Baseball has long been recognized as America’s Pastime. It also has another lesser-known, not-quite-official title: America’s Snacktime. But the stadium isn’t the only place to sample the pure wizardry found on today’s ballpark menus. A home baseball party is the perfect opportunity to serve up screwball food combinations. So check out our handpicked selections of fan-fattening monstrosities, get your resident seamhead a team-themed gift and prepare to become a hosting all-star.
Fresh out of the Half-baked Hall of Fame
While the players still adhere to time-honored traditions and the game still revolves around the rules Abner Doubleday drafted in 1839, what happens at the concession stand has become more unpredictable and life-threatening than a bench-clearing brawl.
When Dodger Dogs and Fenway Franks don’t put butts in the seats like they used to, minor-league ingenuity gets called up and ballpark grillers get gimmicky. They rethink the staples and meld the menu to bring inconceivable concoctions to life. They’re sweet, salty, juicy, flaky, chewy and crunchy—all at the same time, in some cases.
After recovering from a completely worthwhile angioplasty, we put together a list of our favorite calorie-laden delicacies from a handful of venerable venues across the major leagues. They may inspire you. They may make you throw up a little. They’ll definitely make the next baseball party you throw for your biggest fans anything but boring.
Swig for the fences
In the profound words of stadium vendors everywhere, “Beer here!” It’s the cornerstone of every baseball gathering, Little League excluded. Brews and baseball go together like Hank Aaron and home runs. The safe play is filling up everyone’s pints with a quality craft beer, and not charging them $14 a pop. However, to sweeten the deal, try adding a twist to the drink selection with this Brewsky Sangria. And because we specialize in gifts for men, we recommend serving up frothy adult beverages in these officially licensed team pilsner glasses to rep the team—and to remind any casual fans in attendance which logo to root for. Want to make the next watch party legendary? Get your old-timey fan the ultimate baseball gift with the Cooperstown Collection of pint glasses in our Legends of Baseball Crate and harken back to the era when guys had nicknames like Yogi, Dizzy and Three Finger.
Peanuts and Cracker Jack and then some
Q: What do you get when you combine Cracker Jack, mac and cheese and a hot dog?
A: A work of art known around Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as the Cracker Jack and Mac Dog. It’s a three-headed monster brought to life in the Three Rivers neighborhood.
Need a side dish for that? Treat guests to a plate of San Francisco Giants’ world famous Garlic Fries. Then treat them to shots of Listerine.
Throw ‘em a burger curveball
The mad scientists working behind the counter for the Atlanta Braves have another killer combo that makes too much sense. It’s called the Burger-izza, the ultimate compromise for noncommittal fans who are torn between ordering a burger and a pizza. Problem solved. You have to be brave, indeed, to handle this list of ingredients: two eight-inch pepperoni pizzas, a two-pound hamburger patty, five slices of cheddar cheese, five more slices of bacon and one serious case of heartburn. Want to take a few miles an hour off that fastball of a feast? Go for this mile-high meat pile known as the Rocky Mountain Pastrami Burger.
Chicken is another ballpark meat that’s fair game for experimentation. Since things typically taste better when skewered, the evil geniuses at the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park have staked their reputation on the Chicken and Donut Skewer. It’s 12 inches of alternating fried chicken pieces and donut holes, drizzled with buffalo honey sauce, of course. Batter up. Heading north of the border, the Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre dishes out this recipe for Big Smoke Jerk Chicken Nachos that’ll knock their Red or White Sox off.
Bring in the closer
Dessert is a whole other ballgame. Here’s where it gets gooey. At Chase Field, The Arizona Diamondbacks load the bases with their signature Churro Dog. They take a chocolate glazed donut, slice it in half, stick a cinnamon churro inside, scoop on some frozen yogurt and top it all off with chocolate and caramel sauce. The fro-yo keeps the calorie count capped at a very reasonable 1,117. Another way to give dessert a ballpark feel is to make this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Bars, wrap them in cellophane and chuck them to your guests from across the room, vendor style.
To browse more gifts baseball fans will do a bat flip for, check out our other gifts for men.