It's Opening Day in baseball stadiums across America. (Well, sort of.) That not only means the official return of our country's national pastime, but also the return of our country's second national pastime: gorging on extreme foods. And this year features some true gastronomic wonders. Or horrors, depending on your perspective.
Each year in order drum up new customers for those long rain delays, stadiums try to outdo one another when it comes to concessions, which leads to some serious eating innovations. Unfortunately, many them involve the limits of human endurance (and stomachs.) Last year's champion was Rangers Stadium (also known as Global Life Park), which offered a slew of excessive food: the Boomstick, a 24-inch hot dog drenched in chili, cheese, and toppings weighing in at 3 pounds; the "Totally Rossome" Boomstick, which piles brisket and Doritos on top of a 2-foot dog; a 24-inch pretzel; a 24-inch quesadilla; and a 1.5-pound burger.
But this year's challengers are no slouches. The Rangers' home park is back with some new treats, of course, but it's not alone in letting fans pig out in gluttonous glory. So in honor of Opening Day, let's rank the best new additions to concession stands this season.
1. The Fan vs. Food Burger
The Tampa Bay Rays aren't just selling extreme food, they're selling an experience. The Fan vs. Food challenge is this: polish off a 4-pound cheeseburger and a 1-pound side of fries, and you get two tickets to Tropicana Field. Maybe this is a way to raise its league-worst stadium attendance, or maybe the Rays simply love a good eating challenge as much as the rest of us. A 4-pound burger is no joke, and adding another pound of fries makes this a 5-pound meal to be reckoned with. By sheer mass, the Rays' burger takes the top spot.
2. The D-Bat, an 18-inch corn dog
Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will offer an 18-inch corn dog this season. Because sometimes a foot-long dog coated in fluffy cake batter just isn't enough. The D-Bat will also be stuffed with bacon, cheese, and peppers, because for $25, it better be a little more than just a deep fried 18-inch stick of meat. No word yet on whether or not you can actually use the D-Bat at the plate, but maybe if you deep fried it enough.
3. Bacon on a stick
After a banner year at Global Life Park, the Rangers return with a strong follow-up in the stadium concession war. Leading the pack is a nearly 1-inch thick strip of bacon on a stick, which gets points for cutting right to the chase. Why waste time pretending bacon is a topping for burgers or hot dogs when in reality all anyone wants is the salty pork itself? The Rangers are also selling frozen beer, taking "Ice cold beer, here" even ice-colder.
4. The Poutine Dog
The Poutine Dog, Late Night Dog and Burrito Bowl are just a few of the new treats at Comerica Park this year! pic.twitter.com/0IPS5oU00j— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) March 28, 2014
Not so much extreme as delicious, the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park is selling a hot dog topped with french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. The Poutine Dog won't bust any guts, but it's certainly for a very specific palate. Kudos to the Tigers, too, for combining three ballpark favorites – hot dogs, fries, and cheese – in the most Canadian way yet. This makes the list out of pure novelty, but it comes in last because it's just not that big. Now, if we were talking about a 24-inch poutine dog, well, that's a game-changer.