Lars Nootbaar has been awfully good since gaining a promotion from Memphis and it seems as if the Cardinals have finally hit Payday in their outfield bench.
As of August 31, 2021, Nootbaar is providing a .257/.338/.457 slash line, with three “Moon Pies”. He has provided some needed stability serving in the left-Twix outfield bench role, something the 3 Musketeers of Justin Williams, Lane Thomas, and Austin Dean (plus a few others) couldn’t accomplish.
It’s probably a stretch to say that Nootbaar has been “wunderbar”. His play has not been decadently marvelous. But, by my evaluations, he’s at least been “gas station candy bar” good. That’s worth 100 Grand this season!
Ok. Last one. I promise. Puns just bring me so much (Almond) Joy.
I know you expect hard-hitting statistical analysis out of me (sarcasm!), but really, that’s pointless for Nootbaar. He has only 80 plate appearances on the season. Nothing he’s done is very predictive. I’ve learned my lesson with the ghosts of bench-outfielders-of-the-very-recent-past. I’m going to just wait out the PAs before I start drawing any kind of conclusions and recording them for internet posterity.
Nootbaar has been good. I like what I’m seeing from him. I like what I saw in the minor leagues. I hope he can keep it up and I suspect he will. I’m pretty comfortable with him in a bench outfield role next season. That’s it. End of analysis.
That doesn’t mean we can’t make some sweet and salty decisions about Nootbaar. That’s why I’m all Snickered with candy bars today.
I honestly don’t know why the Cardinals haven’t marketed a “Nootbaar” to us yet. Surely you don’t have to reach Matt Carpenter levels before you start getting your own food? No promotional effort has ever been more obvious than turning “Lars Nootbaar” into a candy bar and hawking that across the stadium.
“Nootbaar! Get your Nootbaars here!”
So obvious. I would have had those things ready to go the second he was called up.
That’s why we’re here today. Let’s help Lars out and design the perfect stadium “Lars Nootbaar” Nootbar!
What should it be made from? Let’s start at the beginning of every good candy bar: chocolate.
Obviously, it has to be a chocolate bar. A “Nootbaar” just says chocolate to me. But not just any chocolate. It has to be Nootbaar’ian chocolate!
That’s where Lars’ family heritage comes in. His mother is full-blooded Japanese. Lars’ middle name is Tayler-Tatsuji, which honors her side of the family tree. His father – Charlie Nootbaar – was of Dutch heritage and met Lars’ mother while studying Japanese in college. Rick Hummel has a great write-up about the family history here. Give the Hall of Famer that click and read!
So, there needs to be some kind of Japanese element to this bar. But the Japanese aren’t famous for their chocolate. The Dutch, though? Absolutely!
“Dutch” chocolate is a real thing. From what the internet tells me, it’s cocoa that’s been refined through some kind of chemical process to remove the alkali taste. That produces a smoother texture and darker color than traditional cocoas.
A Nootbaar, then, needs to be a candy bar made from smooth, dark “dutch” chocolate.
What about contents?
We could stick with the Dutch theme.
I did an internet search for “most popular candy bar in Holland” and came up with brands like Verkade chocolate bars and Tony’s Chocolonely. Tony’s stuff looks interesting, so I went to their website. Turns out that Tony’s is committed to slave-free cocoa. I did not know that “slave cocoa” was a thing but apparently so. I’ll let you look that up in your leisure time. Delicious and responsibly sourced? We could do worse than looking to Tony’s Chocolonely for inspiration!
Tony’s makes some pretty good-looking chocolate bars: milk, dark and white chocolate bars, a truly “wunderbar” looking chocolate and hazelnut bar, a chocolate and “noga” (which is probably a kind of nougat) one that looked interesting. But this one was really unique: milk chocolate, pretzel, and toffee. It’s like a trifecta of Dutch-ness in one delicious package!
If Lars’ heritage was primarily Dutch, that’s probably where I would land. But there’s this whole Japanese aspect of his background that we have to consider.
Typically, when I think of Japanese cuisine, I think of fresh fish. Sushi. Seafoods.
No one wants ballpark sushi outside of the pricy suites. And I don’t think anyone wants a candy bar with Dutch chocolate, pretzel, avocado, toffee, and ahi tuna served in a seaweed wrap.
So, what kind of candy do the Japanese eat?
Kit Kats. Apparently, they eat a lot of Kit Kats.
A Kit Kat is a wafer-style cookie covered in milk chocolate and sold in breakable fingers, so you can “break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”
You sang it. I know you did.
An American Kit Kat-style bar is pretty plain for Lars Nootbaar. But maybe the Japanese are onto something here.
Kit Kats are so popular in Japan that they have started coming out with all kinds of alternative Kit Kat flavors. Like Almond and cranberry, which sounds pretty decent. And chestnut, which I would eat but not love. And sweet potato. Hmm… that one’s a no from me. But it does show the versatility of the wafer cookie.
In the spring, Kit Kat puts out a cherry-blossom pink “Sakura Mochi” flavor of Kit Kat. That sounds very Japan. There’s also a Sakura Sake flavor for when you want your Nootbaar after dark.
I’m not sure whether corn-fed American Midwesterners would go for a “Sakura” flavored Kit Kat at the ol’ ballgame. Sakura, though, is just another name for cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms become … cherries! And cherry pairs awfully well with dark chocolate.
That leaves us with a shortlist of possible ingredients, based on the research above:
Dark Dutch chocolate
Salted pretzel bits
Kit Kat-style wafer cookie
Surely we can make something “gas station candy bar” good out of those ingredients! We just need to apply what we know about Lars Nootbaar (almost nothing!) to divine his representative confectionary.
Out of that list, what says “Lars Nootbaar” to you?
First, let’s eliminate some combinations. We can’t use both a wafer cookie and nougat. I’m sure that some candy bar already has that combination – because, let’s be honest, “Big Candy Bar” has already tried every conceivable combination of bar base. Since I think wafer cookie is a must-have in this particular bar, nougat is out.
Second, we can’t just go to old standbys. Mocha and hazelnut is a tried and true combo but it’s just been done too many times. So has chocolate and toffee chunks. That’s a Skor bar. Or a variety of Toblerone – Swiss, not Dutch.
Third, mouth-feel matters. To me, that means a variety of textures – soft, chewy, crunchy. And a variety of flavors – salty, sweet, and … savory? Well, definitely the first two.
I ran this by my wife and daughter – who know a lot about Lars Nootbaar (like, his name) – and they both came up with different bars than me. So, we’ll list them all and you can vote in the comments. Here are their choices:
The “Lars Nootbaar” 1: Dark Dutch chocolate and cookie wafer, topped with toffee chunks. My wife came up with this one. Simple. Tasty. Basically, it’s a Kit Kat topped with toffee. I’d definitely eat it.
The “Lars Nootbaar” 2: Dark Dutch chocolate and cookie wafer, drizzled with red “Sakura” cherry chocolate stripes and covered in pretzel bits. This was my daughter’s choice. Gotta say… yum. This might be the winner.
The “Lars Nootbaar” 3: cookie wafer layered with a “Sakura” cherry jam. Dip that in dark Dutch chocolate, and top it with salted pretzel bits. Maybe toffee, too. I like being excessive. This one is mine and I won’t blame anyone if you vote with the gals. I will.
The rest is up to you, friends. What’s your favorite?
Or you can make your own. There are a dozen other flavor combinations and, really, you can’t go wrong here. Create yours in the comments. Better yet, create yours in your kitchen and bring me one!
Meanwhile, we’ll try our best to get this into Lars’ hands and get his opinion. Ultimately, he should have the final say, shouldn’t he? After all, it’s the “Lars Nootbaar” Nootbaar!