Major League Baseball released its list of stadium foods last Thursday, and we have only one question: who the hell let Guy Fieri design every ballpark food in America?
In their quest to push the boundaries of stadium food science, concession scientists have done the unspeakable. They were too busy figuring out whether they could that they never stopped to consider whether they should. Here is the nightmare fuel their mad science has wrought.
To start us off, the Pittsburgh Pirates have come up with something that is, horrifyingly, exactly what it sounds like: the Cracker Jack & Mac Hot Dog. Yes, that’s a hot dog topped with cracker jacks, mac and cheese, salted caramel sauce, and fried jalapenos on naan. First of all, Pirates, stop playing menu mad libs, and second, why would you do that to naan?!
This entry might seem an incredible monstrosity to those unfamiliar with Pittsburgh, but it’s not shocking if you know there’s nothing that can cure this city’s “nah, dump some moeeer shit dahn on ‘ere” culinary ethos. Pittsburgh people are genuinely perplexed when you criticize them for serving a “caesar salad” topped with feta, olives, red onions, and tomatoes. We’re amazed pierogis and french fries aren’t involved in this thing’s construction. Yinzers out here losing their touch, man.
Toronto Blue Jays
Baseball’s Great White North, meanwhile, is serving Chicken & Waffles On A Stick. It looks like it uses a chicken filling inside a waffle casing, which … oy.
The thing about chicken and waffles is it can be really good — if and ONLY if it’s prepared by someone who knows exactly what the hell they’re doing. If a white person ever threatens to make you chicken and waffles — and especially if they use the word “deconstructed” at any point in the conversation — punch them in the face.
This dish also comes with a maple sriracha drizzle, because it has to let you know it is both Canadian AND an insufferable hipster.
Arizona’s baseball team (yes, Arizona has a baseball team) has its own “original” entry to this garbage fire of a competition with the Cheeseburger Dog. It’s a hot dog made out of char-grilled hamburger chopped up and blended with bacon, green onion, and cheddar cheese. It is then breaded and deep fried and served on a bun with more bacon (because of course) and “secret sauce.”
This was gross enough when 7-11 came out with it years ago. Time has not improved it. This is like something Joe Arpaio would serve to prisoners, and if this wouldn’t get that fucker on trial at the Hague, we don’t know what would.
The Houston Astros are unveiling kettle chip nachos topped with jalapenos and nacho toppings. You might be wondering what exactly is so weird about this? Nothing, actually — other than the fact that they’re calling them “Irish Nachos,” for reasons we’re still trying to figure out. Is Ireland internationally reknowned for its jalapenos? We are dubious.
Kansas City Royals
Last year’s World Series winners (we know; we had forgotten already, too) have their own contribution to this horror show: the Champions Alley Dog (and Burger), a hot dog wrapped in bacon and tempura fried, then topped with sweet slaw and chipotle ketchup on a pretzel bun.
You might be thinking, “That’s so crazy it might just work!” Don’t fall for it, though. Oh sure, it could theoretically work, were it not for the abject lie that is the words “bacon-wrapped.”
“Bacon-wrapped” is the most devious hyphenated adjective in the English language. “But Bacon is delicious!” you say. “And wrapping things in other things is also a more of which I approve!” As do we, friends, as do we.
You know what’s not fun, though? That the very nature of a bacon-wrapped construct means the outside will be your standard savory, nitrate-laden deliciousness, but the treacherous inside will remain a wet, floppy gristlegasm. If there’s a way to effectively cook bacon as a protein sheathe, we’ve never seen it, and we sure as hell wouldn’t trust a concession stand to finally uncover the ancient secret of Baconmandias.
HAHAHAHAHA, just kidding, the Nationals continue to not do anything interesting with stadium food, or stadium design, or stadium anything, ever, in any way. “HEY IF WE SAY THE WORDS ‘BEN’S CHILI BOWL’ ENOUGH TIMES, MAYBE IT’LL DISTRACT PEOPLE FROM REALIZING WE HAVE THE SHITTIEST BALLPARK IN AMERICA! AND LET’S ADD A RACING WARREN G. HARDING, THAT’LL KEEP THEM OCCUPIED!” Although maybe this lack of ambition is a good thing; the one time the team actually decided to flex its creative muscles, the end result was the most horrifying statue in the history of mankind, so maybe they should stick to blandness.
Why the hell do I root for this fucking team, again?
No team is pushing the boundaries of sanity and good taste further than Atlanta — which is fitting, considering this is the team that once employed John Rocker. Also, no team more desperately needs to distract from its product on the field than Atlanta. (Philly doesn’t count, because Philly fans are going to be too busy assaulting blind grandmothers to notice the stadium’s culinary offerings anyway.)
ANYHOW, Atlanta is breaking down barriers with not one, not two, not three, but four examples of unconscionable food war crimes. Let’s rip this Band-Aid off:
This is called the T.E.D. — The Everything Dog. We honestly never thought we’d encounter a Ted we instantly loathed more than Ted Cruz, but life is full of surprises. It’s allegedly a footlong hot dog (which makes us very confused by the image on the right, which is a foot-long in the same way Donald Trump’s hands are normal-sized) layered with fries, chili, nacho chips, beer cheese, jalapenos, and popcorn, topped with coca-cola infused BBQ sauce and served in a pretzel bun. This is less a food dish than what happens when concession workers dare each other to scrape out a stadium trash can and eat whatever they come up with.
This thing is called the Tater Tot Chop. You read that right: that’s not a waffle, it’s potatoes crammed into a waffle iron and ultimately topped with bacon, jalapenos, melted cheese, more tator tots (because sure, why not?), and coca-cola-infused ketchup. According to Fox Sports, their taste-tester called it “freaking awesome,” probably in the same way hostages reading a list of demands always say they’re being well-treated.
Then there’s The Punisher. Yes, they named a food item after an act of retribution. We’re just going to let Fox Sports describe this one:
Country-fried smoked rib meat slathered in Monster energy drink-infused BBQ sauce, topped with an onion ring and “slawsa” (think coleslaw and salsa), all in a toasted Hawaiian bun and pinned in place with two pieces of candied bacon. As one chef noted “It’s only 400 calories … per bite.”
It’s country-fried AND smoked. It’s a dessert topping AND a floor wax! Also, there are more A’s in that picture than in the entire Georgia public school system.
Unbelievably, The Punisher is not the most batshit insane/horrifying thing the Braves are serving up to unsuspecting fans this year. That honor goes to the Burgerizza. It’s a bacon cheeseburger served between two eight-inch pepperoni pizzas. This is a thing to which humanity has now somehow willingly given birth.
It’s the drunk college student version of KFC’s Double Down, which was already the drunk college student’s version of anything resembling moral decency. It looks like a culinary modern art project designed as a poignant commentary on the nature of social decay. It is the best argument possible for burning Atlanta down again.
As far as we can tell, that’s the list. We would say we can’t see how we’re topping these, but we’ve said that so many times only to be proven tragically, terrifyingly wrong that we’d prefer not to further tempt fate.
Pray for us all.