There are a great many benefits to my job at the Transcript Bulletin — the most obvious being that I get paid to watch and write about sports.
However, one of its benefits is somewhat of a catch-22. I get regular exposure to the culinary paradise that is the ballpark concession stand. Whether it’s the smell of the grill outside the press box at Stansbury High or Dow James Park; the pulled-pork sandwiches at Grantsville basketball games that my predecessor, Tavin Stucki, used to wax poetic about; or the smorgasbord of options on the concourse at Vivint Smart Home Arena, it’s nearly impossible to resist.
And, judging by how my pants fit, it’s something I should probably resist more often.
Sure, in many places, there are healthier options. On Tuesday night in Salt Lake City, I saw many a basketball fan carrying such choices back to their seats — while I was slathering a jumbo-sized pork carnitas burrito with salsa between games at the Salt Lake City Summer League.
The words of a great philosopher, or maybe Homer Simpson, came to mind: “You don’t win friends with salad.” You know what does win friends — or, at least, stands a better chance of doing so than a pile of leafy greens? Ice cream. After finishing my burrito, I couldn’t help but get myself a couple scoops. After all, it was 100 degrees outside.
I didn’t make any new pals, but at least it cooled me down.
My choices continue to get worse every time I’m in a stadium. In Minnesota, it was a fully-loaded bratwurst at a soccer game, followed by a paper boat full of deep-fried cheese curds at a baseball game. Monday night in Salt Lake City, it was a brisket sandwich with a side of barbecue beans. Wednesday night, it was a tri-tip sandwich.
And, later this month in Albuquerque? Well, I’ll be going to another baseball game. It’s Green Chile Cheeseburger night at the stadium that night when the Albuquerque Isotopes face the Salt Lake Bees. Enough said, though the Isotopes also serve green chile garlic cheese fries in a batting helmet, and a hamburger with a chile relleno on top of it.
I might not win friends with salad. However, if I give in to my worst impulses, I might be making friends with the ER nurses in a New Mexico hospital.
Somehow, I’ve managed to survive nearly 15 years of this kind of abuse. When I covered college sports in Cedar City, it was a steady diet of pizza and Famous Dave’s ribs. In New Mexico, Chili’s used to supply one of the high school press boxes with fajitas during football season, and the Frito pies at the Connie Mack World Series were unparalleled. In California, there were piles of Dodger Dogs in the press box at Dodger Stadium, and unlimited churros at Anaheim Ducks hockey games.
Someday, I’ll learn. Either my body will teach me, or my bank account will, thanks to inflated concession-stand prices at most stadiums. As for now?
Does that $17 tri-tip sandwich come with potato chips?
Darren Vaughan is the sports editor for the Transcript Bulletin. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.