There’s nothing like watching a baseball game while eating a traditional ballpark hot dog, right? Well how about watching a baseball game while eating a hot dog topped with fries, chili, nacho chips, cheese, jalapenos, popcorn, and Coca-Cola infused barbecue sauce on a pretzel bun. As outlandish as it sounds, strange baseball cuisines like the one aforementioned have become commonplace at ballparks across America. With teams increasingly putting an emphasis on providing fans with unique and memorable experiences, ballpark food has taken on a life of its own over the past decade or so. Want to enjoy a burger while watching a game? Or how about a slice of pizza? Well if you’re at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, you can try a Burgerizza, consisting of a 20 ounce burger, cheddar cheese, bacon, on a bun made out of two 8 inch pepperoni pizzas.
Maybe you just want a chicken sandwich. Well at Minute Maid Park, you can have the Sweet Potato Waffle Chicken Sandwich, a grilled chicken sandwich with greek yogurt, sliced tomatoes, and spinach on a sweet potato waffle.
Do you have a sweet tooth? At Globe Life Park, the Texas Rangers stadium, you can enjoy a chicken and donut skewer drizzled in a sweet and sour buffalo honey sauce.
Ballpark food has certainly taken a shift to the eccentric in recent years.
Not only are baseball menu items becoming more bizzare, but they are becoming more team and brand oriented as well. Professional baseball organizations want their fans to be connected to their teams at games. Whether it’s through landmarks and monuments or stadium museums, team executives want consumers to be immersed in their team’s culture while watching them play. You can definitely see this from a food standpoint. At Citi Field, you can eat at Keith’s Grill, named after Mets great Keith Hernandez.
Citizen’s Bank Park has a sit down restaurant called Harry the K’s, based off legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas. At Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, you can order the Joe Maddon Italian Hoagie, named after the current Cubs manager.
The transformation of ballpark food from standard items such as traditional hot dogs, French fries, pretzels, and Cracker Jacks to more diverse, creative options is a brilliant marketing move. Dining at a MLB stadium has become an experience. Whether it be by struggling to not make a mess while eating a burger with ten different toppings, or eating the hot dog named after your favorite player, current ballpark food provides consumers with stories and memories, and enhances the overall atmosphere at Major League Baseball games.