the Perfect Fantasy Baseball Draft Party

May 16, 2020

Cody Bellinger will be a staple near the top of drafts for a long time

We offer countless articles and tools to help you dominate draft day from a team-building perspective but that isn’t the only challenge on draft day, now is it? One in twelve league-members will also be eager to put together a draft day party that everyone in their league enjoys. Today, I’ll give you some pointers that should enable you to breathe a little easier when the big day comes and make your league’s draft day an annual event worth looking forward to. Let’s start with the food.

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The Food

About half of all draft parties I’ve been to don’t even offer food. Most that do, only offer a couple bags of chips, some store-bought cookies or some brownies. That’s all fine, as I’ll never complain about free food, but if you want to knock your party out of the park, consider kicking it up a notch. I’m not just talking about better snacks, I mean you ought to serve a meal. Add it into league expenses if you want and I doubt anyone would complain, as they all clearly want a heck of an experience just as much as you do.

Folks, I’m just going to make this simple for you, and sorry if it hurts but some of you just need to hear it. Don’t get cute. You have four quality options for a draft day meal that virtually every fantasy player on the planet would enjoy. If your party doesn’t have one of them, you swung and missed:

Pizza is the obvious #1. Everyone has different kinds they like so you can grab four of them, make each one a half and half, and you can bet your bottom dollar, everyone is happy. It is also cheap, works well even when it isn’t hot and can be eaten without a mess while the draft is going on.

Beyond pizza, the #2 food on the board is up for debate. Wings are widely considered the best of the bunch but they are too messy to be consumed during the draft. Likewise, good ole’ fashioned BBQ is too messy to eat during the draft but it will rarely make anyone upset and it lends itself well to shooting the breeze before the draft begins.

Then there is my personal favorite for #2 on the food big board: the hoagie platter. There isn’t a soul on the planet who doesn’t enjoy a sandwich and while some might prefer roast beef over turkey and ham, you don’t have to make that decision for them. Give your guests four meat options, three cheese options and the choice of whether or not they’ll toss some fresh veggies, mayo or mustard onto one of their multiple bread options.

As for snacks, fresh baked warm cookies are a major favorite or you can slice a pie that way you aren’t scrambling to get food ready just in time before everyone arrives. Various chips aren’t a bad option, but when you can have your best buddy bring buffalo chicken dip, your league-mates will be much happier. Additionally, you’d do well to offer two or three choices of soda plus some bottled water but I’d recommend letting everyone bring their favorite alcoholic beverage of choice rather than trying and failing to pleases the masses.

Sandwich the draft with fun

Speaking of sandwiches… draft day should be a holiday so treat it like one. Don’t just accept 15 rounds over 2 hours, make the entire day an event. Surround your draft with fun which should begin with some sort of contest for draft order. A cornhole tournament is fun everyone and could get intense with Christian McCaffrey on the line. Even if this is just as simple as drawing names from a hat, the excitement of experiencing it all together at the same time kicks off the day that much better.

You don’t all have to say goodbye once the draft is over. Sit down with a few beers and have a poker night. My home league actually holds fake press conferences to allow everyone to talk about their teams and blitz others with tough questions about what the heck they were thinking. Just keep the draft day atmosphere rolling as long as you can. Your league will grow closer, rivalries will develop and it’s better than sitting at home watching more tv on the last Saturday before the league begins. Pro tip: invite all of the spouses and children who will both separate into their own groups, that way no one is rushed to return home.

Find Reliable Owners

Frankly, this is the single most important point. Without league-members you can rely on to show up on time, stay the entire time and not be a total nuisance, you can’t possibly enjoy all of the finer points discussed in this article. If you have to ask yourself whether or not the guy or gal fits the description then clearly the answer is that they are just too risky. Move on, no hard feelings, but fantasy sports are serious business.

While we are on the topic of owners, make sure to do some sort of celebration right before the draft to crown last year’s winner. That always adds a certain flair to leagues that everyone seems to appreciate. If he or she is willing to make a speech, that’s even better. Likewise, the prior season’s last-place finisher should get some attention as well. Whether you have them sing the national anthem to kick off the draft or just turn a $4 pair of Goodwill jeans into some draft day jorts, your league will very much enjoy it.

Smaller Details

We are going to do this part in bullet points because there is a lot to touch on that really doesn’t need any explanation:

  • Set an expectation that your league’s draft party will be on the last Saturday before the league begins every single year
  • You don’t need a big draft board that is difficult to read. Run Draft Wizard Draft Assistant through a big screen for everyone to see
  • Don’t use a draft clock–it’s more fun when your league-mates provide a natural buzzer for the dude who takes way too long
  • If you don’t have enough seating for everyone, you just can’t host the party. Sorry.
  • While we are on the topic of seating, sofas >>> hard chairs for two hours
  • Make sure your wifi code is ready for action and that there are plugs/extension cords prepared for enough laptops
  • Offer several pauses in the action. This is especially important if you are doing a (superior) auction draft
  • If you really want to add more flavor to your draft, have everyone announce their picks from behind a podium

Don’t take it all on yourself

This one doesn’t require a full paragraph; Don’t hesitate to ask your league for help and ideas. If you want to make them to be happy, let them tell you what would make them happy. This is the best advice I can give. Oh, and don’t drink too much–you wouldn’t want to miss out on Christmas morning 2.0, would you?

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