Take Yourself Out to The Ballgame!
First of all, I want your opinions and comments. But here are a few of mine:
So as a starting pitcher, I have grown (or been forced) to know and love all things “ballpark.” Hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, sunflower seeds, Dippin’ Dots, and crazy minor league antics. I’m here to give you the player’s perspective on these classics from the same seats you sit in every home game. You see, you may not realize it but when you go to those single-A games there are between 2 and 4 actual players sitting right behind home plate. Well I’m one of them. We are the starting pitchers. The rotation. The best job in the world. The ball and the game are in our hands every time we take the mound. But the 4 days in between starts it’s not the ball or the game that is in our hands, but rather, the pencil or the radar gun. It is our job to take the notes and the statistics necessary for the coaches to do their jobs to better understand the opponent and sometimes, themselves.
Anyway, spending most of my time in the stands rather than the dugout, I believe it is my duty to test out all the stadium has to offer. Last year, I played for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a short-season A club in Niles, OH. Eastwood Field was our home field. Great park, great atmosphere, great people. But most importantly, great food!!! Now I know you’ve all got your favorites. You already know what you want before you even get to the ballpark. But I?m here to help you understand the rest.
You know how good a hot dog tastes. You know how good a cold beverage tastes in your seat. The nachos are great too. Don’t forget the sound of crunching peanut shells beneath your feet. But modern day baseball has so much more to offer…
Cracker Jacks: This is the lost snack of baseball. One of the most synonymous foods with any sport on this planet, Cracker Jacks has been shoved aside by the almighty hot dog. It’s peanuts and CRACKER JACKS! Not hot dogs! The smooth taste of caramel popcorn brings to mind the Will Ferrell quote from Old School, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good!” Let’s not forget to mention the prize, an American classic, which unfortunately has been reduced to the usual temporary tattoo. That doesn’t hamper the greatness of the taste of the delicious treat.
Sunflower Seeds: Another staple in America’s pasttime. Now I?m not sure if sunflower seeds were always associated with baseball like they are today, but something along the lines sure made it stick. More importantly, though, let’s examine why it’s so delicious. The flavors, all of which are delicious, most of all BBQ seeds in my opinion. I think it’s the fact that you can spit the shells anywhere and it’s okay. It’s not littering. It’s not rude. Just don’t let one of them land on a nearby fan. A hidden secret, though, is eating it whole. Very tasty. Try it sometime. Just make sure you don’t choke. This is possible. So, readers and seedsters beware.
Now for the finale…Dippin’ Dots:
Wow. That’s the only word to describe it. Finally somebody made the absurd prices of ballpark food worthy of the dip into one’s wallet. Usually Dippin’ Dots run about 3.50-5 dollars depending on the size. But they have a multitude of flavors. Here’s the kicker, though. You get your ice cream in a miniature helmet of your home team. Great job whoever decided on that. As you get to your seat, watch your Dippin’ Dots melt. So hurry, get back to your seat. You there now? Starts eating. By melting, it only made it easier to eat. Allowing you to indulge in the great, smooth taste of, in my opinion, the greatest creation of a new generation of ballpark foods.
But if you just want to save your money and enjoy the game. There is plenty to watch. In between innings you are guaranteed to be involved in some sort of t-shirt toss or free giveaway. If not, enjoy watching a lucky kid run the bases, or a mascot race an old lady. Either way, going to the ballpark is undoubtedly a complete experience that is losing its greatness in this society thanks to plenty of other distractions. I hope to see you behind home plate.