There is a lot of super gross and over-the-top food coming to ballparks this season


Take me out to the ball game!
Take me out with the crowd!
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack,
And food that’ll give me a heart attack!

Wait, that’s not how that goes. But maybe it’s appropriate.

Every Opening Day we see team after team announce new and exciting concession items all of which seem more geared toward outdoing the last guy than toward actually presenting anything which is truly edible. It’s like the arms race during the Cold War. At some point the U.S. and the Soviets had built enough bombs to blow up the world many times over yet, for some reason, they kept building bombs. Inertia, I guess.

This ballpark food situation is very much like nuclear bomb situation. Both in terms of its rapid escalation and because each scenario had as its ultimate goal the creation of mechanisms designed to bring instant radioactive death.

In recent years we’ve been forced to go on a Cuban Missile Crisis-level alert for such things (note: a Cuban Missile Sandwich that is, say, four feet long, may sell well in Miami; someone tell Loria about this), and 2016 is no different. Let us look at some of the “better” options available to baseball fans in 2016.

Diamondbacks: Fried cheeseburger hot dog:


The sad thing here is that Sonoran hot dogs — a hot dog wrapped in bacon and covered in beans and other fun Mexican things — are really tasty and you can get them all over Arizona quite easily. This thing, however, is something a Midwestern mom from the 1950s would try to make after reading a cookbook called “Adventures from South of the Border,” only the local market didn’t have any Mexican ingredients so she improvised. “What’s in the secret sauce?” her husband would say after getting home from the office. “That’s a . . . secret!” she’d say as she winked into the camera which wasn’t there except for in her wild, escapist imagination. Meanwhile, their daughter, dejectedly picking at this horrible hot dog, secretly vowed to leave home as soon as she turned 18. In 1968 that little girl, now grown up, would be arrested in a protest outside of an Army recruiting station after things turned violent. The story has a happy ending, though: the food she was served at the women’s prison was WAY better than that fried cheeseburger hot dog with the secret sauce her mom used to make. After several well-behaved years in prison, she was released in 1974 and opened up a natural foods store in San Luis Obispo. Her parents both died of coronary disease.


Braves: Burgerizza

We recently told you about the Braves’ “Punisher” which is a sandwich of smoked rib meat (it did not say what kind of animal’s ribs) slathered in a “Monster energy drink infused BBQ sauce.” That alone seems like five violations of the Geneva Convention. But lost in the vicarious meat sweats I had after writing that post was news that the Braves are also offering a burger that has two pizzas as the bun. You know, there’s talk about what will happen to the Turner Field site after the Braves move to their new ballpark next year. The smart money is on it becoming a Superfund site administered by the EPA.


Reds: Bacon Challenge

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This one is actually a tasty-sounding thing which is only made deadly merely by its sheer mass. The Machine Room Grill at Great American Ballpark actually makes some FANTASTIC food (I try to go there every time I take in a Reds game). This, however, is a bit much. The item is called simply “The Bacon,” and it’s four sandwiches. Each with a pound of bacon on it. If you (your party? hard to say?) eat(s) all four sandwiches in an inning — FOUR POUNDS OF BACON + the roll, lettuce and tomato, chips and potato — you get the $60 meal for free. Oh, and you get a T-shirt. To better advertise your shame.



Giants: Porcini Doughnuts with Raclette Dipping Sauce:

That sounds fancy — and the article explaining them and showing a small picture of them does its best to sound snooty itself — but it’s basically fried mushrooms in cheese sauce. Not too fancy after all, even if it’s expensive and hails from a hoity-toity pedigree. Which describes about 75% of life in San Francisco from what I’ve been able to gather, so at least it has local flair.



Mets: Fuku

Fuku sandwich

This is another one that is actually good food, not just extreme food. It’s from David Chang, who is the noodle genius behind the Momofuku restaurant group in New York. His fried chicken sandwich restaurant, simply called Fuku, will now have a stand at Citi Field. In other news, Citi Field has perhaps the best assemblage of ballpark food in the majors. Really, I can’t think of a better place. Everyone raves about Shake Shack, and rightfully so, but that’s, like, the fifth best option at Citi Field.


Pirates: Cracker Jack and Mac Dog:

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I put that tasty-looking Fuku sandwich first in order to set you up for this. If I did it right, your insides are doing somersaults right now. This is just a disaster, people. It is neither edible-looking nor particularly extreme. It just looks like something someone threw together on an old episode of the Japanese version of “Iron Chef” when the featured ingredient was “whatever no one else wanted to eat.” Chen Kenichi, the The Szechuan Sage, might be able to salvage this thing with some squid ink and his patented double-cleaver technique, but otherwise no one forced to deal with this would make Kitchen Stadium proud. Chairman Kaga weeps.


Rangers: Chicken and Donut Skewer:

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Another example of a good thing taken to extremes. Or two good things which really don’t have a lot of business being together being impaled on a stick. I guess if you call it a “skewer” it sounds smaller — like a veggie-laden hors d’oeuvres! — but this is Texas so it’s not mere finger food. Look at the baseball for scale. Now fry the baseball and eat it. Seven times.


Rangers: Wicked Pig Sandwich


The Braves and Rangers are really next-leveling things this year. This beast consists of pulled pork, bacon, sausage, prosciutto, a different kind of ham, barbecue sauce, coleslaw and pork rinds. Glad they added the pork rinds here. Never engage in half-measures. Go hard or go home, that’s my motto.

Wow, this post took longer to write than I thought. I’ve missed my lunchtime! Strangely, though, I’m not very hungry.

Olson blasts two HRs, Acuña has 4 hits as Strider, Braves overpower Phillies 11-4

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA – Given a seven-run lead in the first inning, Atlanta right-hander Spencer Strider could relax and keep adding to his majors-leading strikeout total.

“That game felt like it was over pretty quick,” Strider said.

Ronald Acuña Jr. drove in three runs with four hits, including a two-run single in Atlanta’s seven-run first inning, and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-4 on Sunday night to split the four-game series.

“Getting a lead first is big, especially when you get that big of a lead,” Strider said. “… When we’re putting up runs, my job isn’t to be perfect. My job is to get outs.”

Following the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker announced right-hander Michael Soroka will be recalled to make his first start since the 2020 season on Monday night at Oakland.

Matt Olson hit a pair of two-run homers for Atlanta, and Strider became the fastest pitcher in modern history to reach 100 strikeouts in a season.

“It’s incredible,” said Acuña through a translator of Strider. “Every time he goes out to pitch it seems like he’s going to strike everybody out.”

Acuña hit a run-scoring triple in the fifth before Olson’s second homer to center. Acuña had two singles in the first when the Braves sent 11 batters to the plate, collected seven hits and opened a 7-0 lead. Led by Acuña and Olson, who had three hits, the Braves set a season high with 20 hits.

Strider (5-2) struck out nine while pitching six innings of two-run ball. The right-hander fired a called third strike past Nick Castellanos for the first out of the fourth, giving him 100 strikeouts in 61 innings and topping Jacob deGrom‘s 61 2/3 innings in 2021 as the fastest to 100 in the modern era.

“It’s cool,” Strider said, adding “hopefully it’ll keep going.”

Olson followed Acuña’s leadoff single with a 464-foot homer to right-center. Austin Riley added another homer before Ozzie Albies and Acuña had two-run singles in the long first inning.

Phillies shortstop Trea Turner and left fielder Kyle Schwarber each committed an error on a grounder by Orlando Arcia, setting up two unearned runs in the inning.

Strider walked Kody Clemens to open the third. Brandon Marsh followed with a two-run homer for the Phillies’ first hit. Schwarber hit a two-run homer off Collin McHugh in the seventh.


Michael Harris II celebrated the one-year anniversary of his major league debut by robbing Schwarber of a homer with a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the second. As Harris shook his head to say “No!” after coming down with the ball on the warning track, Strider pumped his fist in approval on the mound – after realizing Harris had the ball.

“He put me through an emotional roller coaster for a moment,” Strider said.


Soroka was scratched from his scheduled start at Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday, setting the stage for his final step in his comeback from two torn Achilles tendons.

“To get back is really a feather in that kid’s cap,” Snitker said.

Soroka will be making his first start in the majors since Aug. 3, 2020, against the New York Mets when he suffered a torn right Achilles tendon. Following a setback which required a follow-up surgery, he suffered another tear of the same Achilles tendon midway through the 2021 season.

Soroka suffered another complication in his comeback when a hamstring injury slowed his progress this spring.

Acuña said he was “super happy, super excited for him, super proud of him” and added “I’m just hoping for continued good health.”

Soroka looked like an emerging ace when he finished 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 2019 and placed second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in the NL Cy Young voting.

The Braves are 0-3 in bullpen committee games as they attempt to overcome losing two key starters, Max Fried (strained left forearm) and Kyle Wright (right shoulder inflammation) to the injured list in early May. Each is expected to miss at least two months.

RHP Dereck Rodriguez, who gave up one hit in two scoreless innings, was optioned to Gwinnett after the game to clear a roster spot for Soroka.


Phillies right-hander Dylan Covey (0-1), claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 20, didn’t make it through the first inning. Covey allowed seven runs, five earned, and six hits, including the homers by Olson and Riley.


Phillies: 3B Alex Bohm was held out with hamstring tightness. … LHP José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) threw the bullpen session originally scheduled for Saturday. Manager Rob Thomson said there was no report that Alvarado, who was placed on the injured list on May 10, had any difficulty.


Phillies: Following an off day, LHP Ranger Suárez (0-1, 9.82 ERA) is scheduled to face Mets RHP Kodai Senga (4-3, 3.94 ERA) in Tuesday night’s opener of a three-game series in New York.

Braves: Soroka was 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA in eight games with Triple-A Gwinnett. He allowed a combined four hits and two runs over 10 2/3 innings in his last two starts. RHP Paul Blackburn (7-6, 4.28 ERA in 2022) is scheduled to make his 2023 debut for Oakland as he returns from a finger injury.