Food Truck

You know your trend has peaked when you see it at the ballpark


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.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.