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Let's Talk About Something Silly, Shall We?

A discussion of food in our nation's ballparks, fueled by necessity.

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So I find myself writing to you on this cold late January morning by way of an LG G3. The upside of that is that it's a very nice phone, and I've been perfectly happy with it in the seven months or so I've had it. The downside of it is that, despite being a very nice phone, my LG G3 quite stubbornly remains a phone, and if you'll allow me I'm going to enlighten you as to one of the finer points of blogging on a phone: it ain't ideal.

I'm composing this via phone because I temporarily find myself in dire straits computer-wise due to a broken hinge on my laptop; badly broken enough it will not actually stay open, and while I've contemplated an elaborate system of propping it open long enough to type this, the actual mechanics are proving complex and unwieldy enough I'm prepared to write it off as a lost cause this morning.

As I already stated a moment ago, composing a blog post on a phone is not ideal under any circumstances; attempting to put together a 2500+ word grouping of three scouting reports, complete with video and formatting and the like, seems almost suicidally foolish. Ergo, I find myself casting about for a topic this morning. And I believe I've hit upon one, and an exceptionally stupid one at that. Which seems alright for a Wednesday still two weeks or so out from the beginning of spring training, don't you think?

I want to know about your favourite ballpark foods. I feel like we've been down this road a ways here and there over the years, but always in a strictly unofficial capacity, when the topic would come up in a thread dedicated to something else. So let's make this shit official, is what I'm saying.

Three questions for you to debate and/or answer:

1.) What is your favourite treat at the ballpark?

2.) What sorts of foods in general do you favour whilst consuming our national pastime? and

3.) What foods do you wish were extant at the ballpark that currently either are not at all, or are exceedingly rare?

For number one, I have a tough time deciding between hot dogs and pretzels. I'm a simple man, with simple tastes, and I love the classics. Nachos are all well and good, but too messy and somehow...unsatisfying to me. As much as I love snow cones in everyday life (one of the foods served at my hypothetical last meal would be a tiger blood snow cone), those at the ballpark are, quite simply, shit. No thank you. A truly great stadium hot dog, though, is one of life's greatest pleasures, and one that is beguilingly difficult to replicate at home. Sure, I buy quarter pound Hebrew Nationals at home, and I've done them every which way imaginable, but somehow the experience is still lacking. I've begun to think it may be entirely a function of the environment, and what I'm missing in my home hot dog adventures (which sounds distressingly dirty, I realise), is something more ethereal and not so much in the actual food itself.

A pretzel, on the other hand, I can actually produce better at home or elsewhere, either by boiling and baking my own or dropping by Gus's for a fresh bag of sticks at any time. There's still something magical about it being at the ballpark, certainly, but I think I can more easily write off the romance of a ballpark pretzel in a way I am unable to with a ballpark dog. Ergo, the hot dog probably has to win out for me.

My general tastes in ballpark food run toward the appalling, in the sense I have no desire to really ever eat anything healthy or even just not deep fried while taking in a game. Don't get me wrong; it isn't that my tastes ALWAYS run to the horrid; in general my diet is relatively clean. However, I feel like I put in my six to eight hours a week in the gym precisely so I can eat whatever terrible things I want on occasion, and an afternoon at Busch Stadium is definitely one of those occasions. (Actually, my gym work is probably more so I feel no need to curb my drinking, but that sounds much, much worse. So, you know.)

The foods I most enjoy at the ballpark are much the same foods I would prefer walking a midway; carnival food seeming to fall somewhat out of favour at baseball games is an extremely distressing occurrence to my way of thinking. Corn dogs and funnel cakes should absolutely be a bigger staple of the ballpark than they are; that giant corndog the Diamondbacks offer may be the only good thing to do with that team. Somebody stop the trend of oversized novelty burgers hitting ballparks everywhere and give me an oversized novelty funnel cake creation. Ice cream is all well and good, but I would much rather down a funnel cake than a banana split at the park if my sweet tooth demands satisfaction.

As for the third question, while a good handmade corn dog would sit high on my list of wish-were-theres at the ballpark, and I do occasionally wish decent sushi were an option (and I would be perfectly okay with only California-style rolls, as a nod to the difficulty of the logistics in serving healthful raw fish in a ballpark environment), the food which consistently comes to mind when I'm thinking of what I wish I most had in hand at a ballgame would be a really top-notch Gyro. Once upon a time I saw Gyros on a ballpark menu and ordered it, only to discover a wretched, frozen and microwaved abomination being served to me. It was...heartbreaking. It seems to me the vertical spit-and-loaf arrangement of a gyro shop would work just fine for the ballpark environ, and it would hold true to my deeply held belief that great ballpark food is always always always of the finger food variety. Salads and pastas and anything else requiring utensils can fuck the fuck off when I'm at the ballpark.

I'm tired of typing on this phone, and the thought of trying to go back and make sure this all flows well is too dark to contemplate at the moment. I would go further down this rabbit hole and talk about my wishes for something as simple as a pretzel stick split down the middle with a cold summer sausage stick, something from G&W or Wennemann's, perhaps, nestled inside, or how puzzling it seems to me I've only ever seen grilled cheese on a ballpark menu once in my life, but I'm going to stop here. So those are my answers, such as they are. I love hot dogs, I want more carnival foods, and the greatest sandwich in the world is underrepresented in our nation's ballparks to a degree I would personally call criminal.

That's my dumb topic for the day, VEB. Don't let me down. Let me hear what you think. Ballpark-specific or generalised, gourmet or the most lowbrow option imaginable, tell me what you like to eat at a ballgame.