By Michael Pomranz
The 2015 Major League Baseball season is finally upon us. Are you excited yet? Well, you should be! (Unless you’re an Astros fan.) Of America’s “Big Four” sports -- yes, that includes hockey, even though it’s terrible -- our national pastime is the one most associated with eating: Peanuts. Cracker Jacks. You know the deal.
But with food becoming a bigger stadium draw than ever before, MLB teams are finally realizing hotdogs that have been pickling longer than Ty Cobb’s liver aren’t going to cut it anymore. This year, baseball has gone all-out in an effort to provide some of the wildest concession cuisine ever seen in any athletic competition (except maybe professional eating).
Here’s a look at some of the most over the top MLB foods available this season ... and some other choices if you don't want your doctor to yell at you.
New York Mets, S’mores Bacon on a Stick
The people over at Citi Field were bragging about all the celebrity chefs they’ve been working with, and yet none of them seemed to want to claim responsibility for this gluttonous masterpiece: bacon, smothered in chocolate sauce, with crushed honey graham crackers and marshmallows.
Healthier alternative: Daruma of Tokyo Sushi (Section 105)
Philadelphia Phillies, Wayback Triple Triple 9-Patty Burger
Here’s a burger you gotta do a little math for. One can only guess that the “Triple Triple” earned its name by being three triple cheeseburgers on one bun. That equals nine patties and nine pieces of cheese, adding up to 2,200 calories.
Healthier alternative: The Vedura Salad at Planet Hoagie (Ashburn Alley), which includes "roasted eggplant, broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, sharp provolone."
Pittsburgh Pirates, Cuban Pretzel Dog
A footlong, all-beef hot dog topped with slices of ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and pickles, on a pretzel hoagie roll. Possibly the best new prospect to come out of Cuba since Yasiel Puig?
Healthy alternative: Sincerely Yogurt (Section 106)
Milwaukee Brewers, Inside the Park Nachos
Trying to pick the grossest new food to be unleashed at Miller Park is almost as difficult as trying to pick the drunkest person tailgating outside of Miller Park. But give this one points for pure audacity (both in design and in calling itself “nachos”). ESPN describes it as “a stick of beef, loaded with refried beans, rolled in Doritos, and then deep fried and drizzled with sour cream and cheese.”
Healthier alternative: Baked Potato Cart (Sections 127 and 214 ... no toppings though!)
Arizona Diamondbacks, Churro Dog
Why let meat have all the fun? The Diamondbacks have put together this sweet take on a dog that is part Spanish dessert, part unholy nightmare: a churro “dog” tucked in a long john chocolate-glazed donut bun that trades out your traditional toppings for frozen yogurt, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and caramel. Rumor has it it’s over 1,100 calories. Welcome to Chase Field; you’ll be leaving on a stretcher.
Healthier alternative: Subway (Sections 125 & 306)
New York Yankees, Chicken & Waffle Sliders
These cute sliders are a delicious idea: a fried chicken patty between two mini waffles served with buffalo sauce, ranch dressing and maple syrup. The waffles are even pressed with the Yankee logo baked right in -- a perfect reminder of just how spoiled Yankee fans really are.
Healthier alternative: Noodle Bowls/Sushi Stand (Section 127)
Detroit Tigers, Bacon and (Deviled) Eggs
Deviled eggs have somewhat surprisingly returned as hip bar food (specifically because of their kitsch, probably), so why not bring them into the ballpark? This year at Comerica Park, you can get three deviled eggs, topped with fried jalepenos, delicately placed on a slice of bacon. We knew Detroit was the latest hipster haven, but this is going too far.
Healthier alternative: Hummus Plate/Fruit Plate, FOX Sports Detroit Brushfire Grill (Section 131)
Minnesota Twins, College Daze Bloody Mary
Target Field now serves up an over-the-top Bloody Mary that contains an entire slice of cold pepperoni pizza. Sounds like a great way to get rid of all the extra pies lying around at the end of a four-game homestand. Vodka kills bacteria, right?
Healthier alternative: Fruit Kabobs (Section 133), Veggie Taco (Sections 105, 305)
Seattle Mariners, Dungeness Crab Sandwich
Safeco Field tried to go the classy route this year. Their most shocking food addition is a very highbrow Dungeness Crab Sandwich. All right, we get it, Seattleites. You’re better than us. At everything but baseball.
Healthier alternative: Crab actually sounds pretty healthy, but for more seafood, there's also a Rice n' Roll (Section 136).
Houston Astros, Chicken & Waffle Cone
The Astros have come up with a portable take on chicken and waffles called the Chicken & Waffle Cone. Yes, the logical conclusion is that the cone is a waffle cone. The unexpected turn is that it’s not just filled with fried chicken bites, but also mashed potatoes and topped with a honey mustard drizzle. Sounds like a perfect distraction from having to watch Astros baseball.
Healthier alternative: Green Fork (Section 116), the FiveSeven Grille (Section 156)
Texas Rangers, Bacon Cotton Candy
Everything is bigger in Texas, including their list of ridiculous new ballpark foods. They’ve introduced some wild new dessert called a Fried S’mOreo. Also, chicken-fried corn on the cob. Hell, they’ve even added an entire concession stand called “Just Bacon,” that just sells foods with bacon. While you’re there, grab some bacon cotton candy and ponder where your life went wrong.
Healthier alternative: Ummmm ... we're not really seeing a helluva lot?