'Sweet Spot' With Mike Sugerman: A Taste Of Baseball At The MLB FoodFest

April 26, 2018 - 8:24 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- When you go to a Major League Baseball game, the batter isn’t only at home plate.

It could be on your plate watching the Texas Rangers if you eat the chicken and donut sandwich. Indeed, it gives a whole new meaning to batter up.

It's all part of  a big change in Major League Baseball. You can just taste it.

“It’s not just your peanuts, popcorn, or Cracker Jacks anymore,” said MLB Senior Vice President of Marketing Barbara McHugh.

It’s not really news to anyone who’s been to a ballgame recently. But to highlight the latest in ballpark cuisine, Major League Baseball recently held the first ever FoodFest in Manhattan.

WCBS 880's Mike Sugerman was lucky enough to go himself.

“We decided to bring all these different options under one roof,” McHugh said.

There were 30 signature menu items from all 30 ballparks.

“Got to go with the lobster roll from Boston,” one fan said.

“I have the pierogi and pulled pork from the Pittsburgh Pirates,” was another choice.

“I’ve had the reuben over there from St. Louis. It was delicious,” said a third.

Those were the hits. There was stuff that might give one the runs, such as, maybe, tri-tip steak nachos from San Diego.

And there were some errors.

Toasted grasshoppers? That was the offering from the Seattle Mariners.

“Gross, nasty, don’t need them,” John Valasco from Brooklyn said, as he spit them out.

Sugerman thought they were OK – crunchy, but way too salty and spicy. They are a hit at the ballpark, though – selling out every game.

The Yankees’ offering was the Adobo Bao – a bun with chicken and pork rinds. For the Mets, it was a New York deli pastrami sandwich with mustard on rye bread.

The 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs had a Chicago dog – a beef hot dog served in a poppyseed bun with mustard, tomatoes, onions, neon green relish, sport peppers, and a dill pickle spear – and absolutely, positively no ketchup. Across town, the Chicago White Sox offered up a South Side Horseshoe – an open-face sandwich of Italian sausage, fries, and cheddar sauce on Texas toast.

For the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros, it was the chicken waffle cone – popcorn chicken, mashed potatoes and honey mustard in a cone.

If you want to check out the full menu that visitors got to try out, here's a copy courtesy of Time Out New York.

Concessions make up half a billion dollars in revenue for Major League Baseball and growing. The new concoctions help bring new fans to the game.

Said McHugh: “I think there’s a combination of things that are bringing fans into the ball park today – things that range from foot items to different theme events that we have at the ball park. Food is definitely one of those items.”

It’s food for thought, and a whole new ball game, giving new fans a different appetite to buy tickets.