Just recently the minor league baseball website, milb.com, hosted a “Food Fight” between all the stadiums in the minor leagues. This rumble featured items like the BBQ Sundae, the Nuke Dog, and our very own Homeplate Burger. Watching this little competition the last couple weeks got me thinking. To those of you that don’t know me on a more personal level, I’m a Chef by profession. I have made food my life and source of passions. I am a former Food Service Director for a Multi-Million dollar assisted living facility. So, naturally this caught my attention. I decided to do a food review of my own in regards to the stadium concessions.
Greensboro Grasshopper’s 1/2 lb Homeplate Burger
To start with… where is Patrick Taylor and why is he not popping at the ballpark? He became a staple at the park. You had Guilford, Spaz, and Taylormade Kettle Corn. You have kettle corn in the ballpark, but it just isn’t the same. If you just want popcorn its there. But if you want to support a local business that happens to be a supperb guy, Taylormade was the way to go. I would be all for a rally to speak to Donald Moore about renegotiating his contract out there. He seems to have sacrificed quality for profit. And the new kettle corn people are cheaper, but as in most things, you get what you pay for. Until Pat is back in the ballpark serving up good quality corn, I say skip the kettle corn for now.
Pita Delite is in the ballpark now. Okay, let me clarify that. Pita Delite has two items on a concessions stand window. You have the Chicken Salad Pita and a Steak and Cheese Pita. I was skeptical at first, however the steak and cheese was very refreshing. It was also nice to add a little variety to the mix, not just another ordinary hot dog at the ballpark.
The BEST VALUE IN THE BALLPARK this season is probably the Grasshopper Dogs. The stadium guys pick out one hot dog to showcase and feature during each home stand. The Grasshopper Dog is my personal favorite. This monster of a dog reminds me of my trip to Charleston last year to cover the All Star Game for you guys. Charleston had 86 different types of hot dogs and ingredients for your dogs. The Grasshopper Dog boast a large bun, a mound of slaw, squirts of mustard, stadium sauce, and baked beans all piled high on a gorgeous made hot dog bun. Bring your bib, this one’s messy, you won’t need a napkin because this one is finger licking good!
I spoke to Derek Hart just recently. He’s the warehouse manager at the stadium. His favorite concessions are the Giacammos sausages and the walking taco. I have had niether of those. I’ll have to try them my next trip out to the ballpark.
One thing I would like to see out at the stadium more is better support of the local businesses. The cost to advertise is so high that you weed out all the local guys and end up with a corporate ballpark. Taylormade Kettle Corn, here in greensboro, was dropped and a food distributor from Michigan is offering Kettle Corn with their Sno-Cones instead. Jets Pizza “k zone” is now corporately sponsored by Papa Johns. Jets Pizza is located off New Garden Road less than 5 miles from the stadium.
Like a fine wine, the concessions only enhance the dinner portion of the evening, which is baseball. If you find yourself at a Grasshopper game this week, try a Grasshopper Dog. Let us know what you think. Whether its a cheese steak in your hand or a nice cold beer on a hot summer day, ITS A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
Note: We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment letting us know your favorite snacks at the ballpark. Or perhaps your least favorite?
Tonight’s Greensboro Grasshoppers game against the West Virginia Power was a true joy to attend on many fronts. Obviously, a Hoppers victory is always a pleasure. I also spent the evening at the game with Donald, one of my good friends. Finally, it was a huge day for adding to my autograph collection. The Hoppers won, 3-1. Check out the official box score and game recap for the details, but I think Twitter user @CBinder513 said it best:
Seriously, it was that exciting. You don’t usually expect decisive gameplay from the bottom of your lineup, but tonight, the Hoppers delivered. When the Power put a run on the board in the sixth inning, Joe Bonadonna responded by blasting a solo home run high over left field. At first, I thought it had drifted foul, but it was ruled fair. Especially since Joe doesn’t get as much playing time as his teammates, it was great to see him hit that homer. The official score had him going 1-2, but I scored his plate appearance in the fourth as a sacrifice bunt, so I had him 1-1. I don’t disagree with the official scorer, though. Then, with the score tied at 1 apiece, Noah Perio replaced Bonadonna in the eighth and hit a home run of his own, very high over right-center field. Isaac Galloway had just reached on a double, so Perio’s homer brought him in as well. It was pretty awesome. After last night’s loss, it was great to come back and get a solid win.
I’ve got a few pictures with highlights from the game, and a bunch of pictures on the Facebook photo album.
FIrst, let’s celebrate the promotion of the night by checking out Spaz, Mike, and Laura in their disco attire:
I totally want a big black fuzzy hat like Spaz has.
How about our starting pitcher, Zach Neal? I think this was his 2nd start after coming off the disabled list. He lasted three and two-third innings, allowed two hits, issued three walks, and one strike-out. I think it was a pretty good start for him. Here he is pitching:
Zach was replaced by Greg Nappo (whose autograph I got at Monday’s game), who pitched three and a third innings and delivered an impressive seven strikeouts. Four of those Ks were in a row — batters 2-5 that he faced. He allowed four hits, the only run, and issued just one walk. I was very impressed and hope that I get to see him pitch again before the season’s over. Here’s a picture of Greg pitching:
Finally, here’s a picture of Joe Bonadonna coming home after hitting his solo homer:
Earlier, I mentioned it was a great night for me for autographs. Let me show them to you. First, there were my baseball cards. I got Power’s pitcher Jameson Taillon‘s autographed on the two cards out of the SAL All-Star sets I have. I also got Hoppers Manager Andy Haines’ autograph on his card. Andy was especially kind to come back to the tunnel to sign my card before the game after having to do some actual baseball-related work just before they introduced the umpires.
I also got a couple of baseballs autographed. Jameson Taillon and one of my favorite Hoppers, Mark Canha. I’m going to miss Mark’s walk-up music next year — he always comes to the plate to Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”
Lastly, I got yet another Jameson Taillon autograph. This one is particularly special, because it’s on a photograph that another fan, Pete, took at last night’s game:
Seriously, this photograph is totally awesome, super-boss, and just plain cool. My scan came out OK, but the actual print is killer. I’ll be getting a frame for this and adding it to the baseball mini-museum I’ve started curating in an empty cube at my office. (I’ll write a post about that in the off season….) Super-big thanks go out to Pete for giving me a copy of this picture so I can add it to my autograph collection. Looking through some of the pictures he’s taken this year, I know exactly what’s going on my birthday/Christmas wish list this year: a nice telephoto lens suitable for sports photography. I had never considered taking pictures at the game, printing them out, and then bringing them to the next game for autographs. It’s super cool.
So, why all the focus on autographs from a West Virginia Power pitcher? Yeah, I’m the Hoppers Fan, but I also enjoy good baseball, and Taillon is a player to watch. He was last year’s number two overall draft pick (second to Bryce Harper). He’s got a fastball that flirts with 100mph. He’s got a nice curveball. And he’s just 19. He’s definitely got a major league career ahead of him. It was exciting to watch him work last night. And he was very gracious to autograph-seeking fans like me tonight.
To top all of that off, I got to hang with my buddy Donald for the whole game. He even bought me a hot dog and a drink. Even more — he grabbed a foul ball tonight that bounced off the upper deck and headed back our way. As soon as he picked it up, he handed it to the kid in the row in front of us. Made that kid’s day. I’m not sure a better evening of baseball could be had.
Here’s how I had the game scored. Check out the action that Bonadonna and Perio delivered in the sixth and eighth innings.
Remember, you can click on any of the pictures in the post to embiggen them. Check out the photo album on Facebook for all the pictures. Join the conversation by leaving a comment — what are you thinking?
Tonight, I got to see a game and a half of baseball. Since yesterday’s game was suspended, they finished it up today before playing today’s (shortened to 7 innings) game. My wife and I got to the park at 5:30, just as the suspended game was resuming. We settled in to watch that game in the sun on the concourse in right field since it was fairly chilly. It was neat to see that, from a playing and scoring perspective, they really did just pick up right where they left off yesterday, in the top of the 5th. They went ahead and finished out a full nine innings. Augusta won 7-3. The Hoppers scored all three of their runs in the 6th inning and were fairly unimpressive the rest of the game, with the exception of turning a nice double play in the 7th.
After finishing yesterday’s game, they took about a 30 minute break to reset the field for tonight’s game. Even after all the rain we had yesterday, they needed to wet down the filed again today:
For the 2nd game, we settled into our assigned seats in Section 104. Before getting to details of the game, here’s the important scoring information I’m sure everyone is waiting for: “Hot Sausage” won the race in one of the between-inning activities and “Red” won the Sumo Wrestling match in one of the other activities. I’ll try to keep track of who wins these competitions for the rest of the season, if I remember. Spaz did a great job keeping the between-energy pretty high. He’s pictured on the left leading everyone in the YMCA dance.
The 2nd game was pretty enjoyable, until the 7th inning, when Augusta scored 3 points and moved to a 4-1 lead. When the Hoppers took the 7th inning, they were greeted by relief pitcher Jason Jarvis (32), who I was really beginning to like — he kept throwing balls. The Hoppers managed to score another run, for which I also credit Jarvis. He threw a ball that hit 3rd baseman Taylor Krick, who then stole second base. Krick made it to third off of Chad Cregar’s hit, and then was able to make it home on what I think was either a passed ball or wild pitch. Unfortunately, that was the only run the Hoppers scored in that inning, so they ended up losing 5-2.
Here are my scoresheets (click to enbiggen):
The relief pitcher for the Hoppers, Sandy Rosario (16), looked real good. He had a tough 7th inning, though. I’m going to keep my eye on him as they play him more this year.
Even though the Hoppers didn’t win, it was still a fun game. And, since it was Friday night, they had fireworks after the game!
All in all, it was a great night. There are a few more photos on Facebook. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and I’m hoping that the Hoppers can rally for a win.