April 28, 2016
“You are what you eat”, the old saying that I am not sure what it means, if applied at a ball game then I am a hot dog. I am not sure what it implies but I do know that I enjoy hot dogs with sour kraut, mustard and onions about as much as a lobster dinner. I admit, I do have carnivorous tendencies, but have you ever had a tofu hot dog? When eating at sporting events, the majority of us forget about health choices and the actual benefit of the food we are ingesting into our bodies. When I am at home, I am fairly sure I would never eat a bowl of tortilla chips covered in hot steaming orange cheese sauce and jalapeno peppers but a ball game I would devour it like a lion and their prey.
You can go to most sporting events and find multiple choices in sausages when years before it was hot dogs as the only choice for meat stuffed into membrane. The old-time favorites of peanuts and popcorn are still available but now you can indulge in nachos, garlic fries, pizza, a bowl with any kind of ethnic food lumped into it, sushi and yes even a salad. The smell waffles through the stadium and even the strongest of health-conscious fans break down and have something to munch on. I have seen people eating salad at a game which goes against my rules for behavior at a ballgame, no salad during any sporting event or hanging around manly men.
Yes, ballgame food is indulgent, not a healthy choice in most cases, costs an arm and leg and is distracting from the contest itself. But we like it, we want it and will throw down ten dollars for beer and six dollars for a sausage. It is all about the experience of a live event that is best enjoyed while eating garlic fries. It is an extension of our living room with our big screen TV’s and our food. Why can’t we just watch the game without self-indulgence? Is it because the game is not really an enjoyable experience without a hot dog and by eating a hot dog completes the whole event. Could be. I think that the hot dog and game are one in the same. Without one you can’t have the other. We are trained early as fans by others that this is the way you act.
The food at sporting events has spawned many of spin off businesses. Take the chicken wing for instance. The once disrespected part of the chicken has become the most important part. There are probably over a thousand chicken joints catering to the wing craze. You can bet artificial wings are on the way. I can really see chickens in the future being genetically morphed or scientifically enhanced to have four wings to help alleviate wing shortages during the Super Bowl. In addition, I saw garlic fries now being offered in the frozen food section of the supermarket. I not sure if I would ever buy these but it is good to know I can fulfill that craving without having to go to the ballgame.
So, the trend that is now a reality, you cannot bring a picnic basket into a game. You can still bring your bag in without some food items but you will probably be sitting next to a guy wolfing down a colossal dog and beer and you will look at that guy and either say, “That smuck spent twenty bucks on that meal” or “damn, I wish I had twenty bucks to spend on that.” Sadly, the costs of this stuff are so inflated that it keeps some families from attending more games. I have yet to see a kid menu at the game nor a senior citizens discount. I understand that the quadrupling of concession prices helps keep the team on the field, but I still need to know why the workers only a get a small wage and the washed-up pitcher gets twenty million dollars a year. In my humble opinion, without the fans buying overpriced hot dogs the overpriced players wouldn’t be on the team. Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog but sometimes a hot dog is a meal ticket.