Ranking 10 Best MLB Stadiums by Food
Come for the baseball. Stay for because of the "itis."
As with any sporting event, attending a professional baseball game is all about having the fullest experience possible. From the aquarium-lined backstop in Miami's Marlins Park to the Renaissance Toronto Hotel located within the Blue Jays' Rogers Centre, going to a game is no longer just scorecards and Cracker Jacks.
Feeling hot at the park? Catch rays and the D'backs from Chase Fields' rentable outfield pool. Or watch center fielders blindly navigate their way up Tal's Hill at Houston's Minute Maid Park.
Seemingly every aspect of visiting the ballpark has changed, for better or worse, including the culinary adventures awaiting hungry fans. Nachos and hot dogs are no longer just chips covered in cheese and a dog in a bun.
You'd be hard-pressed to walk an MLB concourse without happening upon a brewery, steakhouse or (gasp!) salad bar.
And rightly so.
The Disney song "Let It Go" was actually written about the composer's experience eating the BBQ Stuffed Baked Potato at an Astros game. I kid. But stadium cuisine has become something of a one-upmanship game over the years, and that's perfectly fine.
But not all things deep-fried, bacon-wrapped and chili-covered are created equal. Which stadiums push the "treat yo self" ideology to the limits of human digestive systems?
Hitting all 30 stadiums to sample the fare sounds wonderful in theory but can't be supported for budgetary and caloric reasons. Thankfully, we have the Internet and social media, making it easy to find the most outrageous, creative, destructive, frightening and beautiful creations in Major League Baseball. We present the 10 stadiums with the most mouth-watering culinary creations.
Though cooking and baking can be highly scientific, eating is not. These rankings get the eye test, with bonus points given to stadiums with multiple gut-busting options. So if you feel your stadium's signature item didn't make the cut, let us know in the comments.
No. 10: U.S. Cellular Field, Helmet Sundae
The Chicago White Sox may forever play second fiddle to the Northside rival Cubs, but the team's newest dessert offering sits in a class all by itself.
Or a full-sized batter's helmet.
The @whitesox are offering a three-pound ice cream sundae in a full-size helmet:
Nearly the weight of a prematurely born baby, the Bases Loaded Sundae packs a serving of sliced bananas and a whopping 12 scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream underneath caramel, chocolate syrup and strawberry sauce. Of course there's whipped cream and multiple cherries on top.
If we're being completely honest, this might be the biggest steal in the realm of ballpark eats. At just $17, you're looking at less than $1.50 per scoop without taking into account all the other ingredients!
Don't expect to go at this behemoth alone. After chomping down some bacon-on-a-stick, you're meant to share the sundae with the whole family. But if you're feeling frisky, there are rumors of a prize for the first person who demolishes one on his own.
The Sundae comes in at No. 10 for no other reason than the fact that it's a dessert.
No. 9: Turner Field, The Hammer
Nothing screams Atlanta more than chicken and waffles.
It seems completely appropriate that Turner Field should offer a twist on the iconic dish that fits in your lap and can be gorged on without knife and fork.
Look no further than The Hammer: fried chicken topped with bacon, fried onions, pepper jack cheese and pecan-maple mayonnaise, with waffles giving bread a vacation.
Here's a homemade version from Where the Athletes Eat:
No. 8: Target Field, Bigger Better Burger Bloody Mary
There are a few important rules to follow when consuming alcohol. Chief among them is to never drink on an empty stomach.
The Minnesota Twins make it impossible not to play along with their new menu item that is neither burger nor beverage.
Lame hashtag puns aside, the bacon cheeseburger sits almost daintily atop a Bloody Mary with all the other garnishes.
Instead of just a meal in a glass, you get one on top, too. You'll just have to decide if the pickle goes on the burger or in the glass.
No. 7: Citizens Bank Park, the Schmitter
As soon as I found out Citizens Bank Park served Federal Donuts, I began searching for Phillies-White Sox tickets. If you don't know, get educated.
But the Schmitter puts Philadelphia's stadium on the map.
Steak, grilled salami, cheese, fried onions, tomatoes and Schmitter Sauce (in the Russian dressing family) make up this hearty sandwich, originally from McNally's Tavern.
Citizens Bank Park also cares about its patrons' health, voted the No. 1 ballpark for vegetarian fare three years running. Though it shockingly lacks meat, the Poppy Hoagie, stacked with roasted eggplant, fresh mozzarella, red peppers and sundried tomatoes, sounds incredible.
No. 6: Tropicana Field, Fan vs. Food Burger
Competition isn't quite king on this list.
But with the opportunity to eat your way into free baseball games, the Fan vs. Food Burger challenge is fierce.
Eat five pounds of bacon cheeseburger and fries, and you get to come back and do it all over again.
Theoretically, you could go to as many Tampa Bay Rays games for free as you can stomach and eat gratis.
No. 5: Nationals Park, Strasburger
Named after the Nationals' star pitcher, the eight-pound Strasburger feels like it belongs in the annals of deadly weapons.
While it doesn't have any more bells or whistles than a Big Mac (and apparently uses the Big Mac sauce), it could feed a family of four for a week.
Though you've probably been to a steakhouse where a single piece of meat costs $59, as this monstrosity does, it might also be the first time you've actually come across a 10,000-calorie...thing.
No. 4: Chase Field, D-Bat Dog
No swimming at least 30 minutes, right?
Not if you scarf a D-Bat Dog. You'll probably want to wait a week.
What exactly is it?
We ate the D-Bat Dog.... oh my gosh its like diabetes on a bed of fries— Espiiii (@especiallyespi) June 1, 2014
It's essentially an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with bacon, cheese and jalapeños, and it costs $25! But neither the price tag nor the size has deterred Arizona Diamondback fans. According to Business Week, the corn dog-on-steroids sells up to 350 each game.
Fun fact: D-Bat creator Michael Snoke tells Business Week that the dog is only 18 inches long because the fryer couldn't support anything longer.
In exchange for $25, anyone brave enough to take on the D-Bat gets a generous one-pound bed of fries, bringing the whole dish to 3,000 calories.
Whoever Jo Ann is, she needs to meet Joey Chestnut and show him how to eat some hot dogs.
No. 3 PNC Park, The Closer
There comes a time in every person's life when he must look deep inside and ask, "how many kinds of cheese is too many?"
If you're catching a Pittsburgh Pirates game the answer better be in double digits because The Closer employs nine different cheeses.
"The Closer" ...coming soon to PNC Park. pic.twitter.com/A8cgh5z7dl— WPXI Traffic (@WPXITraffic) March 28, 2014
But that's not all. This Hulked-out, quadruple-decker grilled cheese sports candied bacon and an apple compote. Fancy.
What exactly did Jason Grilli do to inspire this madness?
As if that wasn't disastrous enough for Pittsburghese, the culinary team at PNC Park also developed Tatchos (one part tater tots, one part nachos).
No. 2: Great American Ballpark, Bacon Challenge
Everyone loves a good competition. That's why you go to the park, to watch your team try to beat the other.
Attend a Cincinnati Reds game, and you can get in on the action yourself.
At the Machine Room Grille, they serve a sandwich simply called The Bacon. It's one pound of the sweet meat topped with shredded lettuce, tomato and black pepper mayo on an artisan roll. It comes with chips, half a pickle and potato salad. Consume four of these behemoths and the fixins in one inning, and you pay nothing as well as receive an "I Conquered the Bacon Challenge" T-shirt and a complementary doctor's appointment.
Just to rewind, that's four pounds of bacon.
Don't stop there. After you've eaten a small chihuahua's worth of bacon, grab a Meat Lover's hot dog. It just so happens to be deep-fried and topped with chili, pepper jack and salami, which is also fried.
No. 1: Globe Life Park
They are definitely about that globe life in Arlington.
It's not so much what the culinary team invented to make the Rangers stadium No. 1, because it's not even close. But which creation to showcase?
It begins with Bacon on a Stick dipped in maple syrup, which the stadium sold out of on Opening Day.
There's the Choomongus: a 24-inch all-beef hot dog topped with Asian-spiced beef, spicy slaw and Sriracha.
Or you can try the Beltre Buster, a one-pound burger patty supporting a half-pound of bacon, grilled onions and cheese, all nestled in a pretzel bun.
Feel like a burger? How about a Beltre Buster. pic.twitter.com/QMEZBgmVYJ— Fil Alvarado (@FilAlvaradoFox4) March 31, 2014
And there's the Boomstick, which has been around for a few seasons. This dog measures in at two feet, weighs one pound and lathers up in chili, nacho cheese, grilled onions and jalepenos on a potato bun.
But the real show heart-stopper is the Sausage Sundae. What is this you ask? It's nothing like the White Sox's 12-scoop sundae we salivated over earlier. Instead of bananas, you've got grilled sausage. Mashed potatoes replace the vanilla ice cream while brisket takes place of the chocolate. I guess for consistency's sake, mac 'n cheese completes the Neapolitan trifecta, with a cherry pepper on top.
Sausage sundae pic.twitter.com/vvSU8rVs6i— Nicole Medrano (@theysayNicole) September 28, 2013
Feast your eyes (without getting heartburn in the process).