Baseball food – by Jordan Kobritz

Every year it seems like Major League and Minor League teams try to outdo themselves with the highest calorie-laden concession item they can conjure up

KobritzsmThe 2014 baseball season opens in earnest this week, another sign that winter is on its last legs – hopefully – and we can look forward to a trip to the local ballpark.  In addition to the sights and sounds of baseball, most of us will engage in a culinary experience that, in some cases, could guarantee a financially sound retirement for our cardiologist.

Every year it seems like Major League and Minor League teams try to outdo themselves with the highest calorie-laden concession item they can conjure up, our physical and financial health be damned.  Prior concoctions include the Fifth Third Burger created by the Class A Western Michigan Whitecaps.  The Burger is a four pound behemoth featuring chili, chips and salsa on a one pound hamburger bun.  Lest you think the 4,889 calories are a bit much, the $20 item is designed to feed a family of four.  A lighter – albeit sweeter – main course is dished up by the Independent Gateway Grizzlies.  It features a modest sized burger with two slices of bacon and cheddar cheese crammed between a sliced Krispy Kreme Original Glazed donut, calories unknown.

The Triple A Reno Aces feature the Triple Play, a three-meat, artery clogging sandwich consisting of smoked brisket, pulled pork and barbeque meatballs with coleslaw, cherry peppers and pickles stacked on triple slices of grilled Pullman bread.  The Rookie League Missoula Ospreys offer their fans the aptly named Bats and Balls.  The bats are French fries.  The balls are, well, literally, balls, a/k/a Rocky Mountain Oysters or Montana tendergroin.  In reality, they’re deep-fried bull calf testicles.  The price for the unique offering is only $6, but that cost may go up if you require an adult beverage or two to wash it down with.

Not to be outdone by their Minor League brethren, last year the Texas Rangers introduced the Murph-a-dilla, a 24-inch beef brisket quesadilla, resting on a bed of Doritos.  The Atlanta Braves offered their fans a Hammer, presumably named after Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.  The unique sandwich consists of fried chicken topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese and pecan maple mayo.  In lieu of bread, the delectable – to some – offering is bookended by waffles.  Who knew there was such a thing as pecan maple mayo?

The Milwaukee Brewers proudly sell a Pulled Pork Parfait.  Although it looks like an ice cream parfait, it consists of alternate layers of pulled pork and mashed potatoes.  The Pittsburgh Pirates have long sold a local favorite at PNC Ballpark, courtesy of the Primanti Bros. Sandwich Shop.  The oversized sandwich consists of meat of your choice, topped with cheese, slaw and fries on Italian bread – an entire loaf of it!

There are also some new calorie busters heading to a ballpark near you this year.  The Arizona Diamondbacks will be selling the D-Back Dog, a deep-fried, 18-inch corn dog stuffed with jalapenos, bacon and cheddar cheese.  It comes with a side of fries and a price tag of $25.  It’s not the first hot dog to break the $25 barrier.  The aforementioned Rangers did that in 2012 with the Boomstick, a 2-foot hot dog smothered in chili, nacho cheese, jalapenos and caramelized onions on a potato bun.  The three pound, all beef delight retails for $26.

If you’re looking for something a bit more modest, in calories and price, check out the Detroit Tigers’ poutine hot dog which is topped with gravy, fries and cheese curds.  It’s priced at $7 and listed at a mere thousand calories.

The newly named Double A Akron RubberDucks have added the TeriyAKRON Bowl.  It’s half a pineapple hollowed out to create a bowl, then stuffed with a stir fry of grilled white meat chicken, white rice, diced pineapple and drizzled with teriyaki sauce.  Price:  $11.  The Chicago White Sox take the prize for the newest – and perhaps most caloric – dessert item.  For $17 fans will be able to purchase a 12-scoop banana split – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream, along with syrup, cherries, bananas and whipped cream – served in a full-sized batting helmet.

Regardless of your rooting interest, be sure to catch a game this season at a ballpark near you.  And if you plan to overindulge in the concession offerings, don’t forget to bring an ample supply of Alka-Seltzer and Tums.

Jordan Kobritz is a former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner.  He is a Professor in the Sport Management Department at SUNY Cortland and maintains the blog: http://sportsbeyondthelines.com  Jordan can be reached at jordan.kobritz@cortland.edu.

© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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