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Soon after arriving at Reno’s Greater Nevada Field, I traveled to one of the ballpark’s onsite restaurants. This restaurant is called Bugsy’s, and it would be the site of that evening’s designated eater experience. There was just one problem, however — the evening before, my designated eater had regretfully backed out of his designated eating commitments because he wasn’t able to get off from work. I told the Aces about my predicament, and they went in-house to find a solution.
This is Max Margulies, a corporate partnerships account executive for both the Aces as well as the Reno 1868 FC soccer club (which will play its inaugural season at Greater Nevada Field in 2017). Max was my new designated eater, tasked with consuming the ballpark food that my gluten-free diet prohibits.
Max, 23, hails from San Diego and went to college at the University of Oregon. He’s now working in baseball and soccer, but says that his ultimate goal is to work for an NBA team. His favorite pastimes are body surfing and going kayaking in Lake Tahoe. His biggest fear? Spiders.
As you can see, Max had a formidable array of food laid out in front of him.
In the above photo, the left-hand side of the dog is the Reno side. Reno is represented via pulled pork and apple cider vinegar slaw. On the right is a portion of the hot dog representing Salt Lake, that evening’s opponent. The Salt Lake side had roasted corn, bell peppers, cilantro crema and queso fresco.
Max went for the Reno side first.
Max called this a “filling bite” and praised the taste of the slaw. However, he did have one criticism.
“It was tough to hold,” he said. “It kind of felt like a wet diaper.”
With this appealing imagery still in mind, Max switched to the Salt Lake side of the Versus Dog.
Next up was the Bambino Fries, which are topped with pulled pork, chicken, chicken and apple slaw. This was not one of my better food photography efforts.
“I like the tangy barbecue sauce,” said Max. “I’m a loaded fries kind of guy so these were right up my alley.”
I did not get any photos of Max eating the fries, which is a shame as these photos would have surely been a great benefit to humanity. But I did not make this mistake when it came to the next item: the Caliente Burger.
The Caliente Burger consists of a half-pound Wagyu beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, fried “bottlecaps” (jalapenos) and a “Firecracker” aioli made of lemon, mayo and Sriacha sauce. It’s a mouthful, as Max soon learned. To get this thing down, he had to do his best impression of a snake eating a goat.
Finally, there was a Verde Meatball Sub. It is topped with verde chili sauce, queso fresco and cilantro sprigs on a sourdough roll.
“I’d never had verde sauce on a meatball before,” said Max. “But it works, and sourdough is a good choice.”
We could’ve have stopped there, of course. But no, we were taking it to the Max! Now it was time for dessert.
Clearly, Max was running out of steam. He’d been through so much already, in such a short amount of time. It was getting increasingly hard for him to go on.
But never fear — Jack Reinheimer is here!
This was an historic first! Jack is the Aces shortstop, and never before had a first player spent time as one of my designated eaters. Aces marketing manager Audrery Hill had recruited him from the clubhouse, and even though he had reportedly just “crushed” some barbecue, he was happy to travel to the upper level to eat some more. It helped, of course, that Jack wasn’t in the starting line-up on this particular evening. Otherwise he probably wouldn’t have been able to continue his pregame food crushing spree.
“All I do is eat and play baseball,” said Jack, summing up his existence in a mere seven words.
You’d think someone who loves “crushing” food wouldn’t even bother with utensils, but Jack took a polite — some would say dainty — approach to the dessert plate.
“I’ll eat anything,” he said.
At one point, Jack got distracted by the view from the upper level.
“It looks pretty easy to get hits from up here,” he said.
Jack got plenty of hits in 2016. He had 144, tied with teammate Kyle Jensen for fifth-most in the Pacific Coast League.
Jack agreed, and then turned his thoughts to the Aces’ next road trip.
“If there’s ever a Chipotle in the airport, it’s getting hit up,” he said. “The guys’ll just crush it.”