April 7, 1998 Kevin and I ditched our Wednesday classes at Colorado State University to catch opening day at Coors Field. I don’t recall the opponent but I do remember sitting at the end of first baseline near the foul ball pole, nice nosebleed seats, chewing the fat, drinking beer and cheering the Rockies.
From this game forward I was hooked on “America’s Favorite Pastime” and Major League Baseball became my sport of choice to watch in person. It didn’t matter where I called home, I cheered for our home team. Starting in Colorado with the Rockies and finishing in Seattle and Ken Griffey Jr. Shortly after my stint in Seattle, I kept residence in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia where I followed Queensland Bandits. Next I went to Japan following the underdog team of Osaka the Kintetsu Bulls. Today, I call the stands of Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea home. And I cheer loud and proud when our hometown favorites LG Twins take the field. From Australia to America, I’ve watched hundreds of baseball games.
As the “boys of summer” around the world get ready for the 2011 Season, I’d like to share with you my all-time top five favorite things to eat at the ballgame.
Number 5: This delicacy has been kicking it around baseball games for nearly as long as baseball games have had rules. Ballpark Franks aka the hotdog. Every ballpark across the world sells its variation of the frankfurter stuck inside two halves of a fresh baked bun smothered in ketchup or mustard topped up with relish, chopped onions, cheese or jalapeños. The perfect match for youngsters and old-timers alike Ballpark Franks are made to order and don’t forget your napkins.
Number 4: Pure and simple. Roasted and salted, you cannot go wrong with a bag of Fresh Roasted Peanuts. Every stadium across every country allows fans to bring in peanuts. They are the perfect ballpark condiment. A bit nervous and you’ve got ’em to chew on. An ump makes an absurd call, spit’em out jer’mouth. And when the opposing teams fan lips off about a play or curses your favorite player, you can always throw a handful at him, too.
Number 3: Surviving sports day in this country means waking before sunrise to sip on Bundy and cola. A mandatory arrival at the ballpark two-hours before the first pitch to consume Four’N Twenty Meat Pies. When the parks are smaller, fans are more obnoxious and parties never end then you’ve found Australia.
Number 2: If you know who George Schneider is? Then you know your Beer trivia.
Nothing beats a cold beer on a warm summer afternoon but if you are in Denver, Colo., then head out before, during or after any game at Coors Field to enjoy one of the hundred Microbrewery concoctions for sale. From Avalanche Stouts at Breckenridge Brewing to Mile HIPA at Wynkoop Brewing, Colorado knows beer.
And the Number 1 on my list is… drum roll please…Peanut Buttered Roasted Squid pressed through a small machine and given to you in a paper bag to enjoy at your seat! Heated, Squid Bodies! Yep, I am not kidding, nor am I making this up. It’s my all time favorite ballpark snack: Squid and Peanut Butter mixed together and served piping hot at every Korean Baseball stadium from April to November for 3,000 won ($2.60).