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MLB Ballpark Bites: How does eating stadium food at home measure up to in the bleachers?

An assortment of food from MLB Ballpark Bites
Noah Sasaki/KJZZ
An assortment of food from MLB Ballpark Bites

If you are a user of food delivery apps like DoorDash or UberEats, you may have noticed a new offering that seems to have come out of left field.

MLB Ballpark Bites is the result of a partnership between Major League Baseball and a company that operates ghost kitchens.

The idea is relatively simple: patrons can have stadium-inspired eats delivered right to their door. But these dishes aren’t coming to you from Chase Field. Instead, the food is prepared at local IHOPs moonlighting as ghost kitchens.

The Show recently sat down with to sample a few of these bites to see how they stack up to the real thing.

Full taste test

MARK BRODIE: All right, so we are in the conference room here at KJZZ, and we’re here because one of our producers, Nick Sanchez, made an interesting discovery on one of the food delivery apps not that long ago. And has turned the conference room into a bit of a smorgasbord here.

NICK SANCHEZ: Yes we have. So on your favorite food delivery app, you can order what’s called MLB Ballpark Bites. The idea is your favorite kinds of hot dogs, your favorite kinds of sandwiches …

BRODIE: Things you’d find at a baseball stadium.

SANCHEZ: Exactly. That you can get delivered right to your door. A unique aspect to all of these is that they are all on pretzel rolls, without fail.

BRODIE: OK, I’ll ask both of you then: Have either of you ever had anything on a pretzel bun at a baseball stadium? Because I don’t think I have.


SANCHEZ: I don’t think I have either.

BRODIE: And I’ve eaten a lot of ballpark food at a lot of ballparks.

GILGER: I’m not opposed to a pretzel bun here. This is not a terrible idea. But there are some odd combinations I’m looking at.

BRODIE: Nick, we have a bit of a buffet in front of us here. What should we start with?

SANCHEZ: We have the Philly Cheesesteak. We have the LA Street Dog. We have the Heater, which is like a chicken sandwich kind of option. And of course, the Classic Ballpark Dog.

BRODIE: Can we start with the classic?

SANCHEZ: Let’s start with the classic. That is going to be the one on your plates that has the most amount of mustard, relish, pickles, onions.

GILGER: Already falling apart.

SANCHEZ: So let’s go ahead. Let’s give that a try.

GILGER: This is, for the record, what I would order at the ballpark. Because I just feel like this is what you do.

SANCHEZ: I have to say, it tastes like most any hot dog I’d have at a baseball game.

GILGER: I’m in. Yeah, this is good. I mean, pretzel bun aside.

BRODIE: All right, so what should we move to next?

SANCHEZ: Let’s try the cheesesteak, which you will also notice does have a hotdog.

GILGER: Oh my gosh, that’s steak.

BRODIE: That’s not a good sign. … It’s not bad. I don’t think Philly has to worry.

SANCHEZ: I gotta say, a little salty. I don’t know if you guys experienced that.

GILGER: I mean, we’re talking about some ballpark food here. Salty’s good.

SANCHEZ: Next, let’s go with the LA Street Dog, which should be the last hotdog. There’s bacon. There should be a little bit of avocado.A little pepper.

BRODIE: I did not get avocado. That’s OK.

GILGER: No avocado for me.

BRODIE: I don’t want to put words in your mouth, Nick, especially while you’re chewing. But you look underwhelmed.

SANCHEZ: I’m not getting the LA street out of the LA Street Dog.

BRODIE: ANd are an angels fan. Obviously that’s Southern California, although not LA proper, as most Dodgers fans will tell you. But if anybody would know an LA Street Dog in this room, I would think it would be you.

SANCHEZ: Yes. I got to say, underwhelmed by the lack of avocado, because you’re right. I really get much of that on my bite. I was expecting, LA Street Dog a, little bit more pepper. I think they even said jalapeños on there. Not that much. Not a lot of spice. Lauren, thoughts?

GILGER: Yeah. You know, that is a bacon bomb. And nothing wrong with that.

SANCHEZ: Nothing wrong with it.

GILGER: I’m a little terrified of the last one up here, you guys, I got to tell you. So what is this?

SANCHEZ: So lastly, we have the Heater, which is your kind of take on a chicken sandwich. Kind of like a fried chicken sandwich. We have chicken strips with bacon …

GILGER: More bacon!

SANCHEZ: … jalapeños, serrano peppers and onions topped with cheese sauce.

GILGER: OK. Whew, you ready, Mark?

BRODIE: Down the hatch.

GILGER: Lots of pepper. That’s good, but I like a spicy thing.

BRODIE: I think I lucked out without any of the spicy peppers, but the chicken’s actually pretty good. For breaded chicken, it’s pretty par for the course. Pretty good.

SANCHEZ: For it being the “Heater,” again kind of underwhelmed on the spice. More of like, I don’t know, maybe a mild?

BRODIE: It’s Mark level, not Lauren and Nick level spice is what you’re trying to say.

GILGER: I could use much more serrano pepper on there, but that’s just me. Anybody want a donut hole? I think this is actually the winner.

BRODIE: Yeah, I think that’s fair.

GILGER: Of all of the crazy hot dogs you just had us try. I’m into the donut hole.

BRODIE: Is anybody surprised there wasn’t a hot dog embedded inside the donut hole?

GILGER: You know, that’s not a terrible idea.

BRODIE: I think it actually is. I think it might be a terrible idea.

SANCHEZ: Who knows? Maybe you’ll see that at Chase field next year.

BRODIE: That could be. That could well be.

GILGER: Churro Dog …

SANCHEZ: With an actual hotdog.

GILGER: Donut hole dog, why not?

BRODIE: All right. Nick, thank you for ordering up this feast for us. And, you know, we’ll have to go to a ball game one of these days.

SANCHEZ: Of course. And thank you both for being willing participants.

GILGER: Cheers.

KJZZ's The Show transcripts are created on deadline. This text is edited for length and clarity, and may not be in its final form. The authoritative record of KJZZ's programming is the audio record.

Nick Sanchez is a senior producer for KJZZ's The Show. He joined the station as an intern during the spring of 2022, where he developed a passion for audio storytelling in the Valley.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.
Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.
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