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Mudville: June 16, 2021 10:17 pm PDT
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Revenge of the Trop

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” ―Yogi Berra

We’ve been here before, sure, but prepare yourself because we will be here again. I live close enough to the Trop to make the trek anytime the Yankees are in town or anyone else worth seeing. I’d come out here to catch Juan Soto, Bryce Harper or a visiting Padres team in a heartbeat. Who wouldn’t?

Sure, I’m a Yankees fan at the end of the day, but first and foremost I LOVE BASEBALL. All baseball. College baseball, Little League World Series Baseball and when we didn’t have anything else to watch it was baseball from Asia or Australia at 5am that provided entertainment and hope of a sport able to come back from a pandemic. I don’t have to like the poorly lit circus tent on the edge of paradise and covered in ugly, outdated signage.

We get it, you like baseball. Baseball and food. That’s you.

This is me. It’s who I am nowadays and more importantly, what I enjoy. On the 10-year anniversary of losing my father, baseball continues to give me gifts I never knew I needed. My Dad loved the Yankees too, but he would be just as happy watching kids play in the Arizona Fall League every October out in Arizona where he retired and relaxed his last couple of years.

I think he’d be proud of me and what I’ve done with my life and of course what I’m doing to carve my niche in the baseball world. He’d have probably been on “Behind the Dish” a few times and definitely been my biggest supporter and critic. That’s who he was and that’s who I’ve always tried to be. Like my father, baseball has always given me things. Friendships with people I probably would never have met, like Chris and Jose, both amazing people.

The Korean hot dog with kimchi and crispy garlic.

Food no sane person who ever consider eating (cotton candy and nerds dog rings a bell here) and trips to places I probably wouldn’t have too much of a reason to visit, like Houston. Blech.

When I was a kid, my Dad had this old 8-track stereo in the garage and we would do yard work listening to Phil Rizzuto shout, “Holy Cow” for home runs and game-ending pitches. Later, when I went to college in North Carolina I could pick up 880 AM on my radio and listen to John Sterling from my college apartment through the static while studying really hard and doing homework (probably). Baseball is the great uniter, and it seems like every game I attend I have the pleasure of meeting a friend, a fan or a random person who asks, “Aren’t you the hot dog guy?”

That’s you!

This is me. Someone who is forever looking for the next stadium, hot dog or small business owner just trying to make it in the world. Someone who uses this pure sport to escape the travel and busy schedule I pull when I’m out in front of the dish, the guy with a super supportive wife who tolerates the tickets, t-shirts, tacos and $23 milk shakes for the love of the views.

The editor in chief who keeps me motivated to make the next episode better than the last. The friend who now edits the videos every week and pushes me to make better content. This week is going to be fun. I am flying to Texas to take in the new stadium in Arlington and meet up with “El Jefe” Chris Vitali for the first time. There is going to be some malarkey, that’s for sure. In the meantime….

#staytuned #stayhungry #thefoodguy

The Lobster Roll. No Devil Rays were harmed in the making of this product.

Tropicana Field: 1 Tropicana Dr. St. Petersburg, FL 33704

Rating: The Babe Buffet Everything you need and a bunch of things you didn’t. We’ve been here twice now and have tried SIX different venues for food and we aren’t done yet. We will be back as we still haven’t tried all the amazing offerings.

Major League Teams: The Tampa Bay Rays – Since 1998

Minor League Teams: Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburg Pirates) Dunedin Blue Jays (Blue Jays) and Tampa Tarpons (NY Yankees)

Other Baseball: Sadly, unless you drive to Miami after Spring Training, this is it for MLB teams in Florida. Maybe an expansion team would be helpful in Orlando or Jacksonville when MLB expands.

The “Stadium Food Scale” for ballparks in 2021 (from worst to first):

  • Dumpster Fire – On the menu or in the bowl- this shit stinks.
  • School Fair – Everything is greasy, everything is fried — Limited options.
  • The “Take me Out” – Traditional food, but nothing special.
  • Fancy Pants – Sushi, Steaks and monocle wearing worthy menu options. Fancy.
  • The Babe Buffet — Everything you need and a bunch of things you didn’t. This is the end all be all of stadium food. Limitless options and so much food, even George Herman Ruth would tap out.

Father, husband, runner, and food guy. Baseball traveler, stadium food connoisseur, and podcast fill-in. Just here for the hot dogs.

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