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Mudville: June 16, 2021 11:05 pm PDT
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Globe Life Field

“Everything is bigger in Texas.”
―a reference to the enormity of the states geographical area.

They tell you when you’re a child not to talk to strangers. They imprint that into your development as you grow up and in life you are given this unnatural, untrusting opinion of people you don’t know.

It’s not your parents’ fault or any parents fault really, it’s just part of the weird domestication process we humans have done when raising our young. With the invention of the internet this challenge has become even greater as we now live in a world where we message a stranger and get in their personal vehicle when we need a ride to the airport.

We message a restaurant and let a stranger pick up our dinner and deliver it to out front door. A lot of my friends met their husbands and wives online through dating apps where you swipe images of strangers based off looks and likes and meet for date. “Stranger danger” is a thing of the past in the modern world.

Did you meet Sarah on one of those apps?

No. We met at Target. Pay attention, this is going somewhere.

Strangers are now just a part of life. Chris Vitali, EIC of BallNine was a stranger. He approached me online while I was writing for another site and asked me to join B9 as an original a little over a year ago. When I heard we were aiming to be (History, Humor and Hotdogs) it was a no brainer to join.

Jose was a stranger and now he’s helping edit episodes and made a couple of guest spots in Baltimore after his audition tape live from the bleachers in NYC. Chris C, who you’ll see in this episode is another friend who connected us through our love of the Yankees and has been an avid supporter of B9 and #thefoodguy. These are people are truly considered friends now along with the other awesome people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting throughout the county as I filmed over 60 episodes of “Behind the Dish” through the pandemic and now as baseball stadiums reopen.

The Boys are back in town.

So, without strangers I don’t know if I’d be writing this column for BallNine today or if I would have been in Texas to see the new ballpark and take on one of the greatest challenges #thefoodguy has ever had to overcome. This baby is borderline famous in the MLB ballpark community and if you’ve ever watched a Rangers broadcast you know that this is going to make TV multiple times throughout the game.

Michael Kay, Yankee’s broadcaster was obsessed with it. He spent a good portion of game one panning the crowd and keeping tabs on the progress of brave indulgers. This was great for business as it gave me the opportunity to drum up interest online prior to the game and really hype up #thefoodguy vs BOOM challenge that awaited me.

Did you finish it?

If you keep this up, I am going to BOOM stick you. I will tell you this, it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t easy and if I knew then what I know now I don’t think I would have attempted it. Named after ex-Ranger Nelson Cruz for his massive homeruns this hot dog weighs 3 lbs. and is over 2 feet long. It’s wrapped in a very doughy, brioche style bun and then topped with jalapenos, cheese, chili and sauteed onions. It comes in a cardboard suitcase with a handle. They give you 3 forks because they assume no sane person is going to eat this thing by themselves, but we know from past food vids- I AM NO SANE PERSON. So, I waited in a long line outside of section 143, the only place that sells this meat stick trophy, and settled in for a 3-inning ride that punished me back as hard as I punished it.

Meat sweats. Check. Borderline hallucinations. Check. A section of strangers cheering me on. Check. A very proud EIC. Check.

This week was special as it was the first time me and Vitali actually met in person even though we’ve been working together for over a year. He’s a great dude, funny as hell and he cheered me on through all the different levels of emotion and pain it takes to finish a 3 lb. meat stick. Enjoy this week. It was “The Peoples” episode and we kind of did this together although only my stomach paid the price.

Probably better off if you don't even ask.

Globe Life Field: 734 Stadium Dr. Arlington, TX

Rating: Unratable. We came for the BOOM stick and we crushed the BOOM stick! We will have to come back because there was so much more to explore food wise.

Major League Teams: Texas Rangers, Houston Astros

Minor League Teams: Frisco Rough Riders, Grand Prairie Air Hogs, Tarrant County Blue Thunder

Other Baseball: Old Rangers stadium is now the home to the XFL’s Dallas Renegades amongst other things like local tournaments for HS and college and USL Soccer.

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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