There was a time when the national pastime was synonymous with peanuts and cracker jacks. Now, the ballpark menu has expanded-to include one fattening item after another. Stadiums often serve foods made famous by their hometowns (such as cheesesteaks in Philly, crabcakes in Baltimore, or pierogies in Pittsburgh), but many of them should come with an exercise plan on the side. Here, the 10 most fattening ballpark foods in the country.
1. Chili cheese dog. To begin with, most hot dogs contain several grams of saturated fat (the kind of fat that causes high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association). Add to it the greasy, gooey cheese and loads of spicy chili (and if it's Cincinnati's famous Skyline chili, served at the Great American Ball Park, there may be some chocolate added). The final caloric score of these treats? Somewhere in the ballpark of 400 calories.
2. Pretzel dog. Maybe they're going to for a triple play here: high in fat, high in sodium, and high in carbs. It's not like the hot dog is a health food to begin with, but wrapping a 200-plus-calorie pretzel around it is just adding insult to injury. If a pretzel dog isn't your thing, but you still want all the fatty goodness of the pretzel and sausage, you can order the bratzel (a bratwurst wrapped in a pretzel) the next time you're at a St. Louis Cardinals home game. But beware: You'll be consuming a quarter of your daily calorie intake.
3. Beer. It's technically not a food, but a cold brew is a ubiquitous ballpark staple nonetheless. In fact, the vendors are everywhere, shouting, "Get your beer, here," into the stands. Whether you're having a cold one at Miller Park or Coors Field or any of the other fields not named after beers, each eight-ounce glass weighs in at approximately 100 calories. Light beers could save you about 25 to 30 calories a glass, but they'll still cost an arm and a leg.
4. Garlic fries. These specialty French fries are such a hit, they can be found in multiple stadiums, particularly on the West Coast, including Bank One Ballpark (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks), PETCO Park (home of the San Diego Padres), and AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants). With these fries, you'll be batting 500-calories, that is.
5. Italian sausages. It doesn't matter if you top your sandwich with the hottest peppers or the sweet kind, Italian sausages are a strikeout, for sure. Although the caloric count and fat grams vary widely depending on where you're ordering, they're never low, sometimes swinging as high as 700 calories and more than 40 grams of fat.
6. Anything smothered in barbecue sauce. Pick your poison: the barbecue pork ribs in Atlanta, the barbecue beef sandwich while watching the Royals play at home, or some of Manny's barbecue pit beef in Pittsburgh's PNC Park. To be fair, it's not the sauce that will wreak havoc on your waistline; it's everything underneath it.
7. Cuban sandwich. You can get a Cuban while rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox, or the Cleveland Indians. Regardless of who they're playing, one pre-game prediction is sure to be true: At about 700 calories a sandwich, this ballpark food will ruin your diet.
8. Cheesesteak. It's no surprise that they serve this famous Philadelphia staple at Citizen's Bank Park where the Phillies play. While Geno's Steaks and Pat's King of Steaks continue to battle across the street from each other for dominance in the Philly cheesesteak market, whether you grab one of those or the kind at the park, one thing is clear: You're going to need to loosen your belt after you finish eating it.
9. Pizza. Two slices of Little Caesar's pepperoni pizza stack up to 780 calories. And if that's not enough to convince you to steer clear, consider this the next time you're at a Detroit Tigers home game: Mike Ilitch owns both the team and the pizza franchise, which has made him enough money to earn a spot on the Forbes Richest Americans list. Maybe you should save your money.
10. Chocolate-covered cheesecake. As if the other foods haven't already done enough harm, the final inning brings dessert. And at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, that means chocolate-covered cheesecake, which is sure to issue to the final blow to your waistline.