Baseball's Love Affair With Food - NBC 7 San Diego

Baseball's Love Affair With Food

Why we love the team and the menu



    Food Part of Ballpark Experience

    New and popular eateries inside Petco Park keep Padres fans happy. Consumer Bob takes a look at what new restaurants are inside the ballpark. (Published Tuesday, April 9, 2013)

    What would baseball be like without the food?

    "It wouldn't be baseball," said Padre fan Rick Arballo, who says he always buys a hot dog or sausage at the game smothered with bell peppers and onions.

    Sagen Sauvageau drove to the San Diego Padre home opener at Petco Park from Temecula and said one of the appeals of the game is always the food. 

    "I don't know if I'd be at the baseball game without munchies," Sauvageau said.

    Baseball is a game that is identified with food. We even sing about it at every ball park during the seventh inning stretch: "...Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks..."

    So why is it that baseball is so identified with the hunger of the fans? 

    "I think food is a huge part of the whole fan experience," said Keven Sheehan with Phil's BBQ.  The popular local restaurant is new to the ballpark this year along with Wings N Things.

    "BBQ is the new peanuts and popcorn," Sheehan said.

    But not long ago, traditionalists fought against the expansion of the ballpark menu. When Jack Murphy Stadium started selling fish tacos at the games in the 1980s, newspaper columnists criticized the team for its baseball food. Now, teams around the country sell similar exotic food.

    But the old favorites still do extremely well. For Tom Albright and his son Robbie, it's all about eating old school.

    "Hot dogs, nachos, all the junk," said Tom.

    For penny pinchers, Petco Park has an advantage for hungry fans. The team has a liberal policy for bringing food into the stadium. Fans are allowed to bring in a soft cooler as long as it fits under the seats. That cooler can be filled with sandwiches, popcorn, fruit, anything except for bottles and can drinks. Families can bring in box fruit drinks and water bottles smaller than 20 ounces.