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Mudville: June 19, 2024 5:01 am PDT

Two Hands

“If the owners and players would follow their heart just a little bit more perhaps baseball fields, those sandlots, would not be so empty on perfect days. Baseball is more than the gambling money the two sides are fighting over this time around in the labor war.” ― Kevin Kernan

Offseason articles are always the hardest for me. Sure, I can tell you about hot dogs and cities, but are you reading? Did you watch the video, or did you come on over to B9 and have yourself a peek as well?

Check out some of the talented writers, podcasters, and artists currently contributing content on a weekly basis.

What about the Swag Shop?  We have B9 originals, we have BigFly Gear too. BallNine is getting bigger and better by the week regardless of the gates being locked in some 30 cities and the offseason chatter is quieter than a mouse pissing on cotton.

You see, no matter how long the lockout lasts or when the CBA gets hammered out – there will always be one constant in the offseason: hot dogs.

Did you just “Field of Dreams” your Segue?

Maybe. I’ve been inspired to create this episode. Inspired by the man I quoted, who has been kind enough to teach me how to get better any time I’ve asked since he joined the family. He’s also written some of the most amazing articles about the direction of MLB under Rob Manfred’s leadership.

Recently, he wrote one about Sandlot Baseball. Empty parks that were once filled with entire neighborhoods of kids, playing rag tag pick up games with whatever they could muster up as far as bats, balls and bases go. When I was a kid, we used to Clune Park, a neighborhood meeting spot for all things sports. I played baseball, football, tennis, tag and Lord know how many other games there growing up. The article stuck with me as I traveled around the country and had the pleasure of meeting some unseasonably warm weather along the way.

He was right. Michigan or Maryland. Florida or Phoenix. Alabama or Denver. Empty ball parks.

You went to all those places looking for baseball?

No. I went for work, but I noticed as I drove around and took my morning runs that Kevin was right. Monday afternoon, Sunday morning or Thursday night the fields were empty. Kids weren’t playing baseball anywhere. Kids were playing. Maybe I’m just getting old, and the world is changing. I didn’t have the same luxuries of today’s youth and if I did maybe I would have traded cul-de-sac stick ball for Super Mario XXVI and spent more time on my iPhone.

You would have.

You’re probably right, but not completely. I have kids and our kids earn time on their electronics by playing outside. It’s really on the parents – but I don’t want to open that box here. I worry about the ones I’m responsible for and mind my own business that your 4-year-old has a newer iPhone than me.

Anyways- this is about sandlots and hotdogs, not an offseason blog on parenting in the modern world. Let’s bring it home – Two Hands was everything I hoped it would be. It was unique – I can’t say I’ve ever had a cheese stick, wrapped in mini crispy potatoes and Cheetos flaming hot dust or a Korean Corn Dog that was spicy, yet insanely delicious. The spot is small- maybe 4 people can stand inside, and the line trails out the door on both sides.

“Ordering and Pickup”. Simple stuff- You order, you get a number, and you wait a few minutes. Most people eat in their cars, which makes sense – because I wouldn’t imagine eating these bad boys any other way than “piping hot and still glimmering with grease.” The menu is small, but also provides a lot of mix and match, build your own options.

They also have sodas, a couple of dolled up tot and fry options and variety of sauces. It was worth the drive and the wait. Thank you, Kevin, for inspiring this article and Chris for letting me try something new.

#staytuned #stayhungry #thefoodguy

Two Hands Korean Corn Dogs: 1919 Main Street Mesa, AZ 85201

Rating: This is a food truck that’s figured out how to do brick and mortar well. Small footprint, small menu, and big line outside. The stadium scale will be back when the stadiums open, but I will tell you this- If you’re in Mesa, AZ this is a MUST TRY experience. It’s unique and clever while remaining tasty.

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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