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I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Play Ball!

© 2014 Chris Terrell
Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. And here in Alabama—with highs recently in the mid 80s—summer has certainly arrived. And along with the return of warmer weather comes the start of baseball season. 

This past Saturday night, I watched the Birmingham Barons take on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. (The Barons won 2-1 in a stunner in the bottom of the 9th.) The Barons play at Regions Field, a new downtown ballpark with a great view of the city. The night was perfect for a late spring ball game. The sky was clear—which was nice considering it had been overcast and rainy earlier in the day—with the temperature in the low 70s and a slight, cool breeze. 

Baseball’s relaxed, deliberate pace is a nice respite in today’s always-on world. It never demands your attention to the same extent as football or basketball. This is what makes baseball the most sociable of spectator sports. You can actually sit down, relax and have a real conversation with a real human being, yet never miss the essence of the game. 

Baseball also may be the most food-friendly sport. Baseball’s pace makes it easy to eat and drink—two other great social endeavors.

© 2014 Chris Terrell
So what food goes well with baseball? (We all know what drink goes well with baseball: beer! Just like there’s no crying in baseball, there ain’t no white zinfandel either!) I would argue that the hot dog is the quintessential baseball food. Watching a baseball game without a hot dog and an ice cold beer just wouldn’t be baseball. Another great baseball food, and perhaps the simplest, are roasted peanuts. And of course, one cannot forget about Cracker Jack.

Over the years, other food items have been added to the baseball culinary firmament, especially ones that reflect the local cuisine. For example, here at Regions field, you can get the Magic City Dog (barbecue sausage with coleslaw, sauce, and spicy mustard). At AT&T Park, where the Giants play, they have wine carts that sell California wine and Ghirardelli  chocolate. At Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, you can find crab cakes and crab soup. During a Marlins home game in Miami you can grab a Cuban sandwich. And finally, if you are going to watch the Colorado Rockies play, you can munch on some fried Rocky Mountain oysters (a/k/a bull testicles).

The list goes on and on. These days, major league ballparks seem to be in some kind of gastronomic arms race—each trying to out do the other in the variety and “gourmet-ness” of the dishes offered. But for me, nothing beats a simple hot dog on a warm spring night, peanut shells piling up at your feet, and the crack of a baseball bat. 

Ground zero of the Republic my friend.

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