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Baseball is trying to cut out the junk food

Dec 11, 2009, 3:08 PM EDT

Don’t freak out — you’ll still be able to get  your Luther Burger at Gateway Grizzlies games — this is about the players eating better:

At baseball’s just-concluded winter meetings in Indianapolis, major
and minor league strength and conditioning coaches devoted 12 hours on
Saturday–about half of their total meeting time–to discussing matters
such as including edamame and snow peas in the postgame buffet to
whether teams should order “fun size” candy bars rather than the odious
regular-sized variety.

“There’s nothing wrong with a Reese’s peanut butter cup every now
and then,” says Perry Castellano, the Minnesota Twins’ strength and
conditioning coordinator. “The issue is when somebody eats eight at a

The article says that the trainers are trying to do things like introduce edamame to the post-game buffet and that the Phillies and Rays are
experimenting with the idea of giving players foods rich in antioxidant grains like “quinoa,” “teff” and “spelt,” whatever the hell that is.  This is dangerous territory, though: Ask yourself: if you’re a free agent, and team A is offering you $25 million and burgers and team B is offering you $25 million and “spelt,” who are you signing with?

Seriously though, it has always amazed me that big time professional
athletes are basically given boxes of free candy bars and cookies and
burgers and stuff right inside the locker room before and after games like baseball players are. 
No, there aren’t a ton of really out-of-shape ballplayers, but there
isn’t a team that doesn’t have at least one guy who ate his way out of
being a productive player in recent years. Why make it easier for them
by having garbage around?

So I agree with the article: teams should totally go the healthy route by replacing big candy bars with “fun size” candy bars and burgers with White Castle sliders.  You know, for the good of the players.

  1. Tracy - Dec 11, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    “Quinoa” is an excellent Scrabble word.

  2. Matt - Dec 11, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    eams should totally go the healthy route by replacing… burgers with White Castle sliders
    No mere mortal can comprehend the havoc that this would wreak on the plumbing systems of Major League Baseball. It would end careers for sure.

  3. Old Gator - Dec 11, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    Craig – White Castle sliders?!? Hell, why not just run the table and recommend serving to all major leaguers those horrible horsemeat and velveeta (or Cheez Wiz, your pick) sandwiches they used to take the edge off the cardiovascular system of that Philadelphia team that otherwise might have won the World Series? I mean, if the ballplayers who took steroids were all on an equal footing in terms of enhancement during the Better Living Through Chemistry era, why shouldn’t they all be equally handicapped during a Philly Horsemeat and Velveeta/Wiz era?

  4. Old Gator - Dec 11, 2009 at 3:42 PM

    Tracy – red quinoa is not only a great scrabble word, but in its nutty, whole grain form it makes a great salad with wilted arugula and grape tomatoes roasted with olive oil, black pepper and fresh thyme; it also makes a great hot breakfast cereal with safflower butter, soymilk and no-salt.
    Regular quinoa flakes are versatile too; they take on the flavor of whatever water you boil them in.

  5. Anon - Dec 11, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    “There’s nothing wrong with a Reese’s peanut butter cup every now and then,” says Perry Castellano, the Minnesota Twins’ strength and conditioning coordinator. “The issue is when somebody eats eight at a time.”
    Now we know who was behind the decision to DFA Boof Bonser.

  6. YANKEES1996 - Dec 11, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Actually, there is nothing wrong with this viewpoint when you consider what you’re paying the guys. However, if you have them eating all this grain and fiber it will require the time between innings to be expanded and television commercial breaks to be longer and the average time of a game may balloon to approx. 8 hours!

  7. RichardInDallas - Dec 11, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    foods rich in antioxidant grains like “quinoa,” “teff” and “spelt,” whatever the hell that is
    Aren’t these considered “performance enhancing”?

  8. Old Gator - Dec 11, 2009 at 5:53 PM

    Teff is an African grain antecedent from the seeds of a wild grass. You use it mainly to make the doughy, slightly chewey bread called injera. To anyone who’s ever eaten Ethipoian food, that’s the big round pancake-like bread that has a sourdough-like flavor you rip apart and use to scoop up your meats, veggies and sauces. You can also toast it crispy with hot pepper sauce and canola or olive oil. Oh god, is it good. Very tasty, versatile, high in fiber and antioxidant, and if you were to make wraps of them with horsemeat and velveeta and eat them regularly, you might even put off your date with a coronary a week or two longer than if you ate those horrible things on white rolls.
    Spelt, on the other hand, is a primitive form of wheat that seems to have been domesticated in eastern or central Europe during the dark ages. It tastes better than bat meat, thought, and spelt flakes make a wonderful alternative to oatmeal for breakfast. You won’t taste any difference, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re thinking outside the box – especially if it comes in a plastic bag. Whole spelt makes a wonderful alternative to rice, although once you get finished adding veggies, meat, sauces or gravy to it, you won’t notice the difference; you’ll just have the satisfaction of knowing that nobody was walking barefoot in mud on your dinner. Spelt flour makes a wonderful alternative to bleached flour or even whole wheat flour in cakes, pies and especially muffins (I make cranberry walnut muffins with it, and the tops get nice n’ crispy in the muffin cups). As far as I know, if you are allergic to wheat gluten you will probably still have unsightly seizures and ruin everyone else’s day if you eat it, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you thought you were putting one over on your genetic predestination before your windpipe began closing off on you.
    Quinoa is often advertised as “the sacred grain of the Incas,” and reputedly, Atahualpa was fed a meal of the stuff before Pizarro had him garroted. I don’t want to go on record as claiming that it will do you any more good than it did him, but I do like the way it tastes. Then again, as a Cowboy Junkies fan, or Llama, I derive a certain satisfaction from knowing that my namesakes graze on the stuff in the wild. If you want to experience the same frisson, you’re gonna have to listen to some music first.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 11, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    Gator — in return for all of that info, I hereby grant you the right to make fun of Latino drivers in Tampa in one (1) post.
    Seriously dude, you scare me sometimes. I’m very happy you’re around here, but you scare me.

  10. RichardInDallas - Dec 11, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    Craig, thanks for noticing that the bulge in my cheek WAS, in fact, my tongue…

  11. Tracy - Dec 11, 2009 at 11:19 PM

    Old Gator,
    I did not know teff is used to make injera. The things I learn here…
    Ethiopian food rules, by the way.
    I’m not a huge quinoa fan, though. Always found it a little bitter.

  12. Old Gator - Dec 12, 2009 at 12:46 AM

    Yes it does. I used to spend a lot of time in and around Washington DC – pal of mine lived there for many years. And of course DC is the American capital – of great Ethiopian cuisine. My favorites were Zed’s in Georgetown, and Red Sea and/or Fasika’s in Adams-Morgan. In north London, there’s a wonderful one called Queen of Sheba on Fortess Road on the corner of Falkland Road, which is where I came across that preparation of toasted injera and hot pepper oil mentioned above – the stuff will roll your eyeballs up in your head. Even thinking about it makes me want to jump on good ole AA 56 and head on over there again. Ah well.
    Here in south Florida, though, we had only one real good one in the Miami design district called Sheba – great food, some pretty good jazz bands on weekends, and an African arts shop full of wonderful things. A casualty of the Bush economy, unfortunately. I’ve had to learn how to make my own Berber sauce (that exotic, asskicking red stuff they steep the meats and chicken in) and am trying to get the local Whole Foods Market to order me a 25-lb. bag of teff so I can make my own injera.

  13. Old Gator - Dec 12, 2009 at 10:56 PM

    Sorry about that, Craig, but everyone else guessed that these fangs were plastic.

  14. Andy L - Dec 12, 2009 at 10:57 PM

    I love quinoa! And I love to say it: “Keen wah.”

  15. Old Gator - Dec 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Way to go, Andy. We sure wouldn’t want good Quechua pronunciation to be lost forever. It’s bad enough I have to listen to gentile celbrities butchering Yiddish.

  16. Vanesa Todesco - Feb 3, 2010 at 4:14 AM

    Very interesting post thank you for sharing I have added your website to my bookmarks and will check back :) By the way this is a little off topic but I really like your blogs layout.

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