Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Taste Sweet Victory

Seahawks

Back in May, I reported that the Jones Soda Co. sacked Coke, by acquiring the exclusive rights as official soda of the Seattle Seahawks and Qwest Field.

Jones is indeed serving soda left and right over at Seahawks games, and being fall, Jones has decided to come out with yet another unique soda collectors pack, but this time is has nothing to do with the holidays. Jones has traditionally been known to release collectors packs in odd flavors, including their Holiday Pack, consisting of Turkey and Gravy soda, Sweet Potato Soda, Dinner Roll Soda, Pea Soda, and Antacid Flavored Soda.

But now that Jones Soda has an in with an NFL team, they’re coming out with the Seahawks Collector Pack. Flavors include Field Turf Soda, Sports Cream Soda, Perspiration Soda, Dirt Soda and Sweet Victory Soda. Each features a Seahawks’ player on the label. Here’s what Jones has to say about all of this.

IF YOU THINK you’re tough enough to play in the NFL, then you’d better step up and have a little taste of what NFL players experience throughout their entire careers.

NFL players have:
• Spent an average of 2 years in the gym.
• Perspired 10,000 gallons of sweat.
• Eaten 2 pounds of grass.
• Tasted 3 pounds of dirt.
• And spread over 5 gallons of sports cream on their muscle aches.

So Jones Soda created this Limited Edition Seahawks Collector Pack as a tribute to the Seattle Seahawks and a little taste of what it’s like to be in the NFL. If you can get through it all, only then can you taste SWEET VICTORY.

Each pack also comes with a #12 flag. FYI, #12 stands for the fan, as in the 12th player on the field.

The pack hit some stores on Oct. 1st, but you can order yours at the Jones site. All this can be your for $19.95 plus shipping.

Baseball’s Best Bars

Cask N’ Flagon

With baseball season winding down, why not drown your sorrows over how bad your team is doing at one of baseballs 10 best bars?

Here’s a list compiled by ESPN’s Josh Pahigian as seen on ESPN Sports Travel.

1. Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant
42 Central Park South, New York
Web site | City Guide

The theme of the lavishly decorated walls at Mickey Mantle’s harks back to baseball’s golden era. More than 300 pieces of memorabilia are on display, including the original plaque that hung at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park to honor “The Mick” from 1969 to 1996 (at which time a full-sized monument replaced it).

Visitors also will find uniforms worn by Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson, along with stadium chairs from the original Yankee Stadium, a life-size cutout of Babe Ruth autographed by more than 150 big leaguers and a circa-1961 replica of old Yankee Stadium that covers 49 square feet and features working light towers, scoreboard and 64,000 molded-pewter seats.

“Because we’re in New York we don’t just have sports personalities as guests, but also celebrities who are sports fans,” said Bart Alexander, director of special events at Mantle’s.

“Some recent visitors include Yankees GM Brian Cashman, Mickey’s old teammates Moose Skowron and Joe Pepitone, Don Mattingly, Bob Costas, Jerry Springer, Chris Matthews of “Hardball,” Harry Smith of CBS News and football guys Dan Marino, Mike Ditka and Jimmy Johnson.”

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2. Cask ‘n Flagon
62 Brookline Ave., Boston
Web site | City Guide

In the shadows of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, Red Sox fans find sausage vendors, ticket scalpers and usually a long line of thirsty patrons waiting to get inside “The Cask.” The famous hangout, which is just a long foul ball from home plate, often accommodates as many as 5,000 patrons on a busy game day.

It dates back to an original opening in 1969 as a live-music club, which would feature Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and Boston’s own Aerosmith.

Over the years it morphed into a top-notch sports bar that now boasts an impressive array of Red Sox photos, including shots of Babe Ruth playing the tuba, Ted Williams being sworn into the Marine Corps, a baby-faced Roger Clemens looking every bit the wide-eyed rookie and a champagne-soaked Jim Lonborg celebrating with Carl Yastrzemski in the Boston clubhouse after the Sox clinched the 1967 pennant.

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3. Sluggers
3540 N. Clark St., Chicago
Web site | City Guide

As any fan who has visited Wrigleyville surely knows, an entire article could be written strictly about the top-10 sports bars in this special corner of the baseball universe – and there would still be plenty of worthy establishments left out.

Debates about the “best” sports bar in Wrigleyville often revolve around the Cubby Bear and Murphy’s Bleachers – time-honored haunts on Chicago’s North Side that deserve all the praise they receive.

For the sake of offering a differing opinion though, and because it’s the only joint in Wrigleyville that offers an indoor batting cage upstairs for patrons, the choice here is Sluggers, where fans can determine if they really do make more solid contact after they’ve had an Old Style or three.

In addition to the romper room upstairs, Sluggers has featured such celebrity bar tenders through the years as Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe, Goose Gossage and Minnie Minoso.

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4. Nemo’s
1386 Michigan Ave., Detroit
Web site | City Guide

Although the Tigers departed Tiger Stadium in 2000, relocating to Comerica Park, hard-core Tigers fans still return to their old stomping grounds on game day to visit Nemo’s bar and grill.

Maybe what lures fans is the framed front pages of old newspapers that hang on the tin walls to commemorate great moments in Tigers history, such as Kirk Gibson celebrating the 1984 World Series victory or Cecil Fielder rounding the bases after hitting his 50th homer in 1990. Or perhaps it’s the other terrific nostalgia. Or it could be its signature cheeseburgers.

How about the game-day transportation? A Motor City favorite for more than four decades, Nemo’s uses a fleet of converted school buses these days to shuttle patrons to and from games at Comerica. In fact, business owner Springstead is enjoying even greater success in the Comerica era than in the days of Tiger Stadium.

“We’ve got six buses now, and the crowds keep coming,” Springstead said. “The last three years have been the best we’ve ever had, and we’ve been here since 1965.”

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5. Lakefront Brewery
1872 N. Commercial St., Milwaukee
Web site | City Guide

What would a trip to Milwaukee be without paying a visit to one of the city’s breweries? And what would the Brewers be without their lovable, if drunken, mascot Bernie Brewer?

At Lakefront Brewery, baseball fans have the chance to both celebrate Milwaukee’s proud brewing tradition and honor this legendary hooligan with the handlebar mustache.

Lakefront, you see, is the place where Bernie Brewer’s original chalet and slide have resided since the Milwaukee nine departed County Stadium for Miller Park.

Lakefront president Russ Klisch purchased the old prop from the team shortly after the move and happily installed it along his extremely popular brewhouse tour. Visitors will observe that many members of the Brewers have autographed the old apparatus, perhaps none more famous than the team’s quartet of racing sausages.

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6. Ozzie’s Restaurant & Sports Bar
645 Westport Plaza, St. Louis
Web site | City Guide

The St. Louis hot spot named after the best defensive shortstop of all time offers more than 50 TVs, St. Louis-style toasted raviolis and walls decorated with Cardinals jerseys and photos. What more could a baseball fan want? (Don’t answer that, Cubs fans.)

One entire wall chronicles Ozzie Smith’s induction day at Cooperstown, while nearby a tall, glass trophy case shows off all 13 of his Gold Gloves.

As owner Ray Gallardo explained, Ozzie’s was the place to be for any Cardinals fans who didn’t have tickets to Busch Stadium on the night the Cards won their 10th world championship on Oct. 27, 2006.

“The day was originally supposed to be an off day,” Gallardo said, “but then (Game 4) was rained out on Wednesday and all of a sudden there was a game on Friday.”

Consequently, the Game 5 World Series clincher against the Tigers took place on a day Ozzie’s had slated months earlier for its 18th anniversary party. A throng of fans turned out to watch the game alongside such baseball luminaries as Willie McGee, Whitey Herzog, Reggie Jackson and Ozzie Smith himself. And when Adam Wainwright struck out Brandon Inge to give the Red Birds their first championship in 24 years, they all went wild.

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7. Chappell’s Restaurant & Sports Museum
323 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Mo.
Web site | City Guide

Less than a 20-minute drive north from Kauffman Stadium fans will find what is considered the most impressive collection of sports memorabilia housed in any bar or restaurant in the United States.

Since opening in 1986, Chappell’s Restaurant & Sports Museum has steadily expanded its collection to the point that it now includes more than 10,000 items.

The place is a labor of love for owner Jim Chappell, a longtime friend of former Kansas City and Oakland A’s owner Charlie O. Finley. Chappell delights in leading first-time visitors from wall to wall, while providing background information about his collection’s most interesting artifacts.

The top attraction at Chappell’s is thought to be the 1974 World Series trophy Finley’s rough-and-tumble Oakland A’s won against the Dodgers. There also are balls autographed by Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Dizzy Dean, as well as impressive collections of old jerseys, pennants and photographs.

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8. Sports Column
1930 Blake St., Denver
Web site | City Guide

Located in an old, brick warehouse just “96 steps” from Coors Field, the Sports Column is the finest of the many fine sports bars in Denver’s LoDo (Lower Downtown) district.

Since opening the day before the Rockies christened Coors Field in 1995, it has featured an expansive bar with plenty of TVs, walls laden with memorabilia and jerseys and a rooftop patio where patrons can fill their lungs with crisp, Rocky Mountain air while sipping pints of microbrew.

During the summer months, this is as lively a pre and postgame scene as fans will find anywhere in baseball. And the mouthwatering Rockie Burger — a sandwich that comes piled high with chicken tenders, ham, bacon, barbecue sauce and cheddar and Swiss cheese — is a true original.

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9. Bobby V’s Sports Gallery Cafe
4301 S. Bowen Road, Arlington, Texas
Web site | City Guide: Dallas

Although he now toils for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League, where he’s considered the most successful foreigner ever to lead a Japanese team, Bobby Valentine’s presence is still felt in Arlington, where he skippered the Texas Rangers from 1985 -1992.

One of two Bobby V’s – the other is in Valentine’s hometown of Stamford, Conn. – this neighborhood grill is absolutely plastered with memorabilia, and not just on the walls but the bar and tables, too.

Each table, including those within the elevated boxing ring in the center of the restaurant, is topped with old baseball cards, ticket stubs and game programs beneath a film of lamination.

The atmosphere is warm and cozy, the TVs are plentiful and the food is quite good. The Tex-Mex Bobby Bajita fajita plate, chili in a bread bowl, ostrich burger and fried pickles are all house specials, as are the wraps – and with good reason.

In a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction baseballesque moment, in 1980, shortly after his playing career ended, Valentine opened his first restaurant in Stamford, Conn., and claims to have invented the now ubiquitous sandwich wrap that we find at lunch counters across the country.

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10. McCovey’s Restaurant
1444 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, Calif.
Web site | City Guide: San Francisco | City Guide: Oakland

Just a half-hour drive across San Francisco Bay from AT&T Park, and an even shorter ride from Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum, baseball fans find a festive hardball haven that offers a wealth of memorabilia and a colossal, 44-ounce mound of ground Angus beef dubbed the 521 Burger.

The juicy behemoth honors the 521 home runs restaurant namesake and frequent visitor Willie McCovey hit during a 22-year career spent mostly with the Giants.

In addition to sporting a slew of TVs tuned to whatever games are taking place, the walls display autographed jerseys, bats and photographs. Top attractions include the National League home run champion trophy McCovey was awarded after belting 44 long balls for the Giants in 1963, a ball signed by Satchel Paige in 1934 and a photo of McCovey posing with Johnny Carson.

In addition to McCovey, who usually dines in the private “McCovey Room,” sports celebs including Tony La Russa, Joe Montana, Chris Mullen, Bob Uecker and Chris Webber have been known to stop by for a meal.

Photo from Flickr.

Take Your DS To The Ballgame

 Safeco Field

Do you have a Nintendo DS? Know someone who does? Well bring it to Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners) next time you’re there, and you’ll have a much more interactive experience. Looks like Nintendo and Safeco are partnering up on this.

What happens is this…you bring your DS to the park, download special software, and you’re hooked up. So what features will your software loaded DS have? According to Engadget

  • Watch the Mariners network broadcast of games in real time right on the DS from almost any seat in the stadium – some of the controversial plays they don’t show on the Jumbotron will still be able to be seen by fans…
  • Order food from your seat – use the DS Lite to order hot dogs, sodas, etc. using a credit card – which also keeps those long lines down at the ATMs where people are waiting to get more cash.
  • Access to players stats from all around the MLB.
  • Updated scores and information from other MLB games in progress…
  • Fans can compete against each other in trivia and word games…

Safeco will roll out 17 DS stations to download the software from, and it looks like other stadiums and arenas might soon join the trend. It’ll cost $5 per game or $30 for 10 games.

Oh, and if you don’t have a DS, you can pick up your limited edition Seattle Mariners branded version for $158 at the ballpark.

Now lets just hope they do the same for the iPhone.

Photo from Flickr.

DOWN GOES KOBAYASHI!

Chestnut

Kobayashi surprised the world by participating in the annual Nathat’s Hot Dog Contest today after many reports said he was mourning his mother’s death, he had jaw arthritis, and he wasn’t training. Kobayashi was present and set a new hot dog eating record of 63 HDBs (hot dogs & buns eaten) breaking his record of 53.5 HDBs.

But then Joey Chestnut had to spoil his triumphant return in an even more triumphant showing.

Chestnut broke his recent record of 59.5 HDBs by setting a new world record of 66 HDBs in 12 minutes, and beating Kobayashi for the first time ending his 6-year reign.

The two gustatory gladiators quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the 17 competitors, processing more beef than a slaughterhouse within the first few minutes. The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut — the veins on his forehead extended — put away the final franks to end Kobayashi’s reign.

“This title’s been held by Kobayashi for six years, so it’s about time it came home,” said Chestnut, holding an American flag in his arms. “I knew going into this contest that Kobayashi was going to give 100 percent.” (from ESPN)

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

“The Catch”

The Catch

The best part of sports in general are those moments that last forever; the last second 3-pointer, a overtime field goal, a hockey shootout…

So why not let these moments age in your mind while you let a bottle of wine age on the counter?

Former San Francisco 49er Dwight Clark teamed up with Steve Ledson of Ledson winery to create 2005 Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” Russian River Pinot Noir. The wine is made of 100% Pinot Noir. The wine is a blend of four different clones from the Russian River vineyards and is aged in French Oak barrels for eight months. The proceeds from the sale of the wine benefit the Harmony Foundation for Children, which provides support and resources to underprivileged children. The wine sells for $95. (from Luxist)

Onion Rings & Parrots

Deadspin loves the Pirates remake of the final scene in the Sopranos. And as far as remakes of this scene goes, this one is good!

Ever since that final episode, everyone’s been getting in on the diner/onion rings/Journey parody. Hillary and Bill tried it, and it’s just not as funny (although that one does hava a cameo by Johnny Sack…)

And in case you want to give Tony’s last dining spot a try…

…the final scene, which depicted Tony, A.J. and Carmela sitting in a New Jersey diner booth, was shot in Holsten’s in Bloomfield, NJ (1063 Broad St., 973-338-7091). As they’re waiting for Meadow to arrive, the Sopranos munch on a bowl of onion rings (co-owner Chris Carley says Holsten’s cooked the actual rings that were on TV) and talk about the importance of remembering the good times. (from Zagat)

Billions of Vitamins

Vitamin Water

I guess they should’ve waited a couple more months before they released Diet Coke with vitamins, cause Coke now has all they vitamins they could ever want.

Coca-Cola said last week that it would acquire Glaceau for $4.1 billion in cash to gain a foothold in the fast-growing enhanced water market.

Yes, that’s right – that’s a “b.” I wouldn’t even need very much stock; I’d be pretty happy with 10 percent of that total. Which is exactly what rapper 50 Cent will collect; he bought that much of Glacéau back in 2004, when the company released a grape-flavored Formula 50 version of its Vitamin Water in his honor. Formula 50 sold over 10 million bottles in its first 6 months. How does Jeff Gordon’s Chardonnay compare to that? (from Food & Wine’s Mouthing Off)

While it’s not exactly a cheap purchase, I think it makes a lot of sense for Coke. Vitaminwater has had huge growth of late, and that looks likely to continue. With sales of soft drinks flat or even declining, it needs something to drive revenue growth. (from bloggingstocks.com)

Photo from Flickr.

Mini Chocolate AF1’s

Chocolate AF1’s

These are almost as cool as owning the real thing.

+41 is selling mini versions of classic Nike sneakers, made of chocolate for about $40 US. Included in the pack is 1 DUNKS, 1 TRAINERS, 1 BLAZERS.

Also available in white chocolate.

+41 stores are located worldwide, but if you’re in the US check out the store in Miami (at Arrive) or NYC (at Classic Kicks).

Visit +41 here.

Jones Soda Sacks Coke

Jones Bottles

Jones Soda Co. has some big news today out of Seattle. According to SPORTSbyBROOKS, the company best known for selling seasonal sodas (like the 2006 Holiday Pack which featured 5 unique soda flavors including Pea, Turkey & Gravy, Dinner Roll, Sweet Potatoes and Antacid) has beat out Coca-Cola to be the official soda company at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

I can’t think of any big-time sports venue that offers product from such a small company over the big guys, but this makes a lot of sense since Jones is a Seattle-based company.

And according to seattlepi.com

Jones Soda Co., a small, scrappy Seattle-based firm, has sacked beverage titan Coca-Cola to acquire the soft-drink rights at Qwest Field and its Event Center for the next five years, according to a securities filing.

Peter van Stolk, Jones Soda’s chief executive, told the Seattle P-I on Wednesday that his company will sell fountain drinks and sodas in plastic bottles throughout Qwest Field, and canned soft drinks in suites. The bottles will feature pictures of Seahawks players.

It is the first time a small private label has knocked off a large soft-drink company to win a major pouring contract, according to one beverage analyst. Jones Soda also becomes the only label outside of cola giants Coke and Pepsi to have an exclusive deal with an NFL team.

Jones Soda, which currently has 21 flavors, will sell at least six flavors at Qwest Field, including a new cola, diet cola and lemon-lime drink at Seahawks games, van Stolk said.

The company also produces a water beverage, a ready-to-drink organic tea, non-carbonated juice and tea, and an energy drink called WhoopAss. Jones Soda has the right to sell “other non-alcoholic beverages” at the stadium, but it hasn’t decided which products it will sell.

Fenway’s for Foodies

Dog

As a sports fan, it’s always kind of fascinating to see how teams are changing with the times. And according to Slashfood and this article, Fenway Park in Boston is trying to class up it’s concession stands a bit.

It used to be that Ron Abell’s idea of a large crowd was dinner for 200. Now it’s more like 35,000.

The former chef de cuisine of Icarus in the South End is now executive chef at Fenway Park. That means he’s left one small kitchen to oversee six, and serves food to fans in the stands, in the luxury suites, in the park’s private EMC Club and State Street Pavilion, even some of the players in the clubhouse.

New menu items include a turkey wrap with mesclun greens and a steak sandwich with baby arugula and aioli. While he is adamant that staple foods will always be available, he is excited about something like lobster roll, a simple mixture of mayonnaise, celery, Tabasco sauce, lobster meat, and other seasonings on a buttered, toasted roll (it sells for $16).

But Fenway isn’t the only stadium classing is up. You can also get crabcakes at Camden Yards, an Ahi Tuna Sandwich at AT&T Park, a Cuban Panini at Miller Park, Garlic Fries at Pac Bell Park and Dodger Stadium…but according to ESPN’s Page 2 Stadium Review, Safeco Field takes the cake.

You’ve got all the classic stand-bys; but you’ve also got clam chowder, salmon sandwiches, sushi, chocolate-covered strawberries, garlic fries, wok-fried noodles, southern barbeque and much, much more. If Mo Vaughn knew about this, he would have insisted on a trade to the Mariners.

And in Yankee news…

Yankee Stadium finally wakes up to its massive Latino customer base and starts serving foods like empanadas and papas rellenas. (Grub Street)

For more on the Yankees latin food you’ll have to register with the New York Times.

Photo above from Flickr.

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