A look at National League celebrities, food
March, 29, 2013
By Lynn Hoppes | ESPN.com
Mike Zarrilli/Getty ImagesLudacris is known to attend several Braves games a year and sing at postgame concerts.
With the MLB season starting Sunday, Playbook takes a team-by-team look at the celebrities, food and other features you might see at National League stadiums this year.
Comedian Jamie Kennedy, who is a big supporter of the Philadelphia Phillies, said, "Some people say Opening Day is a day full of hope -- but I say it's a day full of delusion. Delusion that this is the year it all comes together for your team; delusion that your 40-year-old lefty still has some gas in the tank; delusion that $9 is a perfectly fair price for a beer at the ballpark. But hey, we're allowed to delude ourselves one day per year. Well, Opening Day is sort of like ignorance -- it's bliss, baby."
STADIUM: Chase Field (48,633 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Shock rocker Alice Cooper might have grown up in Detroit, but his heart is in his new home of Phoenix. "I can't make that decision publicly," he told ESPN several years ago. "Since I live in Phoenix I obviously attend more D-backs games." Cooper has a restaurant next to the stadium called Cooperstown and has a sandwich called the "Big Unit," named after former Diamondbacks great Randy Johnson.
FAVORITE FOOD: The Sloppy Jane, a vegan version of the Sloppy Joe, is an interesting option, but we'll go with the BBQ short-rib dog. It's a grilled hot dog topped with short ribs, cheese and onions.
ETC.: The stadium has a pool and a hot tub and is staffed by a lifeguard. The first home run ball to land in the pool was hit by the Cubs' Mark Grace on May 12, 1998.
STADIUM: Turner Field (49,586 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: With Atlanta having a major music scene, it's not unusual to see Ludacris, Lil Jon, Big Boi, Sara Evans, Carlos Santana and a host of others frequenting the ballpark.
FAVORITE FOOD: They have an "All You Can Eat" section, smoked turkey leg and sliders, but we'll stick with the hometown company Chick-fil-A. Where else can you get a chicken sandwich with a pickle on it?
ETC.: This was the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Games before being converted to a baseball-only facility. In the parking lot next door is a portion of the left-field wall over which Hank Aaron launched home run No. 715 in 1974 at the old Fulton County Stadium.
STADIUM: Wrigley Field (41,019 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Since Chicago is a destination for sports fans and others in the entertainment industry, it's not unusual to see artists who are in town taking in an afternoon game. George Lopez, Jason Aldean, Jon Lovitz, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Virginia Madsen and Vince Vaughn all have been to games.
FAVORITE FOOD: Giant soft pretzels, meatballs, onion rings and Italian beef sandwiches all pale in comparison to just an all-beef hot dog, Chicago-style. That's what's baseball is about.
ETC.: There is a big fight brewing over the iconic center-field scoreboard. Should it stay or be replaced by a money-making digital version?
Brian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesWill Ferrell last summer gave fans some pizzas before the game between the Cubs and Marlins.Cincinnati Reds
STADIUM: Great American Ball Park (42,319 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Nick Lachey, former lead singer of 98 Degrees, is an unabashed fan of the Reds. He has thrown out the first pitch several times and sung the national anthem. "Growing up a lifelong Reds fan, it was a big deal to me," he told Playbook about performing before a playoff game. "It definitely was a great moment."
FAVORITE FOOD: Just this week the new menu was announced for the ballpark, and the highlight is chicken lo mein. That's not exactly what we think about when it comes to eating at a ballpark. But the other new item seems up our alley: jalapeno popper macaroni and cheese.
ETC.: Although he isn't in the Hall of Fame, Pete Rose is honored with a Rose Garden, adjacent to the stadium. The garden was placed around the area where Rose had his record-breaking 4,192 hit in old Riverfront Stadium.
STADIUM: Coors Field (50,480 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: There are not a lot of celebrity sightings at the games, but did you know the movie "The Fan" was filmed there? The 1996 movie, starring Wesley Snipes and Robert DeNiro, was about an obsessed baseball fan.
FAVORITE FOOD: A Tornadough -- a cross between a pretzel and a doughnut -- sounds intriguing, but we're adventurous so we'll try the Rocky Mountain oysters. People say they're delicious. Oh, that's what a Rocky Mountain oyster is?
ETC.: Workers discovered dinosaur fossils, including a 1,000-pound Triceratops skull -- during construction. People thought the stadium should be named Jurassic Park.
Los Angeles Dodgers
STADIUM: Dodger Stadium (56,000 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: This one is easy. So many celebrities live in Los Angeles that it's a who's-who at the games. Sean Astin. Apolo Ohno. Suzanne Somers. Joey Lawrence. Matthew Perry. George Lopez. William Shatner. Rainn Wilson. But we're going to go with our favorite, Alyssa Milano. She previously had season tickets and now attends about 40 games a year. "There is no better place to be than in the ballpark in your town," she told Playbook. "It's a sensory experience."
FAVORITE FOOD: Garlic fries, fish tacos and Dreyer's soft serve ice cream are staples at the game, but we'll take the traditional Dodger Dog. It's a 10-inch ballpark frank wrapped in a steam bun.
ETC.: The stadium is really multipurpose as the Beatles performed there, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass there and it has been the site of many famous movies. Our favorite memory is Fleetwood Mac recording and filming their song "Tusk" in the empty stadium in 1979.
STADIUM: Marlins Park (36,742 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: This one is a tough one, as many celebrities live in town but rarely go to the park. Still, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, David Caruso, Andy Garcia, Eva Mendes, DJ Khaled, Gloria Estefan and Flo Rida are all big sports fans and have been there before.
FAVORITE FOOD: Pizza, Cuban sandwiches, Miami shrimp burger and key lime chicken tacos can fill your food needs, but we'll go with the chimichurri steak sandwich.
ETC.: Art is everywhere in the park, from the outfield to the design of the parking lot and aquariums. But our favorite thing here is the bobblehead museum, with more than 1,000 bobbleheads.
STADIUM: Miller Park (41,900 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Milwaukee is a baseball town. And outside of "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley," the entertainment industry isn't big here. Still, last year, Miss America Laura Kaeppeler threw out the first pitch in one game.
FAVORITE FOOD: Smoked turkey, sloppy joes or nachos. But that's not what you eat in Milwaukee. Sportservice operations manager Jon Clope said brats and hot dogs still make up around 85 percent of the food sales.
ETC.: The famous sausage race of bratwurst, Italian, chorizo, Polish and hot dog occurs in the middle of the sixth inning and is the highlight of the day -- oh, besides if the Brewers win.
Al Bello/Getty ImagesReality star Snooki and her fiance Jionni LaValle attend a New York Mets game.New York Mets
STADIUM: Citi Field (41,922 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: If it were 1995, we'd probably say Jerry Seinfeld. He loves the Mets and proudly talks about his favorite team. But it's 2013, so we'll go with reality star Snooki. "Growing up in New York, my grandfather was a huge fan and my mom is a die-hard Mets fan also," Snooki told Playbook. "If I ever left the Mets to go to the other team in town, my family would disown me."
FAVORITE FOOD: With the city of New York being eclectic, it's not hard to find every type of food at the ballpark, from Chinese to Mexican to Indian to Greek. But we'll stick with Shake Shack, the famous shop that is always packed in midtown Manhattan: Shackburger, cheese fries and shakes.
ETC.: When a Mets player hits a home run, the home run apple appears in center field, just like it did at the previous home at Shea Stadium. This new apple is four times the size of the previous one. In the past few years, it hasn't been lit very often.
STADIUM: Citizens Bank Park (43,651 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Patti Labelle, Will Smith and Boys II Men are among the big fans of the Phillies, but we'll go with actor Jamie Kennedy. He lives in Los Angeles but has written often for ESPN.com about his love for Philadelphia. "The Philly phaithful are a special breed. There are the Center City lawyer types, who wear suits by day and red body paint by night," Kennedy told Playbook.
FAVORITE FOOD: Lines are long for Schmitter and Bull's BBQ, but Philadelphia is known for its cheesesteaks, and we'll pick one of our favorites here at the ballpark: Tony Luke's. They are known for their cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches. Get there early.
ETC.: With every home run and victory by Philadelphia, the mechanical replica of the Liberty Bell "rings" and lights up. It's 52 feet tall and 35 feet wide.
STADIUM: PNC Park (38,362 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Train's Pat Monahan is a big Pittsburgh fan, along with rapper Mac Miller and comedian Steve Byrne.
FAVORITE FOOD: The famous Quaker Steak & Lube, known for its wings, is there, along with Papa Duke's Gyros, but we'll go with world-famous Primanti Brothers. Their monstrous sandwiches come with coleslaw and French fries already on the white bread.
ETC.: The stadium was built in two years, faster than any other modern baseball ballpark. And statues of Pirates Hall of Famers -- Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski and Honus Wagner -- are sitting around the outside of the park.
San Diego Padres
STADIUM: PETCO Park (43,524 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: San Diego is a laid-back community with a lot of celebrities venturing down from Los Angeles for the weekend. We'll go with reality star Kendra Wilkinson of San Diego as the biggest fan. She loves representing San Diego on her TV shows.
FAVORITE FOOD: Randy Jones barbecue is here, along with fried shrimp at Anthony's Fish Grotto, but we'll go with fish tacos and quesadillas at Baja Bistro.
ETC.: The address of the stadium is 19 Tony Gwynn Way, honoring the baseball Hall of Famer who spent his entire career with the Padres.
San Francisco Giants
STADIUM: AT&T Park (41,915 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: It's all about the Dead -- Grateful Dead, that is. Surviving members come back every year to celebrate the San Francisco band, and legendary basketball player/well-known Deadhead Bill Walton joins in on the fun.
FAVORITE FOOD: Pier 44 Chowder House is there with its clam chowder in a bread bowl. Ghirardelli is there with its s'mores sandwich of melted chocolate and marshmallow between bread. But we'll go with Crazy Crab'z, known for its Dungeness crab between two slices of grilled sourdough.
ETC.: A highlight is when a home run flies out of the park and lands in McCovey Cove, named after the famed Giants first baseman Willie McCovey. More than 50 have been hit in the Cove, and 35 came from Barry Bonds.
St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Ehrmann/WireImageNelly, who has never left St. Louis even after making it big, attended several World Series games.
STADIUM: Busch Stadium (41,915 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: Rapper Nelly boasts his allegiance to all things St. Louis, from his band's name -- St. Lunatics -- to most of his music videos. He never has even thought of leaving his town. "I've grown a lot in the past few years. Things that I do now are trying to be more inspiring," Nelly told Playbook. "I'm a country boy who has come a long way to make it. I'm just trying to give back."
FAVORITE FOOD: The stadium has standard fare such as nachos, pizza and hot dogs. We thought we might go with the St. Louis favorite of toasted raviolis, but we'll stick with the garlic fries.
ETC.: In 2011, a squirrel ran across home plate at Busch Stadium during the National League Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. It became the team's unofficial mascot. The Cardinals would eventually win the 2011 World Series.
STADIUM: Nationals Park (41,487 capacity)
CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS: President Barack Obama threw out a first pitch at the ballpark, and we're not sure we'll be able to top that one.
FAVORITE FOOD: The eight-pound Strasburger seems like it would feed an army. But we'll go with Ben's Chili Bowl, the famed restaurant that sells a variety of half-smokes, fries and every topping you can imagine.
ETC.: Our favorite feature is the "Build a Bear" franchise of "Make Your Own Mascot" store inside the ballpark. You can make "Screech," the bald eagle mascot of the Nationals.