Category Archives: Baseball

Only in Miami: 160 tropical fish qualify for room and board at a stadium

The 2012 Major League Baseball Season will kick off with its first domestic game of the year as the Miami Marlins will host the St. Louis Cardinals. The game will be played at Marlins Park, a brand spankin’ new stadium located in the Little Havana section of Miami, Florida.

Most fans will be watching the action on the diamond, but other observers will be eyeing the new permanent residents of the stadium. These tenants are 160 tropical fish that are now living in dual 450 gallon fish tanks that are positioned on either side of home plate.

I’ve never been accused of hugging a tree, but there’s something about this whole situation that just seems… well… fishy.

The ballclub isn’t concerned that a misplaced ball will crack or shatter the tanks because they were constructed using bullet-proof acrylic and other similarly impregnable materials. I’m pretty sure that the broader concerns, however, relate to the effects of noise and vibrations generated by tens of thousands of rowdy sports fans and a cutting-edge sound system. Activists are concerned that this environment will critically affect the health of the fish, although the organization believes that neoprene shock absorbers will minimize the impact of the noise and stadium vibrations.

I’m not necessarily sure what to make of the issue, although I will admit that at the very least it would be kind of creepy to share popcorn and cracker jacks with a handful of sea horses and anemones. Here’s the conceptual art and a photograph; judge for yourself:

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Peanuts and Cracker Jacks? Baseball weighs in with an eight pound burger, a two foot hotdog and a three pound pretzel

Earlier this month, the Washington Nationals unveiled the StrausBurger, a hefty hamburger composed of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs topped with a heck of a lot of condiments.  The damn thing weighs in at around 8 pounds and contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 10,000 calories.

Ironically, the sandwich is named after Stephen Strausburg, a lanky young pitcher who looks like he’s never eaten a hamburger, much less a ball of meat that weighs as much as the human head.

Nolan Ryan, the competitive owner of the Texas Rangers, is obviously not impressed with the StrausBurger.  Earlier this week, his team introduced the Champion Dog, a 2 foot hotdog served on a virtual loaf of bread that weighs in at around a pound.  The monstrosity is complimented by sauteed onions, shredded cheese, chili, jalapenos, and, of course, a side order of french fries.  As you can tell from this picture, it’s about as big as a baseball bat.

Steve Peterson, President of Classic Foods, the producer of the meat used in the Champion Dog, was obviously excited.  When referring to the surreal combination of meat trimmings, fat, flavorings and preservatives, he claimed that it was “the next ka-pow.”  I’m still not sure if he was referring to the hot dog, the 2,000 to 3,000 calories contained in the meal, or its $26 price tag.

It’s not the first time that the Texas Rangers have offered fans the opportunity to stick a foot in the grave.  In 2010, the Ballpark at Arlington began serving a pretzel that tipped the scales at an absurd 3 pounds and topped the charts at between 3,400 and 3,700 calories.  It’s served with a modest sampling of marinara sauce, honey mustard dressing and nacho cheese and served in a cardboard pizza box. At the end of the day, it weights nearly as much as a chihuahua

Ballpark Operations Manager Casey Rapp explained the twisted reasoning behind the knot-shaped combination of flour and salt by reasoning that “[l]ast year during the playoffs, we said, ‘We gotta come up with something that’s bigger than anything else, that really signifies Texas.'”

Mr. Rapp certainly hit a home run – no pun intended – because everything really is bigger in Texas.  Including people.  For those of you keeping score, Arlington – the home of the Texas Rangers – now ranks as the 15th fattest city in the entire country.  Over 35 percent of the city’s population is clinically obese, which is the second highest rate in the entire freakin’ country.

Surprised?

(And before all the southerners call foul… yes, I live in Texas.  I used to live in Arlington.  But I’m still alive)

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On a slow news day, correspondents author stories about athletes exercising until they puke

It’s that time of year again.  Pitchers and catchers have already reported, hungry rookies are trying to earn a spot in the majors and aging veterans are scratching and clawing to hold on to their jobs.  Baseball is in full swing, and the countdown to opening day is well underway.

It’s also the time of year where the 24-hour-news cycle demands that local beatwriters and correspondents break news about local teams.  That’s not necessarily as easy as it may sounds.  Absent a handful of trades, a few injuries and a certain arbitration hearing, the early days of spring training aren’t the most fertile ground for compelling stories about local franchises.   Major leaguers are simply arriving at facilities, running around the diamond, playing catch and taking batting practice. Uh… woohoo?

Not surprisingly, in the collective wasteland of lackluster events, local correspondents are more than willing to author stories about sluggers exercising until they puke.

I’m talking about you, J.D. Martinez.  The 24-year-old Astros outfielder recently explained that he hired a personal trainer to help with his conditioning.  Martinez selected Nick Casazza, because the slugger wanted a trainer to use a program that would cause him to vomit.  From the Ultimate Astros blog:

“I told him, ‘If you don’t make me puke in the first week, I’m not going to come back’ ” Martinez said.

Nick Casazza needed about 10 minutes to accomplish that.

“When he went outside and threw up, he was looking at me like I was the craziest person he ever met in his life,” Casazza said. “But you know what? The kid showed up the next day. He kept coming back. I said, ‘This guy is the real deal.’ ”

Martinez, 24, remembers that first week for “puking everywhere” and for this: “I knew then he was going to be the trainer I was going to be with.”

Uh… J.D….  Nick… your realize that you can get in pretty darn good shape without puking, right?  It’s probably not the best of ideas unless, of course, you’re recycling last night’s StrasBurger.

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The National Pastime: Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and… an EIGHT POUND hamburger?

Stephen Strasburg is bringing hope to baseball fans in our nation’s capital.  The highly-touted 23-year-old pitcher for the Washington Nationals has taken the mound seventeen times over the past two years, limiting opponents to a .211 batting average while recording 116 strikeouts, .98 WHIP and 2.40 ERA.  Loosely translated, he’s pretty darn good, and the peripheral statistics suggest that he should develop into a perennial All-Star.

The lanky phenom has a new claim to fame: the organization is now cleverly marketing a hamburger dubbed “the StrasBurger” as a homage to the pitcher.  The burger is sold at the Red Porch Restaurant, located in the Center Field Plaza of Nationals Park.  It almost makes too much sense: hungry fans can eat a Strasburger while watching Strasburg.

So far so good… except… the StrasBurger weighs in at EIGHT POUNDS.  It consists of a virtual buffet of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs, topped with an unidentified “special sauce” and a smorgasbord of condiments – and, of course, it’s complimented by a basket of french fries and a pitcher of a soft drink.  When served, the StrasBurger weighs about as much as 32 Quarter Pounders and slightly more than the average newborn baby.

Prepare to be surprised: the StrasBurger is a pretty darn unhealthy dish.  Colleen Greg, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in adult and pediatric weight management and cardiovascular nutrition, provided NBC Washington with the following breakdown:

the StrasBurger is somewhere between 8,000-10,000 calories, packs 600-700 grams of fat, 200-300 grams of saturated fat and 2,500-3,000 milligrams of sodium. It seems that the Nationals are advertising the burger as something to be shared, but even then, it still packs a wallop….  If the burger is split four ways, each person’s portion would therefore be at least 2,000 calories, 150 grams of fat, 50 grams saturated fat and 625 mg of sodium… All of these are higher than what many, if not most, people need in an entire DAY, except for sodium.

What ever happened to peanuts and Cracker Jacks?

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Some things never change. Other things change.

Babe Ruth was born on February 6, 1895.  Today is his birthday.

Some things never change.  “The Babe” will always be known as one of the greatest sluggers to ever play professional baseball.  Modern athletes may be getting bigger, faster and stronger, but nobody has truly been able to touch upon Ruth’s legacy.

Some things, however, do change.  Check out this picture, courtesy of Andy Gray at Sport’s Illustrated’s SI Vault.  It shows a 13-year-old patient lighting Babe’s pipe….  at the hospital, while she is apparently confined to a bed.

/hat tip to Andy Gray @si_vault.

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