Ballpark Food


· Ballpark Food, Joe Sez · , ,


The Cubs are in San Francisco for the start of a 3 game series with the halloweenies. Given that english is now a second language in California, this probably won’t be necessary, but I’d like to point out right now that Arrieta is Spanish for “no hitter.”

San Francisco’s AT&T ball park — home of the Giants — is where Mr Arrieta will be notching his 8th win tonight. I hate to admit this, but I have a soft spot for the Orange and Black. It’s cuz they so dutifully rolled over for our broom last August, almost single-handedly ensuring the Cubs’ spot in the playoffs. Mind you, this soft spot is very tiny … and it’s not located in my heart, like most soft spots. It can be found on the caboose of my digestive tract, my friend, which always makes me think about Barry Bonds, and is why I’ll never forget who’s soft spot it is.

Excuse me while I meander back over to my original subject — AT&T ball park. I’ve been there a dozen times or so over the years. Meh. You’ll hear people from the Bay Area talkin’ about it like it’s a friggin’ holy shrine to baseball, cuz it supposedly has characteristics of the pre-Astrodome era. Personally, I’d say that if Wrigley is the Friendly Confines, then AT&T is the Hair Salon. It’s all a little to polished and schmick — not that it doesn’t get properly trashed during a game — but it’s missing whatever it is that Wrigley and Fenway have that make you feel like you’ve gone back far enough in time that baseball is still a game. Before free agency. Before ball girls and designated hitters. Before $14 beers, and idiotic mascots, and obnoxious music blarin’ so loud it almost breaks my ear drums. And certainly before Rob Womanfred’s nad-clipping 2nd base slide rule. AT&T sits squarely in the middle of “right now.” It’s a ball park. Nothin’ more, nothin’ less. Where it’s got it over Wrigley, though — and you have no idea how nasty these words taste in my mouth — is the 3 World Series Championships that have been hosted there. Credit where credit is due, pal. Still, the steroid inflated cheat, Barry Bonds played there, which in my mind sorta cancels that out.

They also serve lattés at AT&T. This, my friend, is like servin’ caviar and champaign at the rodeo. I mean you’re there to watch a friggin’ baseball game, not the Yves Saint Laurent fall collection at Fashion Week. This is not to say they don’t put out some damn fine, artery-chokin’ ball park junk food at AT&T. They do. My personal fav; a Sheboygan brat from Doggie Diner on the Promenade level. I recommend takin’ it to where they serve that melted cheese crap, slippin’ a fiver to the staff, and having ’em drown the brat in it. You may have to go to 2 or 3 until you find someone who wants to play ball, but it’s damn well worth it.

Anyway, it’d be real nice of the Giants to do an encore performance of last season’s August series. Might have to write a thank you note to Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and the rest of those yay-hoos over there if they do. Better yet, I could send ’em a gift certificate to somethin’ like Hot Dougs or Pizzaria Uno, so — with all due respect to everyone who thinks San Francisco is foodie central — they can find out what real food tastes like.



· Ballpark Food, Joe Sez · ,


Dirty Harry Callahan was from San Francisco, not Chicago, which means that he was probably rooting for the wrong team. I cut him a wide birth on that one, though, cuz in those days the Giants had Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Bobby Bonds and both Willies (Mays and McCovey). Sheesh … I mean how could you not root for that lineup? Anyway, Callahan may have been from that fogged-in, hippie-infested (it was the 70s, pal), crime-ridden city, but knew EXACTLY how to eat a hot dog: No friggin’ catchup!

I bring this up because some of you — and you know who you are — obviously were not paying attention to the Cheap Seats dining rules I posted a couple of days ago. Hey … you can do what you want, pal, but if Charlie Trotter was still around and saw you smothering an encased meat product with catchup, he send you to the moon, Alice.



· Ballpark Food, Joe Sez · , ,


Hey there, rice cakes. Joe Schlombowski, super Cubs fan here, with a little dietary supplement you ain’t gonna find on the Food Network.

Let me say first off that outside of the official Major League Rule Book (which ain’t perfect, cuz it includes Rule 6.10 — look it up, Tin Roof) I’m not real big on rules. I’m more of a “guideline” kinda guy. Why? Cuz they’re practically the same damn thing, but guidelines are more forgiving. Like jeans with an elastic waste band.

Which brings me to the subject at hand: The Cubs are home; back in town sporting a 6-1 record, by the way. This means a lot of you will be heading to the yard, not just to see Maddon’s Mob, but to enjoy the smorgasboard of lip-smackin, finger-lickin, coronary-inducing delights that are a requisite part of going to a ball game. So you don’t embarrass yourself, I give you Joe Schlombowski’s unofficial guidelines for dining in the Cheap Seats — as if anything is actually cheap at Wrigley anymore. (Another subject.) I gotta warn you that these have not been approved by the FDA, nor are they recognized by the American Heart Association. (Hey, sorry about that 3rd person thing I did back there, but it just seemed to make sense in that spot. In general, though, it’s obnoxious. Like A-Rod.) Alright, here you go:


1.01 – DON’T DRINK TOO MUCH. People who drink too much act obnoxious and stupid. If I wanted to be around people like that I’d go to a White Sox game. But by all means, have an Old Style or two. Just don’t do it every inning, like I see some idiots do. Besides, if I want my kids to know what an asshole is (along with some of those other words drunks use) I’ll tell ‘em about Barry Bonds.

1.02 – IF SOMETHING COMES WITH THAT MELTED CHEESE CRAP, GET IT. That’s the whole point of melted cheese crap. It’s a cheesy, gooey, yellow dye number 14, lip-smackin, finger-lickin accessory that you can’t order all by itself. Believe me, if you could, I’d bathe in it. So pour it on. Have ‘em make a cheese tsunami out of your nachos. Bury the whole thing. Devour. Repeat.

1.03 – IF IT DOESN’T COME WITH THE CHEESE CRAP, ASK FOR IT ANYWAY. Always ask for the melted cheese crap on your brat, dog or polish, too. Whatever you’re getting. They will probably say “no.” But if they say “yes,” you, my friend, will experience the only epicurean delight equal to or greater than a real live Pamela Anderson lollipop.

1.04 – WIPE YOUR FACE. With a napkin. You want any chance at all with those babes two rows in front of you, you can’t look or act like a slob.

1.05 – DO NOT HAVE A SNACK BEFORE THE GAME. Some people wanna control their appetite at the park, so they eat something before they leave home. Avoid this. The whole point of going to a ball game is to eat unhealthy food, and lots of it. I mean, you could sit at home and catch the game on TV and snack on carrots all you want. But don’t bring that attitude to the ballpark. It can only hurt the team.

1.06 – UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EXERCISE ON GAME DAY. The physiological effects on your system could interfere with your appetite in a negative way. This could lead to skipping the ice cream drumstick or only having 3 or 4 brats. Unless the Cubs are winning (and, c’mon, that’s a friggin’ crap shoot) there’s nothing like a cafeteria tray of Chicago dogs to keep you in good spirits. (Also see 1.02 and 1.03 above.)


1.08 – IF YOU SEE STEVE BARTMAN LURKING IN THE SHADOWS, it’s your duty to chuck your food at him no matter how long you stood in line to get it. You can always get another Barry Foote or Joe Wallis from Hot Dougs, but there’s only one Steve Bartman. If you can’t make that sacrifice for the team, you don’t belong in the Friendly Confines, pal, let alone Joe’s Bleachers. And … when I say “chuck,” I’m talkin’ Aroldis Chapman, not Tim Wakefield.

1.09 – TIP THE HAWKERS. Yeah, I know it’s already expensive. Cry me a friggin’ river. Those guys are marching up and down the aisles all day long, bringing you whatever you want while your butt sits comfortably on the world’s finest green plastic. A little something extra would be nice. In other words, act like you’re from Chicago, not the Bronx.

1.10 – YOU SHOULD FEEL SICK BEFORE THE END OF THE GAME. If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the ballpark, either the Cubs won or you haven’t been paying attention. If it’s the latter, re-read these guidelines before you go to your next home game, pal.

I’d like to suggest that you print this out and proudly display it on your refrigerator, like it’s one of your kids’ class projects. Then memorize, internalize and utilize. And remember: always ask for the cheese crap.