On the Road: Dawg Days of Summer in Salem
To see all posts from my June 28, 2015 visit to the Salem Red Sox (this is Part Three) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my June 2015 trip through the Virginias, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.
We have now reached the third and final post in this Salem series and, if you’ve been following along so far this season, then you know that the third and final post is, invariably, dedicated to food. So what kind of concession items can you get at the Salem Red Sox’s home of Lewis-Gale Field? We’ll get to that in a moment.
I want to start, however, by highlighting something that you can sometimes get (but not on the Sunday afternoon in which I was in attendance): Baum’s BBQ truck, a vehicular food purveyor with an exalted reputation, sets up shop every Friday and Saturday night.
Salem Red Sox general manager Ryan Shelton is a native of Owensboro, Kentucky, a locale oft-referred to as “the barbecue capital of the world.” He told me that, with all due respect to Owensboro, Baum’s serves the best barbecue he’s ever had. I wish I had a picture of me eating it, to post right here. Use your imagination:
But, Baum’s or no Baum’s, the Salem Red Sox food show must go on. The first order of business, as always, was to meet with my designated eater (you know, the individual who consumes the ballpark food that my gluten-free diet prohibits). At Lewis-Gale Field, that would be one Jennifer Frye.
Jennifer and her family have recently moved to nearby Roanoke, with Jennifer taking a job as an environmental supervisor for the US Army Corps of Engineers. (Come to think of it, I should have asked her for information regarding “environmentally protected wastelands,” a term I was still confused about after hearing it applied to the portion of the Elizabeth River that runs behind the Norfolk Tides’ home of Harbor Park.)
Jennifer said that she volunteered to be the designated eater because she’ll “do anything for Minor League Baseball. It’s good to me, and I’m good to it.” Her two sons — ages 13 and 9 — did not materialize at any point during her time with me at the concession stands, with Jennifer remarking that they were “worried that Mom’s gonna embarrass them.”
Fair enough, kids. But I guarantee that, when all is said and done, your childhood will have been greatly enhanced by having a Mom with a fun, adventurous and humorous spirit. This spirit was shared by the entirely non-embarrassed adults in Jennifer’s party — husband Jim, sister Justine, and her sister’s husband Jonathan (Justine and Jonathan live outside of Frederick, Maryland, reminding me that I have yet to make it to a Keys game).
Here’s the menu (I like that, in the Philly Dawg description, “provolone” has been crossed off and replaced with the catch-all “CHEESE.”)
Jennifer opted for the “Hawaiian Dawg.” (Check the above picture for the ingredient list. I’m not going to type it out again, though I will type an equivalent amount of words explaining that I won’t type it out again.)
Designated Eater checks in, Salem Red Sox https://t.co/ii0dH3x5FA
— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) June 28, 2015
“All I’m tasting is the teriyaki,” said Jennifer. “It’s sweet. And the barbecue sauce that’s on it is very good. It tastes like Carolina [style]. Sorry, I’ve got to take the pineapple off. This is good once it’s not Hawaiian, I guess.”
I thought that this was an amusing comment, to the extent that it made me go “Aloha-ha.”
Though there was still more food to come, Jennifer made quick work of the hot dog. She did not want any of it to go to waste.
“If you’ve got some Catholic in you, then you finish it. Even if you’re full,” she said.
Finally, Justine stepped in to lend some sisterly support.
“They’re sweet, not spicy,” said Jennifer. “The chicken has a nice batter coating, though I don’t want to think about what it’s doing to my arteries. I’d order this again, maybe try another one of the sauces.”
And thus we say goodbye to Jennifer, assuaging her Catholic guilt and not embarrassing her children via the dedicated consumption of boneless chicken wings in a remote ballpark location.
And that’ll do it for this post. There might not have been Baum’s, but at least we got a frank. I’m the Wizard of Oz-vious jokes.