With the exception of racial integration, baseball has always been a bit behind the times. From facial hair to anti-disco sentiment to pro-Macarena sentiment and everything in between, you can bet that if a trend is hitting big someplace in this nation, you’ll see it in a ballpark … eventually.
Which is what makes me think that the food truck thing has peaked. Because they’re doing it at a ballpark now:
On Thursday, Aramark Corporation, which runs the food venues at Coors Field, rolled out Wok in the Park, a truck serving noodle bowls and egg rolls on the first-level concourse. It’s the first food truck to be stationed inside a major sports venue in the country … “The Rockies are always challenging us to be creative and to have a lot of variety. And we saw that the one gap we had in our ethnic food concepts was Asian. The truck is really conducive to any concept.” All of the food is made fresh inside the truck, he adds. “This is no scoop-and-serve operation. That’s the beauty of these trucks. They’re fully self contained.”
I never ever leave my home so I don’t get to a lot of food trucks, but isn’t the point of those things to (a) make it possible for would-be restaurateurs to get moving without bricks-and mortar overhead; and (b) to bring the food to where the people are, rather than to make the people go some fixed location for the food? A variety of food in lots of people-friendly locations? And isn’t it also the case that, by their very nature, that’s what every single ballpark food vendor is?
Seriously: look around the next time you’re at the ballpark. The unique food out on the concourse are at little stations which can be broken down and moved anywhere. Even those fixed Aramark outlets could be changed over to anything in about two hours. With rare exceptions, food options in ballparks are duplicated and triplicated or more, with no one having to walk too terribly far to get what they want. And the existing stands have the added bonus of not having the potential to run over people on concourses that were never intended for vehicular traffic.
So why a food truck? Because it’s hip! Because that’s where all the cool kids are getting their pork rib tacos or meatballs or whatever these days! Why not take it to the ballpark!
Congratulations food trucks. You’re now the culinary equivalent of Disco Demolition Night. Or planking. Or flash mobs. If the ballparks have you, you’re over.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.