· 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.