On the Road: Never Done Eating in Dunedin

This season, my “On the Road” blog posts from each ballpark I visit will be split up into several installments. To see all of my posts from this visit to the Dunedin Blue Jays (this is Part Three) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my April 2015 Florida trip, click HERE. To see all of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Florida State League concession menus generally don’t go too far beyond “the basics.” This was certainly the case in Dunedin, especially since I attended on a sleepy Monday. (See the first part of my Dunedin report HERE and part two HERE.)

But, nonetheless, I had a designated eater to appease. (You know, the individual who consumes the ballpark food that my gluten-free diet prohibits.)

This guy, specifically. In a designated eating first, he even brought along his own bodyguard.

049

The scowling individual stuffing a hot dog down his gullet is Mike Lortz, a self-described “Minor League Baseball aficionado” who was a key contributor to the now-defunct Bus Leagues Baseball website. He also provides deep analysis of the Tampa Bay Baseball market via his accurately-named Tampa Bay Baseball Market blog. He’s also an “occasional stand-up comic” and a “current business student at the University of South Florida.”

The scowling individual standing behind Lortz is Jeff Perro, a former Minor League Baseball clubhouse attendant who can be found on Twitter via the accurately-named handle of @MiLBClubbie.

D-Jays assistant general manager Mike Liberatore, taking control of a potentially volatile situation, presented Mike with a selection of grilled meats.

047

Seen above, from left to right, is a brat, Polish sausage and hot dog. Directly above that triumvirate, please find a cheeseburger.

046

Mike was psyched to get underway. This fervor and dedication is common among designated eaters, who often approach their duties as if it was the defining moment of their lives.

Now that the moment had arrived, Mike found it impossible to contain himself:

After giving him an hour or two to collect his thoughts, Mike shared some of his opinions.

“It was an average ballpark cheeseburger. I threw a little ketchup on it. I figure you’re here, you want to know the details.”

“The brat had a little bit of spice to it. It was well cooked, and so were the peppers and onions.”

“The Polish sausage is really very juicy. I sound like a third grader here. You can take the ‘really’ off. But, this meal is bringing me back to my adolescence.”

“The hot dog is like the burger, typical ballpark fare. But it’s a thick frankfurter. Not chintzy.”

“It’s all good, man. I got food. Beer, food and baseball, who could ask for anything more?”

And with that, I left Mike to enjoy the rest of his meal in peace.

048 I then turned my attention to Perro, who is a permanent fan of Minor League Baseball. MiLB Life!

051Mike, meanwhile, has since provided his own designated eater perspective. He, at the least, is a self-aware beast:

There was only way to slow down the beast, the people decided. They had to sedate it with food. They clamored to their kitchens, grilling as much meat as they could. They killed cows, chickens, and hot dogs and threw their meat on the grill. Then they garnished the servings with bread and peppers and onions. Everything a beast likes to eat.

They placed their pile of food in front of the monster. With a voracious appetite, the monster gorged on the offerings.

The beast was eventually satiated, the concession stands finally shut down for the evening. This represented my time to shine:

Bam! Nailed it! And the best thing about that joke was how original it was. No one had made it before; it is mine and mine alone.

Anyhow, that’ll do it for this rollicking trilogy of Dunedin Blue Jays blog posts. I had a great time at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium — low attendance and minimal amenities notwithstanding, it is one of my favorite places to see a game in the Florida State League.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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