On the Road: Feasting Before the First Pitch in Toledo
This is part 1 of 2 posts from Toledo. Check the blog and MiLB.com throughout the week for a wide array of “On the Road” content.
Call it what you will — Midwest Meanderings? Ohioan Oscillations? Buckeye Bandying About? — but my latest road trip has officially begun. It all kicked off Monday at Toledo’s Fifth Third Field, although I must admit I considered working remotely as this was the view from my hotel room.
But my last vestiges of professionalism soon got the best of me, and I dutifully went exploring. Fifth Third Field, home of International League stalwarts the Toledo Mud Hens, is a downtown ballpark that is completely incorporated into its downtown surroundings.
Moses Fleetwood Walker Square, named in honor of the first black player in Major League history (and a guy with a seriously fascinating life story).
Outfield sculpture paying homage to the halcyon days of yore.
A branch of the iconic Tony Packo’s is located across from the stadium. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit before departing.
But going to a hot dog joint prior to the ballgame would have been seriously redundant, especially considering what the Mud Hens had in store for me inside.
Food fit for a ballpark-visiting king! From left to right, that’s Greek Nachos (gyro meat and pita chips), Pulled Pork Nachos, and Bases Loaded Fries.
This triumvirate was soon joined by the Muddy Dog (topped with chili, cheese, and onions).
And Bloomin’ Bacon Burger! (1/3 lb. grilled Black Angus beef burger topped with crispy strips of bacon, deep fried onion rings, American cheese, and bistro sauce on a fresh Kaiser bun).
This array was presided over by concessions manager Corey Pleasant, Fifth Third’s food guru since 2002.
This was enough food for a party of five, so I felt a bit ridiculous sitting in front of this feast by my lonesome. I did my best.
You definitely can’t go wrong with any of the above items. I’d say that the pulled pork nachos were my favorite simply because they were pulled pork nachos. I mean, c’mon — Pulled Pork Nachos!
The copious leftovers from my feast were summarily fed to the press box wolves (in greater number on this particular evening due to a Japanese contingent tracking the every move of rehabbing Rochester Red Wing Tsuyoshi Nishioka). To those planning a Toledo baseball pilgrimage of their own, the above items are available throughout the stadium at locations such as this.
The Mud Hens do a great job promoting their concessions on the team web page, a full ballpark map can be found HERE. But I unfortunately wasn’t able to partake in a leisurely meal. The team’s pre-game festivities were starting in earnest downstairs, including the requisite array of ceremonial first pitches.
This was to be followed by an event not seen often enough at your local professional ballpark — a Naturalization Ceremony! Look for an article about that on MiLB.com; it will certainly be covered in a follow-up blog post as well.
Much more to come from Toledo, in other words, but for now I’ve got to shut down, check out, grab lunch at Tony Packo’s, and get over to Fort Wayne. A sure-to-be-ridiculous evening with the TinCaps awaits.