When you think of baseball, what comes to mind? Is it the foul balls? Beer? A good time with friends? For many, the answer is the food. Hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, popcorn … all things that you might think of when you think of America’s game.
According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts have been a part of the stadium atmosphere since the late 19th century when a ballpark concessioner, Harry Stevens, sold advertising space on scorecards to a peanut company in 1895. Instead of financial payment, the company paid him in peanuts, which Stevens then sold at the ballparks.
So how did they become so popular? Well, according to Stevens’ grandson it’s because when it comes to baseball, tension builds slowly and eating peanuts is part of a nervous habit—it gives you something to do with your hands.
And what about hot dogs? Well, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council said “Little dog” sausages became standard fare at ballparks in 1893 with St. Louis bar owner and German immigrant Chris Von de Ahe, who owned the St. Louis Browns baseball team.
Now, in 2018, with options like loaded nachos, barbecue dishes, Mexican food, and more — it’s no wonder baseball fans like Bob and his friends rave about the food at the park.
“We come as friends, but mostly for the food! As you can see we just had the barbecue brisket … it was delicious,” Bob said.
Danielle Wolters, a student at Grand Valley State University also said food is one of the biggest reasons she loves baseball games.
“My friend actually came here not long ago and got these nachos and when I saw her post the photo I told myself I have to have those next time I go to a game,” Wolters said.
Wolters finds it hard to believe how many food options there are at baseball games, but said she thinks it’s one of the biggest reasons people- including her and her friends come out.
“There’s honestly something for everyone. Normally when you think of baseball food you think hot dogs, popcorn, stuff like that, but I mean loaded nachos and mac and cheese? How can you say no to that?” Wolters said.
MLB stadiums have even been ranked by the Thrillist based on their food options, so if you find yourself like many others caring as much about the food as the game itself, you have plenty of choices.