March Madness might be in full swing right now, but you know what's only a few days away from beginning? The baseball season, meaning that, for the next six months, sports fans will get to experience America's pastime nearly every single night.
As great as the smell of the fresh-cut grass inside of a stadium is, here's your guide to the best food, uniforms and promo nights that fans should really be excited about. Because, whether your favorite team wins or not, these are a few things that every fan can enjoy.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs Change Name to the Cheesesteaks for One Game
We're changing our name to Cheesesteaks for Salute to Philly Night on 6/10 https://t.co/aiZbUYPE0F #RaisingTheSteaks https://t.co/KSdH2JTvZ93/22/2016, 3:04:02 PM
Playing in the shadows of Philadelphia—where cheesesteaks are like communion to locals—the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are doing something to pay homage to the delicacy and changing their name to the Cheesesteaks for one game only.
I'm not sure if this has ever been done before by a sports franchise or not, but it's pretty awesome to see—and the uniforms are straight fire!
Milwaukee Brewers' Jalapeno Popper Dog
Nick Dimengo @itsnickdimengo
So, this @Brewers hot dog called the 'Jalapeno Popper Dog' looks incredible. #MLB @BleacherReport https://t.co/VUqsdvBBOp3/28/2016, 11:02:42 PM
The name itself makes it sound like this Jalapeno Popper Dog that the Milwaukee Brewers are debuting at Miller Park this year will be incredible—and extremely spicy. But what makes it so good is all the ingredients.
How does a local hot dog with cheese sauce, fried jalapeno and a sausage roll sound to you? If you're anything like me, it sounds like heaven.
Sure, the dog will be a challenge to eat, but I have a feeling it's well worth it.
Buffalo Bisons' Star Wars Night
Buffalo Bisons @BuffaloBisons
ICYMI - #Bisons unveil their 2016 #StarWars Night jerseys. Auction set to own first one! https://t.co/dd15rnjoFe https://t.co/Xe6SnMcMXr3/1/2016, 3:08:31 AM
One of the things that makes minor league baseball so unique are the various promotional nights teams run throughout a season.
And while MLB teams do things like giveaways and other contests, it's their minor league affiliates that pull out all the stops—and the Buffalo Bisons' Star Wars Night is one that has become quite the tradition over the years.
Bringing actors in to reenact some of the famous scenes from the film and other cool festivities, Bisons players will don their own customized Star Wars jerseys, with this year's being an all-black design inspired by Darth Vader.
Toronto Blue Jays' Chicken & Waffle on a Stick
Big League Stew @bigleaguestew
#BlueJays have added Chicken & Waffle On A Stick w/ maple Sriracha and broccoli/cabbage slaw. https://t.co/jHJFC2YoNT3/24/2016, 6:32:30 PM
The Toronto Blue Jays enjoyed a deep run in the postseason in 2015, and they're hoping that some extra protein and carbs will help give them the strength to go even further this year, because the team announced a new dish: Chicken & Waffles on a Stick.
Where else can a fan go to get something as good as chicken mixed with the sweetness of a waffle and take in some awesome baseball? Here's your answer—the Rogers Centre at a Jays game this year.
Minnesota Twins' Red Alternate Jersey
For as long as I can remember, the Minnesota Twins have always sported either white, gray or navy blue tops throughout their history. Not anymore, though.
That's because the Twins unveiled some sick new jerseys that they'll be wearing this season, with a whole lot of red being the emphasis. These uniforms will be paired with alternate caps during home games.
Some may think they're a little too in your face, but, come on, it's about time the Twinkies changed up their look a bit.
Gary SouthShore RailCats' Top Gun Night
Gary RailCats @railcats
Check out our special "TOP GUN" jerseys! July 23rd! Be there - free aviators & more! https://t.co/LZWARXaTKx https://t.co/LjfwdMxcQf2/22/2016, 6:41:28 PM
Much like the aforementioned Star Wars Night from the Buffalo Bisons, the Gary SouthShore RailCats are paying homage to a classic movie, too, by busting out their bomber jackets and aviators for Top Gun Night this year.
Wearing unis that are modeled after Maverick's flight suit from the film, the team will take the field in style, with the jerseys being auctioned off after the game for charity.
It's the 30th anniversary of the movie, so this should remind everyone to never lose that lovin' feeling while at a RailCats game.
Kansas City Royals' Champions Alley Burger
Big League Stew @bigleaguestew
#Royals add Champions Alley burger and hot dog, both tempura-battered. Dog is bacon-wrapped. Burger, cheese-stuffed https://t.co/LeiOBMMqTA3/24/2016, 6:36:11 PM
After winning their first World Series in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals figured they just had to give their fans something to snack on to celebrate for the year after. So that's exactly what they did.
Creating the Champions Alley Burger—which also has a hot dog version—the Royals' new sandwich is everything one would want to chow on while at Kauffman Stadium, as it's tempura-battered and stuffed with bacon and cheese, then served with some slaw on top.
Anyone who can take one of these down can definitely claim to being a champion—because the thing is massive.
Rochester Red Wings' Batman Night
Of all the promotion nights that are going on in baseball this season, the Rochester Red Wings' Batman Night might just be my favorite—because they don't hold anything back in making it great.
In addition to bringing in the actor who played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie (Lee Meriwether), the team is also rolling in a replica Batmobile—which is awesome.
Voted as one of the top 10 promo nights in MiLB in 2014, the Red Wings know that the Batman will save the day and bring plenty of fun to fans in attendance.
Pittsburgh Pirates' Yellow Alternate Jersey
Finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to bring back their yellow "We Are Family" jerseys that became so popular after the 1979 World Series team—and they'll be wearing them for every Sunday home game throughout the 2016 season.
Zack D'Ulisse @740JZD
@UniWatch @PhilHecken @sportslogosnet Pirates equipment manager leaks the new alts. Deletes tweet immediately. https://t.co/3D4Xe3u4MW1/28/2016, 7:41:17 PM
Originally leaked by a staffer accidentally on Twitter, once the news broke about the new threads, I'm sure everyone in the Steel City began thinking of players like Willie Stargell and Dave Parker, who helped make the mustard-colored tops so famous.
Props to the Pirates for honoring their past and breaking these out for more than just one or two games, too.
Texas Rangers' Chicken & Donut Skewer
Fried chicken & donut skewer? Just one of many wild new food items ready for Opening Day: https://t.co/qYoVYg4dLd https://t.co/19AXDUss1u3/25/2016, 3:38:11 AM
Everything is always bigger in Texas, so of course the Texas Rangers wanted to make sure they could get as many different tastes together in one dish to make the ultimate snack for fans.
Enter this Chicken & Donut Skewer, which is a 12-inch skewer with fried chicken and donut holes on it that's then drizzled with spicy buffalo honey sauce.
It sounds like an absolute blast in the mouth, so make sure to prepare yourself before housing it.
Arizona Diamondbacks' Cheeseburger Dog
Arizona Diamondbacks @Dbacks
Meet the latest #DbacksEats sensation, the Cheeseburger Dog, available at Chase Field this season. https://t.co/iM8R7X9DPW3/24/2016, 6:04:00 PM
How does a foot-long hot dog made of chargrilled hamburgers and mixed with bacon, green peppers and cheese sound? Oh, and then to top it all off, how about deep-frying it and topping it with smoked bacon and secret sauce?
If your mouth isn't watering right now, you might not be American.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' Cheeseburger Dog might be a heart attack on a plate, but it's worth the hospital trip, because it looks incredible.
St. Louis Cardinals' Meatball-Filled Bread Cone
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
New at @Cardinals Games: 4 meatballs in an Italian bread cone w/mozzarella & parmesan (via @delawarenorth) https://t.co/EgnQFNwv123/28/2016, 4:10:04 PM
The summer is normally a time for scoops of ice cream inside of a cone, but the St. Louis Cardinals are trying to make it the time for, get this, meatballs and a cone. No joke.
Stuffing four meatballs and sauce into an Italian bread cone, the Cards are giving fans one of the most unique dishes I think I've ever seen at a ballpark before—and definitely one that reminds me of my grandmother.
Eating something like this on a 100-degree summer day doesn't sound too enjoyable, but to each his own, I suppose.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats' 'Bipartisan' Jersey
NH Fisher Cats @FisherCats
The OFFICIAL bipartisan jersey for Opening Day! Vote for the hat to go with it: https://t.co/egtQuxBc0U https://t.co/hjr726Q1MB3/1/2016, 9:31:24 PM
Having difficultly deciding which candidate you're going to vote for in this year's election? Maybe the New Hampshire Fisher Cats can help, because they're wearing a "Bipartisan" jersey that appeals to both Democrats and Republicans.
Rather than deal with debates and key issues, the Fisher Cats are torn right down the middle with these Opening Day jerseys that pay tribute to the state’s primary celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Don't think that fans are off the hook from voting, though, because they need to decide which hat the team dons with the special uniforms—a red elephant or blue donkey cap.
Atlanta Braves' T.E.D. (The Everything Dog)
braves reddit @BravesReddit
T.E.D "the everything dog" https://t.co/8hN5LNxhgP3/22/2016, 4:17:33 PM
Words can't describe the feelings I have for this new Atlanta Braves dish called The Everything Dog or, simply, T.E.D.
I say that because I can't quite tell if I'm excited or grossed out by this foot-long hot dog topped with pretty much everything imaginable, including french fries, chili, nacho chips, beer cheese, jalapenos and popcorn. To top it off, it's drizzled with Coca-Cola-infused sauce. Oh, and if you needed a soft pretzel bun, you've got that option, too.
So. Much. Food.
Frisco RoughRiders' Throwback Uniform Collection
Minor League Promos @MiLBPromos
This year @RidersBaseball has Game Boy, Ghostbusters, & Top Gun jerseys coming! https://t.co/i6tbGTVTHm3/9/2016, 5:05:33 PM
There are throwback uniforms and promotional nights, and then there are the Frisco RoughRiders, who have the best uniform collection I've ever seen from a sports team.
The minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers, the RoughRiders will be wearing a number of jerseys this season influenced by pop culture lore, including a Ghostbusters version, a Top Gun jersey and, yep, even a Game Boy top.
I want to know where in the hell I can get one of each, because these are absolutely incredible.
Arizona Diamondbacks' New Uniform Rotation
Arizona Diamondbacks @Dbacks
One bold new shade of gray. #JoinTheEvolution: https://t.co/NJTuB5vJR3 https://t.co/fNNsxg5GMa3/14/2016, 5:39:24 AM
The Arizona Diamondbacks haven't been around for that long, but they've already seen quite the change in their design over the years—and the latest updates are just freaking amazing.
Unveiling seven new home and away uniforms for the upcoming season, the D-Backs' new look is both fresh and progressive, bringing a different spin to baseball uniforms than what we've seen from other MLB teams before.
There are a lot of options to choose from, but each one of these versions brings heat!
Pittsburgh Pirates' Cracker Jack & Mac Hot Dog
Alicia Jessop @RulingSports
Meet PNC Park's Cracker Jack & Mac dog, topped with caramel sauce, jalapeños, Cracker Jack & macaroni and cheese. https://t.co/166CDx790u3/24/2016, 3:08:04 PM
While the Pittsburgh Pirates may have won their fans over with the release of the throwback yellow jerseys I mentioned earlier, it'll be interesting to see the reaction to the team's newest food item, the Cracker Jack & Mac Hot Dog.
Served on pita bread, this foot-long hot dog is covered with macaroni and cheese and then, for some reason, topped with Cracker Jacks to add some sweetness and then jalapenos for some spice.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this, but if you try it, I'll be interested to hear the reaction.
San Diego Padres' Uniform Changes
Aaron Waldron @waldo_aaron
.@gdarklighter taking advantage of the photo op with James Shields and @wilmyers #SDSocialSummit https://t.co/gfaObLCqR912/2/2015, 1:39:44 AM
As much as I love what the Arizona Diamondbacks did with their new uniform designs, I think the San Diego Padres may have even beaten them with their updated look.
Annie Heilbrunn @annieheilbrunn
Close up of #Padres new camo uniform. No filter. Script is new and will be on other uniforms. https://t.co/tuz6Z7xc4p12/1/2015, 9:45:08 PM
Not only did the team unveil a new color scheme with the unis, but the jerseys and hats themselves are amazing. The team will also keep the tradition of honoring the Navy during Sunday home games with the camo jerseys.
Phil Hecken @PhilHecken
Good look at the @Padres new home unis https://t.co/0hVYMQcG6X12/2/2015, 1:40:00 AM
Some may think that brown is a little much, but paying tribute to their old-school unis, I can't help but like them.
Texas Rangers' Wicked Pig
Sarah Blaskovich @sblaskovich
Hello to the Wicked Pig, a giant, new sammich at @Rangers. The cost? $27. #whew https://t.co/79VuGe2tp4 https://t.co/IKfYGxQZJT3/24/2016, 6:12:03 PM
The aforementioned Chicken and Donut Skewer is a lot to handle, sure, but imagine trying to eat the Wicked Pig at a Texas Rangers game this season—which, honestly, I can't even fathom.
While it sounds like the best thing on the planet thanks to its five types of pork—pulled pork, bacon, sausage, prosciutto and ham—seeing how it's layered to a double-decker makes it seem nearly impossible to eat.
Doused with BBQ sauce and topped with coleslaw and pork grinds, the entire meal costs $27 and will either kill you or fill you up for a week. But, wow, does it sound like a treat.
Atlanta Braves' New Menu, Which Includes the 'Burgerizza'
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Cost on the true pizza burger selling at @Braves games will be $26 https://t.co/fPcWDdfT3d3/22/2016, 6:08:17 PM
Ladies and gentleman, prepare yourself for something that only drunk college kids have probably ever even thought about trying to eat—a burgerizza.
Instead of poor 20-somethings making this in their dorm room, though, the Atlanta Braves are actually selling it to fans this season, as a 20-ounce beef patty is covered with five slices of cheese, topped with bacon and served between two eight-inch pepperoni pizzas.
FOX Sports South @FOXSportsSouth
The Punisher. Rib meat slathered in Monster energy drink-infused BBQ sauce. @Braves https://t.co/Yz1xH18P7x3/22/2016, 3:58:18 PM
If that doesn't tickle your fancy, any of the other items that the Braves are releasing for their final season in Turner Field might do the trick, as the menu includes things like the aforementioned T.E.D., a sandwich called "The Punisher," some more-than-loaded nachos and a concoction called "The Tater Tot Chop."
Eat at your own risk at Atlanta games, guys.