A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baseball Food

Once a year or so, Anne Marie and I get a chance to watch the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park. It’s always a great experience seeing the teams play live; it’s even better when the home team wins. On this particular night, the game was simply a good experience: our pitcher couldn’t find the strike zone to save his life and the offense demonstrated why many fans feel they’re overpaid. The Phillies only runs in this game came from a home run which the umpire crew later admitted – somewhat sheepishly – should have been ruled a foul ball.

Part of the baseball “experience” is partaking of the stadium food available. There are the traditional hot dogs and caramel popcorn and peanuts that have become part of baseball lore. The concessions at Citizens Bank Park also offer pizza, pork barbecue, cheese steaks, sausage sandwiches, fries, ice cream, soft drinks and, of course, beer. As you may notice, all of these selections fall into the fast food category designed to be consumed at the fan's seat.

The food is very tasty and irresistible, but I still have two complaints about baseball food. One, very little baseball food is heart healthy, and secondly, there’s not enough of it. When I say that there isn’t enough of it, I’m not referring to the serving size. What I do object to is the lack of food concessions on the second level where our seats were located.

Let’s take one point at a time. Most of the food offerings are either deep fried, greasy, and/or served with high calorie condiments (example – nachos and cheese). I did see a sign advertising that trans fats were not used to fry the potatoes. Okay, Phillies, you get five points for no trans fats, but otherwise I didn’t observe any other healthy food served at the ballpark. The open air salad and fruit bar never caught on for reasons which I’ll never understand.

I’ve already talked about the Schmidter in a previous blog. This is a colossal tribute to clogged arteries everywhere that is named after one of the most famous sluggers the Phillies ever had. Once again it is very tasty, but there’s no denying its high caloric content.

My main problem this year was the location of the concession stands in relation to my seat on the second level. At Citizens Bank Park, the majority of the second level is set aside for those patrons in the private suites who can patronize any number of cafes in air-conditioned comfort. This is fine since they pay an extra fee for this privacy.

Unfortunately, it only leaves room for ONE concession stand for the rest of us poor schlubs who are not lucky enough to work for a company that can afford a luxury suite at the ball park. This stand only sells hot dogs (with Starbucks style prices), chicken fingers, fries, drinks, and ice cream. Sausage sandwich? Go upstairs! Pizza, cheese steaks, and everything else — go back downstairs to the main concourse and hope to God you don’t suffer a coronary during your sojourn. That would be truly ironic! Suffer a heart attack while walking your cholesterol-drenched food back to your seat, and you don’t even live long enough to enjoy it.

I can hear the responses already: “No one is forcing you to eat it,” or “Why don’t you bring your own food from home?” True, I’m not being forced to eat their literally heart-stopping menu. However, regardless of how fattening their food is, it is still a vital part of the major league baseball stadium experience. I want to milk every moment of the game for what its worth.

So we shall eat their food, watch their game and, perhaps, survive to eat and watch another day. Besides, you try sneaking an entire salad bar inside your see-through tote bag into the stadium. Trust me, it doesn’t work.


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