Awesome Spring Training Food
Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd, buy me a...Hot Cheetos Cheesesteak?
Spring Training baseball is kind of like Summer friendly football matches for you non-'Murricans. It takes place in the 6 weeks before the real season, and it is held in the warm states of Florida and Arizona. The teams based on or near the East Coast tend to play in Florida, and Arizona serves the teams in the rest of the nation. My beloved Chicago Cubs play in Mesa, Arizona, and we've made the trip a few times.
Besides the fact that its warm, tickets are cheaper, stadiums are smaller, and the pace is much more relaxed. The Arizona sites are scattered throughout the suburbs of Phoenix. Each suburb shows their individual civic pride as host for their big league teams, and since this is America after all, that extends to the signature food items offered at ballgames. Let's look at a few items, most are new for 2020:
Maryvale (Milwaukee Brewers) - Wisconsin Curd Burger
The WCB is quite similar to the new Carl's Jr/Hardee's burger in that it not only has a slice of melted cheese but also additional cheese deep fried in a breading on top of the meat. Because it can be agonizing to be in line deciding on whether you might want a cheeseburger, or perhaps instead you want fried cheese curds. Devo said way back when, "Freedom from choice, is what you want".
Goodyear (Cincinnati Reds/Cleveland Indians) - The Cheesy Changeup
The CC is similar to the Single Coronary Bypass burger I had in Atlanta at Vortex Bar. Grilled cheese sandwiches are used as the top and bottom buns. We've seen grilled cheese sandwiches, donuts, waffles, and deep fried chicken breasts as buns. Somebody wants to employ lasagnas as buns, that will impress me, lemme tell you.
Peoria (Seattle Mariners/San Diego Padres) - Ruthian Foot Long
"Ruthian" refers to Babe Ruth, the first great home run hitter and still probably the greatest player that ever lived. Babe was known to buy several hot dogs from vendors during games and eat them while waiting to bat. At that time, this was an unheard of display of gluttony and lack of impulse control. However, outside of his mammoth home runs, this is probably what most baseball fans remember the most about the great Babe Ruth, and this gargantuan tube of meat is named in his honor. U-S-A!
Mesa (Chicago Cubs) - Hot Cheetos Cheesesteak
Apparently, this was not invented by the psychos in Mesa. The Hot Cheetos cheesesteak is a California thing. We've discussed Italian beefs, French dips and cheesesteaks on FoodTribe before, but today we need to address The Stance. This isn't a baseball thing, per se. This is the posture required while eating a juicy, messy sangwish like this. Only a daredevil or a ne'er do well would eat this sandwich standing erect.
First, you must stand a good 18 inches (45 cm) from the lip of the countertop. This may vary depending on your height and weight. You must be able to rest your elbows on the counter without toppling over. Bend from the waist, making sure your chin is right above the lip of the counter. Yes, it is undignified, but so is wearing hot Cheeto and Cheese-Whiz on the front of your shirt during a warm sunny Arizona afternoon.
Tempe (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim California USA) - World's Best Corndogs
It's hard to tell that this deep fried torpedo is over a foot long not including the stick. Although you will never catch me putting ketchup on a hot dog and I will vehemently deny ever having done so, I am just as adamant that a corn dog does need both ketchup and mustard, the zigzag criss-cross method working as well as any.
To conclude, one of the charming aspects of Spring Training baseball games is the army of retirees that function as ushers, attendants, vendors, etc. In fact, working as a doddering old usher in Arizona is part of my retirement plan if God allows me to carry my bloated carcass that long. The problem is, if I fill up with cheesesteaks and corn dogs and need assistance to get out of my seat and up the ramp, none of those fogies are going to be able to manage it. Fortunately, most facilities have a grass area general admission, festival style seating behind the outfield fence. When I want to leave, all I have to do is roll down the hill to the walkway.
Have you ever been to Spring Training in the Southern US? Let us know: