What's New At The Ballparks 2016 - National League

Posted by Kurt Smith on Saturday, April 2, 2016
This time of year, there are so many changes being announced to every home team’s ballpark…especially with new food items…that it’s impossible for me to get the Ballpark E-Guides updated so quickly. So until I do, here is what you need to know about changes that aren’t yet contained in Ballpark E-Guides.

Here is what’s new in the National League:

Citi Field (New York Mets)

You may have heard that the iconic Pepsi Porch is now the Coca-Cola Corner; obviously there will be Coke products served at Citi Field now. The look of Citi Field is very different but the stellar view of the Flushing Chop Shops remains.

There is a new bacon cheeseburger at the Shake Shack, something else to wait in line for; and Box Frites will now have chicken poppers. Keith’s Grill has a new 108 Burger with pastrami, deli mustard and Havarti cheese. And a Tootsie Pop.

A new locally famous food stand called Fuku (stop snickering) will have a spicy Asian chicken sandwich and chicken fingers. This has gotten quite a rise out of locals, so you’ll probably want to try it. The stand will also have a Milk Bar serving desserts like cookies.

There’s a new pizza stand owned by Danny Meyer called Papa Rosso’s to complete with Two Boots. Two Boots is also offering a new pizza… “The Mojo Rising,” which has steak, onions, mushrooms, provolone and red pepper pesto. Admit it, “L.A. Woman” is going through your head.

And how about a 38-ounce Tomahawk Rib Chop from Pat LaFrieda’s? Heck yeah. And peanut butter coated bacon from Pig Guy NYC. Elvis lives.

Click here to purchase the Citi Field E-Guide…


Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies)

The Phillies now offer an April Pass…for about $50 you can see every April game except for Opening Day. The tickets are marked standing room on your pass, but when you enter they will give you a low end seat ticket. You could be in the upper level behind home plate. Nice offer and you can see a rebuilding Phillies squad. The Phils also have a new Phamily Pack: 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas for $100. Not bad on a weekend game maybe.

The Phils have made part of the Bud Rooftop the “Social Media Deck”, where you can meet with other smartphone users and charge your phone next to them.

And there’s some new food things in Philly: Rita’s Water Ice, which I presume will replace the Philadelphia Water Ice Factory; Chick-Fil-A (except on Sundays); and some new items at Harry The K’s restaurant like a Korean Frid Pork Belly sandwich. True. New dogs at Signature Dogs include a beer braised frank on a pretzel roll, an Asian dog with sweet and sour slaw and sriracha sauce, and a Sonoran dog wrapped in bacon with salsa verde. That doesn’t sound too bad, but I’m not giving up my Federal Donuts.

Speaking of Federal Donuts, they’ll have a fried chicken sandwich this year. No Korean fried chicken though.

Click here to purchase the Citizens Bank Park E-Guide…


Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds)

New at GABP is the Fioptics District, a private social gathering space that requires a ticket. The ticket includes a seat in Sections 408-410. The rooftop patio has no view of the field but it does have a bar, luxury couches and pool tables. The seating area has drink rails for all of that leaning that kids love doing. Fioptics District tickets are very cheap and include your first drink.

The all-you-can-eat seats are gone (they are the Fioptics seating area seats now); now you can simply buy an all-you-can-eat pass an go back to a stand behind Section 530 for all the dogs, popcorn, peanuts, chips and soda they can handle.

The Reds still sell Opening Day tickets at the box office, but they’re part of a two-game package now; fans have to buy a low-end game with their Opening Day ticket.

New promotion from Scene 75 – if the Reds steal two bases in a game, all ticket holders can redeem their ticket for a free go-kart pass.

The Reds also have a slew of colorful new food items on the menu:

The Crab Box: Fry Box fries covered with lump crab, cheese and seafood seasoning (presumably Old Bay).

Ice Cream Bars: you can now get ridiculous toppings on your ice cream at a stand called “Coat It, Top It, Drizzle It, Get Nuts…”, including Oreo crumbs, M&M’s, etc.

The Flying Pig: The Porkopolis stand now features a bacon-wrapped mettwurst with hot peppers, pickled onion and honey crème.

Asian food items: The Teppenyaki Grill stand was popular at last season’s All-Star Game, so the Reds have made it a fixture, with Kobe beef and Banh-Mi sandwiches with cabbage, carrots, cilantro and all those things that make Asian food sound healthy.

Montgomery Inn BBQ: Montgomery Inn, the popular Cincy eatery, will now be providing the chicken and pork grub for Mr. Red’s Smokehouse in right field.

The Mixed Fry: The Mammoth fry has returned to the menu of the Machine Room in left field, but it’s now called the “Mixed Fry” – it’s waffle fries, tater tots, shoestring fries and curly fries toppes with chili, queso and banana peppers. Yum.

Red Velvet Waffles: The Taste of Belgium stand now has a red velvet waffle…yes, you read that right. It’s covered with whipped cream and red sprinkles. It’s popular at the restaurant on Valentine’s Day but it will be at the ballpark all season.

Flip-N-Go: The United Dairy Farmers stores in the ballpark will now have gran and go items, like salads, fruit cups, sandwiches and sushi. Good if you’re keeping it healthy at the game, but all cold I think.

Oh, almost forgot…Pete Rose is finally going to be added to the Reds Hall of Fame this year. Cincinnati as a city seems rather happy about that.

Click here to purchase the Great American Ball Park E-Guide…


Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

Like several teams these days, the Brew Crew is offering a Ballpark Pass for April; you can see every April home game except for Opening Day for $49. Quite a deal, although you can still just show up and get a Uecker Seat.

In addition to Bernie Brewer, the Brew Crew is adding two more mascots: Hank the Ballpark Pup (not the real dog…Google that if you want to know about him), and “Barrel Man” for Bernie’s Barrelman Ale. There are also some new interactive games in the kids play area.

As always the Brew Crew keeps the menu loaded and diverse. There’s now a Wisconsin dog topped with house made beer jam, glazed sauerkraut and chopped bacon; a Banh Mi Brat (what’s with the Banh Mi?); a jalapeno popper dog (FINALLY someone gets it!); Buffalo chicken fries and a chili baked potato topper.

And kids now eat free on Sundays…a hot dog, apple slices (healthy even), ice cream and bottled water. At ballpark prices that’s a 100% savings!

New food items: The Smoke Shack BBQ stand will now have a brisket sloppy Joe, and Holey Moley doughnuts…which were hugely popular at their introduction last year, take it from me…will have a new baby Spice donut and custard sandwich. The Brewers may not have much pitching, but you can eat well at a ballgame in Milwaukee.

Oh, and there’s ice machines in the Miller lots now. What took them so long?

Click here to purchase the Miller Park E-Guide…

Nationals Park (Washington Nationals)

The Red Porch restaurant in center field is now the imaginatively named Budweiser Brewhouse, and the tap offerings will be mostly Bud products…sigh. The Miller Like Scoreboard Walk is now the Budweiser Terrace.

There is a ferry from a waterfront restaurant called Cantina Marina that will take restaurant patrons to Nats games. You can learn more about this by calling them…

Nursing mothers can now bring the hungry little ones to Nats Park and pass on a secondhand Ben’s Chili Dog to the little one. (OK, sorry if that’s a little off-color, but I’m still giggling.) There is a new nursing station in Nats Park with comfortable seats, a play area and a diaper-changing station, and of course TVs so they can feel at home watching the game.

The Nats have added some more local institutions to their food menu, always a welcome thing especially in D.C. These two were winners of a Pitch Your Product contest held by the team:

Haute Dogs & Fries: Haute is an eatery with two Virginia locations; their popular offering is a Haute Dog, with brown onion relish, mayo and celery salt.

On Rye: On Rye is a new deli in Chinatown; they’re doing it backwards by opening a stand at the ballpark at the same time. Smart. On Rye will have corned beef Reubens and ice cream sandwiches.

Pinch Dumplings: Pinch is a Baltimore-area joint that is known for Chinese dumplings; they have beef, pork and vegetarian dumplings.

The Nats have expanded the Shake Shack, so there should be less congestion there now.

The surrounding area of Nationals Park continues to grow and become a much more attractive post-game destination. Restaurants and taverns springing up include Willie’s Brew & Que, Takorean, Hill Country BBQ, and Big Stick. The Fairgrounds is still there as of this writing, and the new Ballpark Square is going to be called F1rst, for its location near 1st Street.

Click here to purchase the Nationals Park E-Guide…

PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Pirates, like several other teams, now offer a Spring Pass…you can see every Pirates home game in April except Opening Day for as low as $99. This is also being offered by the Brewers, White Sox and Phillies, but those teams haven’t been playoff-worthy in a few years, so this is particularly a good deal.

There is a new parking garage being built on the North Shore with 600 spaces; this should help the parking situation especially when there is an event at Heinz Field, now that Lot 1 and its 500+ spaces are gone.

Craft brews? The Bucs have you covered. There is a new party area, or rather a renamed one, called the Block House Corner in left field. There’s a 40-foot bar there with crafts on tap from Church Brew Works, East End Brewing and many others, with TVs and lots of drink rails.

Two of the restaurants attached to PNC on Federal Street are being replaced. Domenic’s Deli is now Steel Cactus, a Mexican cantina type of place. And Diamond Pizza is now Slice…still pizza, but better apparently. Slice makes a very popular (with Pittsburghers) thin crust pizza. Don’t know if that will stil be a double secret entrance to the ballpark (there’s some free insider info for you!).

New food items? It’s vintage Pittsburgh…no rules. One of the weirdest offerings on any baseball menu this season is the Crackerjack and Mac Dog, a hot dog with cheese, crackerjack, and jalapenos. I don’t know how they’ll sell that one. With a spoon maybe.

Click here to purchase the PNC Park E-Guide…

Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

The 2015 season saw a turnaround compared to recent campaigns, and that always brings demand for Cubs tickets to a premium. With several sports outlets predicting a possible World Series appearance for the Cubs this year, expect demand to be much greater than in the recent past.

The ongoing Wrigley renovation demolished the iconic McDonald’s across from Wrigley to make way for a new hotel; so that is no longer a parking option. Be sure to consult my friends at CubParking for that.

Thus far nothing major as far as changes to the menu…the Cubs have added Gilbert’s craft sausages and Italian beef sandwiches from Buona Beef. Oh, and there is now a Chicago Dog Bloody Mary.

And my friend Floyd Sullivan corrected a bunch of things he found in the Wrigley Field E-Guide...but don’t worry, he still thinks it’s very accurate and a great read!

Click here to purchase the Wrigley Field E-Guide...

Turner Field (Atlanta Braves)

It’s the last season for the Ted, but the Chick-Fil-A Chopping Cow is already gone…it’s been moved to the new ballpark.

The Braves have some crazy new grub items:

The T.E.D. (The Everything Dog) – It’s a footlong with everything: fries, chili, nacho chips, beer cheese and jalapeños, and popcorn, with Coca-Cola infused BBQ sauce. Have at it.

The Tator Tot Chop – tater tots pressed in a waffle iron and then loaded with bacon, cheese, and jalapenos. Have fun digesting that one!

The “Punisher” – Smoked rib meat in Monster Energy drink-infused sauce (does anyone believe I’m making this up?) topped with beer-battered onion and “slawsa”, with bacon on a Hawaiian bun.

The “Top-N-Go” – Fritos or Doritos (sold!) topped with pulled pork, chicken and cheese sauce.

And last but not least of course…the “Burgerizza”- a 20-ounce (yes, 1 ¼ lbs.) beef patty topped with bacon and cheddar and sandwiched between two pepperoni pizzas. (Can you get that with mushrooms?)

I’m gonna miss Turner…

Click here to purchase the Turner Field E-Guide…

There you go…ballpark updates not yet contained in Ballpark E-Guides for the National League.

For changes in American League ballparks click here.

Tags: what's new at the ballpark 2016 
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